Unreal In-VR Editor Released for Public Testing
Developers blessed with motion controllers can get their hands on Unreal Engine’s in-VR editing mode starting today, by downloading the “dev-vr-editor” preview branch directly from Github (requires activation). Also included is Unreal’s new Sequencer tool, which is designed to enable linear storytelling.
Epic also demonstrated real-time motion capture integration, recreating this Hellblade trailer live with actress Melina Juergens wearing a facial capture rig offstage. This raises some tantalizing prospects for VR like having a live actor interact with users in virtual reality. A fascinating behind the scenes video discusses the possibilities.
“It’s really getting hard to distinguish between computer graphics and reality,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said. “You can see this leading to something like the Metaverse in science fiction.”
Epic announced that they will be giving away an additional $500,000 in developer grants and that Valve will be providing Vives to deserving Unreal developers who apply through Epic.
Crytek Releases “Free” CRYENGINE V
Crytek released CRYENGINE V with a new “pay-what-you-want” pricing model. Crytek hopes to raise additional funds through enhanced technical support tiers and paywalled learning resources. They’ve also created an Indie Development Fund which will distribute funds among three teams at a time and will be supported by donations from the community.
Crytek is creating an Asset Store, following in the footsteps of Unity and Epic, which will give them another revenue stream and make developing with the engine more approachable.
To entice Unity developers, Crytek has added a C# scripting API (the same language that the vast majority of Unity developers use). You can even edit your C# code in VR.
CRYENGINE V also adds support for PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive to its existing Oculus integration.
Meanwhile, Amazon is continuing to develop their own free game engine based on CRYENGINE, Lumberyard. It will not support Oculus runtimes below 1.0 and therefore VR support is not yet available.
Unity 5.4 Open Beta and New Features
Unity is moving to a new release strategy that mirrors what Epic has been using for Unreal. The engine will now be available as a stable branch and a beta branch, and beta access has been extended to all users rather than just those who pay $75 a month for Unity Pro. The goal is to get more people testing the beta so that bugs will be found more quickly and the stable branch will be, well, more stable.
Unity Asset Server has been reborn as Unity Collaborate, a new hosted version control system that provides a central repository hosted on Amazon Web Services. It will support teams of up to 15 users with almost no configuration and an easy learning curve, as well as providing an easy backup solution for solo projects.
Unity demonstrated a new lightmapper (video) that will be more performant than the oft-derided Enlighten that supplanted Autodesk’s Beast with Unity 5’s release a year ago. Enlighten will stick around, but the new system is more appropriate for use in Mobile games and VR titles.
VR was a big part of Unity’s GDC presentation, including a video about their Unity Labs team which has been working on the in-VR editor. Timoni West reprised her live demo of the in-VR editor showing a new “chessboard” feature that allows for much faster scene layout than in the previous demo and brings the Unity solution closer to Unreal's in capability.
Oculus announced a slate of 41 games, 30 of which will be available on March 28th alongside the first wave of Rifts. A handout at GDC revealed all of the prices and comfort ratings. Tested posted a video with impressions of half a dozen experiences, and UploadVR released a supercut of most of the games’ trailers.