In recent months Epic Games has taken it upon themselves to push the envelope for virtual reality (VR) in two different categories: software and engine development. While being keen supporters of the emerging medium for some time, it was the recently revealed Bullet Train that truly showcased the company’s ambitions for VR videogame entertainment. At the same time however, the Unreal Engine team is aggressively pursuing the development industry with regular updates targeting VR.
Epic Games Seattle Studio Manager, Ray Davis, has offered some advice for those wishing to invest in VR development in a new ‘Unreal Diary’, a regular feature hosted by Develop: “When you first jump into VR development, there are a few requirements that become rapidly apparent: you need a rich rendering feature set to craft compelling visuals for the experience, and you must maintain a high level of performance to avoid discomfort.
“You’ll also likely need features such as physics simulation and particle effects to create worlds that respond in believable ways, and allow you to make truly immersive experiences that take full advantage of VR.”
Discussing the unique Blueprint functionality of Unreal Engine 4, Davis suggests that Epic Games is in a unique position to support VR developers due to their cross-discipline studio output.
“All of these tools are effectively required for building modern high-fidelity games, and we’ve been refining them through many years of first-hand games development, which means VR developers using Unreal Engine are able to hit the ground running that much quicker.”
Unreal Engine 4 is a platform agnostic development suite that receives continual updates for VR head-mounted displays, including Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive. The most recently launched update, Unreal Engine 4.10.1, addressed an issue for developers working with both the Steam VR platform and Oculus SDKs.
A further preview update of Unreal Engine 4, known as Unreal Engine 4.11, is expected to be made available later this month. VRFocus will keep you updated on all the latest VR related updates to the engine.