When the developers of Unreal Engine ship an update, they mean business. Version 4.9 was released late yesterday and its changelog is remarkably lengthy. Seriously, it's 36,950 words long and has 74 images, about a third of which are animated. It's basically the War And Peace of changelogs.

There are far too many things in this update to cover here, so game developers might want to check out the changelog in all its monumental glory. However, the list of Android-related items is a little more tenable and might be interesting to those who don't make a living (or hobby) out of building games.

  • Graphics
    • New: Dynamic character (modulated) shadows
    • New: Dynamic point lights
    • New: Decals

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  • Audio
    • Asynchronous audio decompression
  • Physics
    • New: Sub-stepping physics is now supported on mobile
  • Platform Support
    • Support for OpenGL ES 3.1 (Android 5.0 and above)
    • Support for Immersive Mode (Android 4.4 and above)
    • Better orientation handling
    • Google Play Games login no longer has to occur at launch time.
    • Motion controllers now have a common interface, so it's easier to support SteamVR (HTC Vive), Gear VR, Oculus, and other upcoming hardware with motion controllers

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  • Developer Tools and Improvements
    • TADP has been replaced by NVIDIA AndroidWorks
    • Better handling for multiple Android build targets
    • Enabled ld.gold on ndk r10e (clang 3.6), and added expermental arm64 compiler arguments
    • New: Shared resources for feature packs and templates (different assets can be prepared for mobile and desktop)
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes (of course)

Again, these are just the improvements that directly affect Android and/or general mobile devices (read: iOS); and as the changelog points out, a number of these enhancements are also supported on HTML5. There are still a lot of general improvements and bug fixes that apply to all platforms. It's worth looking through the changelog just to see all of the really awesome rendered scenes and some of the great animations.

The takeaway here is that some games are going to look better and require less development effort than before. Some of these improvements will occur simply by rebuilding a game and re-uploading it to the Play Store, so there's a chance one of your favorites will have an update in the next few days.

Alternate Title: The Unreal Engine v4.9 Changelog Is Literally Godzilla, Destroys Tokyo With Its Powers Of Ambient Occlusion