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Everything Coming To Unreal Engine In 2024

Updated: Feb 2

Unreal Engine is a powerhouse in the world of game development, and with every new update, it becomes even more powerful. The recent Unreal Engine Development Roadmap has brought significant updates to the platform. In this blog post, we'll dissect this comprehensive transcript to cover all the important points and give you a clear picture of what's happening in the world of Unreal Engine.

 

Disclaimer: It's important to note that while the roadmap outlines Epic Games' intentions, not all listed features are guaranteed to be implemented. These are the areas they plan to focus on and develop over time.

everything coming to unreal engine in 2024

Table Of Contents



Procedural Content Generation


Procedural Content Generation (PCG) is an area where Unreal Engine is continuously making strides. Unreal Engine 5.3 brought initial PCG features, and these are being incrementally improved. Developers can now employ GPU-based micro scattering for high-frequency details, which is particularly useful for effects like grass.


Moreover, the introduction of non-destructive manual editing of PCG artifacts allows developers to fine-tune their generated content, enhancing the level of control.

Procedural Content Generation

A significant development is runtime hierarchical generation. This feature enables the creation of more dynamic and complex environments by allowing the generation of assets

around the camera or other relevant actors.


This not only streamlines the PCG process but also has the potential to greatly enhance editor-only workflows. The inclusion of PCG generation source makes it even more versatile, offering a promising solution for runtime procedural generation.


Developer Iteration

One critical aspect of game development is reducing build times. Unreal Engine addresses this challenge with the introduction of runtime virtual assets.


This system reduces the build and install footprint by handling bulk data from structured data. By delivering assets directly to the game client for playtest iterations, this feature ensures faster, more efficient development cycles. Additionally, synchronous loading and the Zen server further enhance asset loading and management, making it more efficient.

Developer Iteration

Zen server is a new architecture for local shared data derived from Unreal Engine's data cache. It aims to boost cooking data performance and reduce deployment times by eliminating the need to store cooked outputs as loose files. This server component also supports local network streaming of cook data to the target platform, improving the playtest experience.


Unreal Engine introduces cloud support for the derived data cache, leveraging AWS. This innovation allows distributed teams to efficiently share cooked data among members in different regions. It's a game-changer for studios with a hybrid studio setup, enhancing collaboration and streamlining data management.


Rendering Enhancements


Unreal Engine is dedicated to refining its rendering capabilities. In Unreal Engine 5.3, they introduced an experimental release of the substrate material system. This enables developers to create highly realistic materials, complete with gloss and fleck. Substrate has now advanced to beta status, promising performance improvements to ensure it aligns with legacy materials' levels. In addition, user experience and workflow enhancements are on the horizon, ensuring a seamless material creation process.

Rendering Enhancements

Unreal Engine has also made substantial improvements in various areas. For instance, spline meshes, introduced as an experimental implementation, cater to scenarios like creating roads over terrain, with ongoing refinements aimed at enhancing their functionality.


Sparse volume textures have been integrated, and the rendering technology behind them is receiving critical upgrades. The most intriguing development is the expansion of the rendering world to hardware ray tracing. It's noteworthy that this feature wasn't available due to the limitations of next-gen consoles. Unreal Engine's goal is to enable hardware ray tracing at 60 frames per second, ensuring compatibility with Lumin lighting.


Another exciting addition is displacement maps for nanite meshes. Much like traditional normal maps, these displacement maps offer the advantage of altering low-resolution geometry without introducing new meshes or triangles. Moreover, they can generate mesh data, making nanite meshes even more versatile. This feature isn't limited to static meshes; it can also be applied to nanite landscapes, offering a new dimension to terrain design.


World Building Tools


Unreal Engine's world-building capabilities have been evolving. One notable addition is the Next Generation Terrain Solution. This system represents a significant overhaul, introducing 3D modeling, virtual textures, and support for nanite. It's a leap forward from the conventional heightmap-based terrain system, promising much greater versatility and detail in world creation.

World Building Tools

In addition, Unreal Engine aims to optimize the world-building process with features like a single file for multiple actors, LOD organization improvements, and more partition types for handling actors at different levels of detail. The advent of these features simplifies procedural generation and empowers developers to create larger and more detailed game environments with ease.


Platform and XR Enhancements


Unreal Engine is committed to providing a seamless experience across different platforms. For Apple devices, improvements in Metal support are expected. This includes better shader translation, faster compile times, and improved code generation. MetalCPP modernizes the usage of Metal, potentially resulting in better shader compilation on Mac platforms.

Platform and XR Enhancements

On the Linux front, Unreal Engine is working to bring Vulkan up to par with DirectX 12. This brings feature parity between the two, allowing Linux users to harness the full power of ray tracing features, such as hit lighting mode in Lumin and path tracing.


Unreal Engine is also investing in improving the experience of XR (extended reality) development. This includes enhanced controller support for various devices, ensuring a more inclusive and user-friendly approach.


Character and Animation Tools


Unreal Engine continues to refine its character and animation tools. The bone and skeletal editor, introduced in Unreal Engine 5.3, receives further enhancements, such as component snapping for bones and the ability to transform bones while painting. This streamlines the animation creation process and provides more precise control over character movements.


The machine learning deformer, another feature introduced in Unreal Engine 5.2, is also being developed. These tools are designed to make skin and muscle simulations more realistic and user-friendly, allowing developers to achieve lifelike character animations.


Character and Animation Tools

Simulation and Chaos


Chaos, Unreal Engine's physics and destruction engine, is an area of ongoing development. The Chaos team is continually working to provide developers with more advanced tools for creating dynamic and realistic destruction effects.


One of the exciting features in this domain is the fracture editor, equipped with a proximity tool for finer control over generated data. This tool promises more detailed and visually appealing destruction sequences.

Simulation and Chaos Unreal Engine

For skin and muscle simulations, Unreal Engine is developing the Chaos Flesh system. While it's in the early stages, this system aims to work in tandem with machine learning deformers to offer more natural and responsive skin simulation. The ability to generate procedural flesh setups for training is particularly intriguing.


The Chaos panel cloth development includes an experimental cloth editor with improvements to the Chaos cloth solver. Developers can look forward to features like panel editor tools, additional weight paint support, and more efficient runtime support. The machine learning cloth updates will also introduce greater support for nearest neighbor algorithms.


Unreal Engine is dedicated to enhancing the debugging experience for Chaos. Debugging in Chaos can be complex due to the lack of visual debugging tools that engines like Havok provide. Unreal Engine aims to address this challenge by introducing a comprehensive debugger for Chaos, offering a range of tools to inspect, visualize, and analyze the inner workings of the Chaos physics and destruction simulations.


This will significantly assist developers in fine-tuning physics-based gameplay and ensuring that in-game destruction and interactions behave as expected.


Audio and Acoustic Simulation


Unreal Engine is continuously striving to improve the audio experience in games. In Unreal Engine 5.3, they introduced a high-quality convolution reverb plugin that significantly enhances acoustic simulation.


It allows developers to create more immersive audio environments by replicating the complex interplay of sounds in real-world spaces. With a user-friendly interface and extensive preset libraries, the convolution reverb plugin simplifies the creation of realistic soundscapes.


For sound propagation, Unreal Engine is developing a powerful yet efficient audio system. This system takes into account the complex interactions between sound sources and the environment. It enables sound to realistically bounce off surfaces, diffract around obstacles, and create lifelike acoustic spaces. As a result, the audio in Unreal Engine games becomes more immersive and believable.


Lighting and Lumin


Lumin is Unreal Engine's advanced global illumination system, and it's evolving to provide even more realistic and dynamic lighting. The Unreal Engine Development Roadmap outlines a series of improvements and features:

Lighting and Lumin

Secondary Bounces: Lumin will support secondary bounces in global illumination, allowing for a more accurate and lifelike rendering of indirect lighting.


Interactive Global Illumination: Developers will have more control over the real-time interaction between dynamic objects and global illumination. This is crucial for creating realistic scenes and maintaining visual consistency as objects move and change in the game world.


Virtual Shadows: Unreal Engine is working on incorporating virtual shadow support in Lumin, which will improve the quality of dynamic shadows in the engine. This feature is particularly beneficial for creating realistic, immersive environments.


Performance Improvements: Lumin will receive optimizations to ensure it runs efficiently on a variety of hardware, including next-gen consoles. These optimizations are essential for maintaining high-quality visuals while delivering smooth and responsive gameplay.


Path Tracing: Unreal Engine is also exploring path tracing, a rendering technique that can produce photorealistic visuals by simulating the behavior of light rays in a physically accurate manner. This addition will further enhance Unreal Engine's rendering capabilities.


User Interface and Tools


Unreal Engine recognizes the importance of user interface (UI) and development tools. Enhancements in these areas are essential for streamlining the development process and making it more user-friendly. Some of the improvements to look forward to include:

User interface unreal engine

UI Scalability: Unreal Engine plans to improve UI scalability to make it easier for developers to work across different resolutions and display setups. This will enhance the accessibility and comfort of using the engine.


UI Customization: The engine will offer more extensive UI customization options, allowing developers to tailor the interface to their specific needs and preferences.


Editor Modes: Unreal Engine aims to refine the various editor modes, such as landscape editing and foliage painting, making them more intuitive and efficient to use.


Editor Scripting: Unreal Engine will expand scripting capabilities, providing developers with more control and automation options for their workflow.


Debugging and Profiling: Unreal Engine is committed to enhancing debugging and profiling tools to assist developers in identifying and addressing issues more effectively.


Conclusion


Unreal Engine's Development Roadmap is a testament to its commitment to empowering developers with the tools and features they need to create stunning, immersive, and optimized games.


The engine's ongoing evolution, with a focus on rendering, world-building, procedural content generation, developer iteration, platform compatibility, character and animation tools, simulation and physics, audio, lighting, and user interface enhancements, positions it as a formidable choice for game developers.


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