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Aug
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Last Updated: August 19th, 2014

Unless you absolutely despise games, you've probably noticed Unreal Engine is sort of a rock star among game development platforms. Not only is it capable of rendering some profoundly gorgeous graphics, it can do so on virtually every major desktop and mobile operating system available. Today, Epic Games is releasing Unreal Engine 4.4 with some new tools for building animation and behavior models, additional rendering features, improved support for Android and iOS, and even some free stuff in the content marketplace.

Material_UMG

Among the featured items of the update, Epic is touting two new editors. The first is Unreal Motion Graphics (UMG), an interactive editor that integrates with Blueprints to allow developers to more easily construct events and animations, then preview them in real-time. This is the first release of UMG, and it is still considered experimental, so it may not be ready for regular use. The other major addition is the Behavior Tree Editor, which makes designing AI scripts more visual and intuitive. This editor has been available for some time as a preview, but the 4.4 release promotes it to a standard production-ready tool.

Along with the new tools, Epic is also adding a lot of free content to its marketplace. There are 15 new, fully animated character models, and tons of new graphics assets and samples.

tubelights-606x411-1912898868

This is hardly just an update to the tooling; there are also plenty of improvements to the engine. The rendering engine now supports translucent layers on top of materials (e.g. clear coats like acrylic) and capsule-shaped light sources. Games built in 2D are also getting some help in the form of "sprite dicing," a feature that handles translucent and masked regions differently from opaque sprites to increase GPU performance. There are also several small tweaks to improve compile times for C++ projects and the Unreal Build Tool.

Epic has also put some time into making several small improvements specific to Android. Perhaps the most important detail is added support for more devices, including the NVIDIA Shield, LG G2, and several Samsung devices. One of the more convenient improvements is that Blueprint scripts can now directly access in-app purchase data, meaning developers won't have to do as much custom coding to call it up. There are also several tweaks to the editors to improve performance on mobile.

The changelog is absolutely astounding in its sheer size and all of the elements that have received attention. Just to give an idea of how huge this update really is, the word 'new' appears 244 times throughout Epic's announcement. Version 4.4 is included in the Unreal Engine 4 subscription. For those that haven't checked it out, the subscription model for Unreal Engine 4 is a simple $19 per month per seat, plus 5% of the gross revenue from product sales (including marketplace fees). If you've been planning to build the next killer game, it's a great time to get started!

Source: UnrealEngine Blog

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • SVem26

    Do you even render bruh?

  • http://dabuxian.com/ Dabu

    Fourth version of UE4, and I'm still waiting for a great looking game on it. :(

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I seem to remember the same thing being said about almost every version. About the time Epic starts releasing the new version, that's when all of the best stuff from the previous version comes out. It just takes a long time to build a great game.

    • Martial Clausse

      Only 2 games made with UE4 are already released (UE4 debuted in march this year)
      Daylight and Happy chicken (yep, a 2d game, it's on the play store...)
      Most of the games are going to be released during Christmas season or next year.

      UE3 was available for licencees in 2004, but it took 2 years before actually seeing the first UE3 game.

      And I think the first commercially successful UE3 game (gears of war) was released in 2007.

      Sooo :
      Patience.

    • Renegade

      The reason is UE 4 on mobile have steep hardware requirement, with limited compatiblity.

      UE4 Android compatibility list:
      https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Platforms/Android/DeviceCompatibility/index.html
      Only Tegra4, Adreno 320, Adreno 330, Mali 400 mentioned so far.

      Performance on android:
      https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?368-Bad-performance
      https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?490-Android-OS-Version-(API-Level)
      https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?17607-Your-claims-of-Android-compatibility-seems-like-false-advertising&s=40ae23f4fd34ab4cd8b6d695d333caf5

      The funny thing is:
      Q: What minimum Hardware required ?
      A: No one (even Epic) knows at the moment.
      Lol.

      If you want to target wide range of device, Unity3D is still the best. Followed by libGDX (my favorite).

      • Android Developer

        I'm not sure if there is much to talk about minimum requirements. One can make a very simple game and it will work on low end devices, no?
        People with low end devices should know that high-graphics games might not work well on their devices. You could put a warning in case you think their device won't be able to handle it. You could also lower some graphical tweaks for such devices.
        But I do wonder what is this list of devices they've made. Can devices that are not on listed work with this engine?

        • KatoNamus

          Theoretically yes, they can, because you build software against the SDK version, so if Device A can support Platform X's a.b.5 SDK, and the game/app in question is built against Platform X's a.b.4 SDK, the device should very easily be able to run it. Theoretically...

          • Android Developer

            Games don't usually need much from the framework, so newer SDKs of the Android OS aren't really needed.

            Game engines might allow to use advanced graphics features which are available on OpenGL ES 3, but if it's a good game engine, there should be a fallback or at least allow to handle the game without using the advanced graphics features.
            Not only that, but one reason I know it's this way, is that game developers often make a mistake in their manifest file of the game, which sets the "targetSdk" to be very low, so if the game has any Android UI components, you will see GB style. It's a mistake since they don't really need to set it this way. They need to set it to the max available and use "minSdk" as the real boundary.
            You can also notice this mistake by seeing the menu button appearing on devices that have on-screen buttons.

          • KatoNamus

            Thank you, I didn't know that and it will help with something I'm busy with. Much appreciated :)

          • Android Developer

            You're welcomed.
            But... which part of what I've written you didn't know?
            Here's a reference about the SDK part, if you wish to read:
            http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/manifest/uses-sdk-element.html
            One thing that I don't know is if it's too early to use the Android-"L" as the targetSdk value.

          • KatoNamus

            Apologies for the delayed response. Life happened. Anywho, I didn't know one had that "minSDK" option. I may or may not need it when I come to the Android part of my project (multi-platform, using an Android device as an optional network client) which is still very much under development.
            And by the time I get to the Android part of my project, Android-L might already be out and about (like I said, still in early days).
            Thanks again for the info and the link, will check that out asap.

          • Android Developer

            It's the "targetSdk" that many developers forget to change. It's ok to set it to kitkat. It's just that it looks bad (and probably would work a bit worse) if you set it to be too low.
            Again, "targetSdk" doesn't affect the range of devices that app can support.
            You don't need to change "minSdk" in case it works fine on the version you specify there.

          • KatoNamus

            Gotcha. Thanks again :)

          • Android Developer

            Hey can I see which app/game you are working on?
            If you wish, here's my tiny app:
            https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lb.app_manager

          • KatoNamus

            I would if I had anything to show yet, but like I said, very early days still. Even the pc/server part is still in embryonic stage, so to speak.

          • Android Developer

            oh ok. Sorry about that.
            About the tip of "targetSdk", it's a very easy thing to do. You just change a number in the manifest file and that's it.

  • Mike Reid

    Guess I despise games, LOL.

    Engines, huh ? Yeah, I heard about that somewhere, sometime...

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