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You can now check out a preview of the upcoming Unreal Engine 4.16 on the launcher and Github. The newest version brings some exciting new features, like volumetric fog, a new cloth solver that replaces Apex, texture and vertex painting on skeletal meshes and more! Check out the details from Epic Games below.
- A new clothing solver from Nvidia called NvCloth replaces APEX. This new solver gives more control over simulation and it is pretty close to the core solver of the previous APEX solution so should behave largely the same, although there are a few slight behavior changes and some extra exposed parameters for inertia settings. The engine now also always simulates clothing in local space – this gives us the benefit of only having one transform path through the solver and allows external inertia to be tweaked in much finer detail.
- Vertex & Texture Painting on Skeletal Meshes has been added.
- Vertex & Texture Painting on Static Meshes has been overhauled to improve usability.
- A Spline IK node has been added to Animation Blueprints; useful for character spines.
- Animation Modifiers are a new type of class which allow developers to apply a sequence of actions to a given animation sequence or skeleton. They should always implement OnApply and OnRevert to allow modifying data and remove previously applied changes.
- Accessing Animation Modifiers is done through a new tab in the skeleton and animation editor.
- A new set of functions to access specific animation data has been added, they’re contained by a new editor-only function library (Animation blueprint Library).
- The RigidBody node supports simulating a physics asset inside an Animation Blueprint. This is similar to AnimDynamics, but instead of specifying a node per bone a single node is used for the entire skeletal mesh. Performance has also been improved.
- PoseDriver has been improved, including more control over selected and modified bones, curve control, and UI improvements.
- The ability to have Kinematic bodies with simulated parents has been added, allowing effects like a kinematic hand attached to other objects.
- The ‘Look At’ node has been improved to be usable relative to a bone or socket.
- Capsule collision can now be imported from an FBX file. You now use the ‘UCP’ prefix on a capsule poly mesh, and it will be removed on import, and replaced by a corresponding capsule collision shape.
- The ability to store asset viewer profiles on a ‘shared’ or ‘local’ level has been added. This allows team to have a shared set of profiles which can be used as a unified scene to assess art assets. Shared profiles are stored in DefaultEditor.ini and will require you to check out or make it writable.
- Added support to import Retarget Base Pose. A new option allows you to import the pose from Pose Asset.
- Animation Export improvements support run-time retargeting results and animation that applies Post Process Graph.
- Add ‘GetMaterialFromFaceIndex’ function for components retrieves the actual material after performing a complex line trace. This is supported for StaticMeshes, ProceduralMeshes and BSP.
- The Play Montage Blueprint is an Async node, that can be used in any Blueprint logic to play Anim Montages, and have easy access to some of the callback events it provides.
- Volumetric Fog is now supported.
- Volumetric Fog controls are on the Exponential Height Fog Component.
- Localized fog density can be controlled via particles. To do so, create a Material, set the material’s domain to Volume, and apply it to a particle emitter. The volume material describes Albedo, Emissive and Extinction for a given point in space. Albedo is in the range [0-1] while Emissive and Extinction are world space densities with any value greater than 0. Volume materials currently only work on particles, and only positions inside the particle’s radius are valid.
- Each light has a ‘Volumetric Scattering Intensity’ and ‘Cast Volumetric Shadow’ setting. (fast-changing lights like flashlights and muzzle flashes leave lighting trails. Disable volumetric fog contribution on these lights with ‘Volumetric Scattering Intensity’ set to 0)
- Supported lights include:
- A single Directional Light, with shadowing from Cascaded Shadow Maps or static shadowing, with a Light Function
- Any number of point and spot lights, with dynamic or static shadowing if ‘Cast Volumetric Shadow’ is enabled.
- A single skylight, with shadowing from Distance Field Ambient Occlusion if enabled
- Particle lights, if ‘Volumetric Scattering Intensity’ is greater than 0
- Not currently supported:
- Precomputed global illumination
- Shadowing of Stationary skylights
- IES profiles and Light Functions on point and spot lights
- Shadowing from Ray Traced Distance Field Shadows
- Shadowing from the volumetric fog itself
- The GPU cost of Volumetric Fog is primarily controlled by the volume texture resolution, which is set from the Engine Shadow Scalability level. Use ‘profilegpu’ to inspect this cost.
- Distance Field Lighting has been optimized for current generation consoles and mid-spec PC.
- The Global Distance Field is much faster to update when a Movable object changes.
- New project settings ‘Eight Bit Mesh Distance Fields’ and ‘Compress Mesh Distance Fields’ which significantly reduce memory requirements when enabled
- Runtime cost has been reduced between 30-50%
- Mesh Distance Field generation uses Intel’s Embree ray tracing library, for a 2.5x speedup
- Vertex Interpolator nodes have been added to the material graph. These nodes offer better control for value interpolation between vertex and pixel work. These are intended as a workflow improvement, there are no changes to interpolator limits nor will shaders change. The feature is compatible with Customized UVs and will pack results together.
- Post processing now supports Image-based (FFT) convolution for physically realistic bloom effects in addition to the existing bloom method. This new post processing feature is designed for use in cinematics or on high-end hardware.
- Image based Convolution adds new control parameters to the existing Lens | Bloom section found in Post Process volumes.
- In using a new texture to serve as the kernel image, it is important to ensure that the full image is present on the gpu and available at full resolution. Two settings are required to ensure this:
- Mips Gen Setting should be set to NoMipmaps
- Texture option Never Stream should be selected.
- Garbage Collection improvements make collection times twice as fast.
- Removed support for Visual Studio 2013. VS 2015 and VS 2017 are currently supported.
- Localized String Tables are now supported. These provide a way to centralize your localized text into one (or several) known locations, and then reference the entries within a string table from other assets or code in a robust way that allows for easy re-use of localized text. String Tables can be defined in C++, loaded via CSV file, or created as an asset.
- Color Grading improvements include polished UI, a new HSV mode, dynamically changing the min/max value of sliders using Ctrl+drag, and a new Reset button.
- The Asset Audit Window, built on top of the experimental Asset Management Framework, can be used to audit disk size, memory usage, and general asset properties for many assets at once. It is a specialized version of the Content Browser, and can be accessed from the Window->Developer Tools menu, or from the right click menu in the Content Browser or Reference Viewer. Once you have opened the window assets can be added using the buttons, and platform data loaded out of cooked asset registries can be loaded using the platform drop down.
- Updates to VR Mode’s UI and interation include a new asymmetrical controller setup where you can change which controller has the interaction laser in Editor Preferences > VR Mode, and an updated Radial Menu with access to all major editor features and UI panels. Additional updates include smoothed interaction lasers and improved teleportation.
- VR Mode now has access to the Sequencer Editor
- Physics simulation is now possible in VR mode
- Smart Snapping in VR Mode uses the bounds of your object to align to other actors in the scene, enabling you to exactly fit them together without needing to build modular assets with a grid in mind.
- Shot enhancements include pre/post roll and hierarchical bias.
- UI enchancements include re-sizable tracks and audio thumbnails now render the peak samples with an inner RMS curve
- Material Parameter Collection Tracks have been added
- Various minor improvements including Binding Override improvements, additional event receivers on Level Sequence Actors, event ordering, and more.