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Are you ready for the release of Unreal Engine 4.20? The first Preview build is now available for download on the Epic Games launcher, so let’s take a look at the update.
Included in Preview 1 are improvements to the proxy LOD tool, as highlighted in the May 17th livestream, many mobile improvements and optimizations we’ve made for Fortnite on iOS and Android, and early access to mixed reality capture. Niagara will be rolling out in early access, and you’ll also see a number of our GDC features, including the new cinematic depth of field and improved rendering features for digital humans at your disposal.
To get Unreal Engine 4.20 Preview 1, head to the Library section on the launcher, select “Add Versions” and choose 4.20 Preview 1.
A more inclusive list of upcoming changes in the build has been posted on our forums, where you can leave feedback. Please keep in mind that Preview releases are intended only to provide a sample of what is going to be released in the update and are not production-ready.
We recommend waiting for the full release of 4.20 before updating your projects to the new engine version. For now, please use copies of your projects to test new features.
Here is the list of changes:
- Cinematic Depth of Field. We have a brand new implementation of Depth of Field to achieve cinematic quality. It is a replacement for Circle DoF method that is faster over most other Depth of Field methods, such as Bokeh and Circle DoF.
- Digital Humans Improvements. A set of improvements targeted at both skin and eye rendering. Including dual lobe specular for skin, subsurface scattering for the eye material model and more.
- Rectangular Area Lights. There is now support for a Rectangular Area Light type accessible from the Modes panel with other light types.
- Currently only supports the Deferred Renderer.
- Acts mostly like a Point Light, except it has a Source Width and a Source Height to control the area emitting light.
- Static and Stationary mobility shadowing works like an area light source with Movable dynamic shadowing working more like a point light with no area currently.
- ProxyLOD Improvements. The new proxy LOD tool has graduated from “Experimental” to “Early Access”: this tool can be used in a Level of Detail (LOD) system. This tool lets you replace a group of meshes with a single simplified mesh requiring only a single draw call. It’s most useful when viewing a detailed area such as a city or village from afar.
- Improved Normal Control: Hard Edge Split Normal
- Gap Filling
- Shared SkeletalMesh LOD Setting. Implemented SkeletalMesh LOD Setting Asset that can be shared between SkeletalMeshes
- Streaming GeomCache and Improved Alembic Importer (Experimental). Geometry cache has been completely rehauled.
- Individual vertex animation frames are now compressed using an intra-frame codec based on Huffman encoding.
- The Alembic importer has been changed to iteratively import frames rather than importing all frames in bulk.
- Scripted Extensions for Actor and Content Browser Context Menu. The context menus for actors and content browser items can now be extended using Blutilities.
- Animation Retarget Manager. Animation Retargeting Manager supports saving and loading of the mapping data.
- RigidBody Anim Node Improvements.
- Clothing Tapered Capsule Collision. Added support for tapered capsules to physics assets. Tapered capsules are only supported by clothing, not by rigid bodies
- Copy Vertex Colors To Clothing Param. Added tool to copy SkeletalMesh vertex colors to any selected clothing parameter mask
- Sub Audio Recording [New Audio Engine Only] Added the ability to record the engine output or any submix’s output to a .wav file or a soundwave asset.
- Frame Accuracy. Sequencer now stores all internal time data as integers, allowing for robust support of frame-accuracy in situations where this is a necessity.
- Media Track. Sequencer has a new track for playing media sources. It is like the audio track, but for movies.
- Curve Editor/Evaluation. Weighted tangents are now supported on float curves. Sequencer now supports continuous euler angle changes when changing rotations.
- Anim Instance Control. It is now possible to animate variables on anim instances through possessables, allowing direct control of anim blueprint variables, functions, and other content.
- Final Cut Pro 7 XML Import/Export. Sequencer movie scene data can now be exported to and imported from the Final Cut Pro 7 XML format. This can be used to roundtrip data to Adobe Premiere Pro and other editing software that supports FCP 7 XML.
- Sequence Recorder Improvements.
- Track Improvements. Tracks, Actors, and Folders can now be reordered in Sequencer and UMG animations.
- Mixed Reality Capture: Early Access. The early access Mixed Reality Capture support has three components: video input, calibration, and in-game compositing. They have a list of supported webcams and HDMI capture devices that enable you to pull real-world green-screened video into the Engine from a variety of sources. ‘
- Instanced Stereo Rendering: Translucency Support. They’ve taken the improvements to the Instance Stereo Rendering (ISR) path that they made for Robo Recall, and improved them to work across a more robust set of features in the engine. 4.20 adds support for performing the translucency rendering pass using ISR, which can significantly reduce CPU cost on translucency-heavy scenes.
- Replication Driver / Replication Graph (Experimental)
- UReplicationDriver is a base class that can be used for implementing custom server replication logic.
- UReplicationGraph is an implementation of UReplicationDriver that provides a replication system optimized for games with large actor and player counts.
- Steam Authentication has been added.
- All of the mobile improvements and optimizations they’ve made for Fortnite on iOS and Android
- Improved Android Debugging
- Mobile Landscape Improvements
- RHO Thread on Android
- Occlusion Queries on Mobile
- Software Occlusion Culling
- Platform Material Stats
- Improve Mobile Specular Lighting Model
- Blueprint Bookmarks (Experimental). The Blueprint Bookmarks feature provides the ability to create named Bookmarks in any function graph in the Blueprint editor.
- Blueprint Watch Window. The Blueprint Watch Window is designed to speed up debugging by giving you access to the variables and nodes that you want to watch, even across multiple Blueprints
Editor & Tools Updates:
- Niagara is now available as Early Access.
- Redesigned User Interface
- New Modules. All of Niagara’s modules have been updated or rewritten to support commonly used behaviors in building effects for games.
- GPU Simulation. They now have GPU simulation working on DX11, PS4, Xbox One, OpenGL, and Metal. Vulkan and Switch are currently not supported.
- CPU Simulation & Compilation. CPU simulation should work properly for PC/PS4/Xbox One/OpenGL (ES3.1)/Metal. Vulcan and Switch are currently not supported.
- UMG Savezone. The Screen Size you select in UMG and Play-In-Editor (PIE) settings are now linked with Device Profiles which also takes into account the Mobile Content Scale Factor, meaning that the final resolution and DPI scale will change based on the device screen size selected.
- Material Gradient Curve. Materials can now use a Curve Atlas asset to store and access linear color curve data through Blueprint.
- Slate Performance Improvements
- Mesh Description – New Mesh Format. Unreal Engine 4 is moving to a new higher-level intermediate format which can represent any type of mesh asset in the engine.
- Color Picker: Label Saved Colors. Colors saved in your Theme Bar or Theme Menu can now be labeled by right-clicking them.
- Content Browser: Recently Opened Filter. There is a new filter option to list the most Recently Opened assets in the Content Browser. This filter lists the 20 most recently opened assets.
- Garbage Collection Improvements.
- Visual Studio 2017. UE4 will now use the Visual Studio 2017 compiler, and generate project files for Visual Studio 2017 by default. They’ve also added support for the Windows 10 SDK.