Epic Games launched its Unreal Engine 4.20 and it is jam packed with new tools and optimizations developed for Fortnite to help developers create awesome experiences. That includes experiences in virtual reality and augmented reality, along with a whole bunch of optimizations and improvements for mobile, such as Android and iOS. In short, there's something for everyone here.
Starting with mobile, the Unreal Engine 4.20 brings over 400 mobile optimizations developed for Fortnite on iOS and Android, making it much easier for developers to create and ship games, and also optimize gameplay across platforms. Developers will find improved Android debugging in Unreal Engine 4.20, along with mobile landscape improvements and occlusion queries on mobile.
"Hardware Occlusion Queries are now supported for high-end mobile devices on iOS and Android that support ES 3.1 or Vulkan using the GPU. They are enabled by default for any device that supports them. Software Occlusion Queries is an experimental feature that uses the CPU to cull primitive components from the scene. Because it uses a conservative approach, it can be used on any mobile device," Epic Games explains.
Epic Games also significantly improved Nintendo Switch development with Unreal Engine 4.20. It includes "tons of performance and memory improvements" that it built for Fortnite on Switch, and they are now available to all Unreal Engine developers. Some of the highlights include:
- Support for Dynamic Resolution and Temporal Upsampling
- Low Latency Frame Syncing for Controller Input
- Significant CPU Rendering Optimizations
- Improvements to Threading
- Better Texture Compression
- Support for Memory Profiling Backbuffer support for 1080p while in docked mode
- And many other fixes!
Moving on, Unreal Engine 4.20 also introduces native mixed reality video compositing for VR applications, which is supposed to make it easy for developers to composite real players into virtual play spaces.
"If you have a Vive Tracker or similar tracking device, Mixed Reality Capture can match your camera location to the in-game camera to make shots more dynamic and interesting. Setup and calibration is done through a standalone calibration tool that can be reused across Unreal Engine 4 titles. Once you set up your filming location, you can use it across all applications," Epic Games says.
Mixed reality support is in early access, but stands to be popular with developers who up until now had to rely on third-party tools. Unreal Engine 4.20 bakes support right into the engine itself, so it should be easier for developers to add mixed reality support to their games, if that's what they want to do.
Unreal Engine 4.20 also implements the newer Oculus Runtime 1.25 for developers who are interested in the Rift, alon with support for Apple's ARKit 2.0 and Google's ARCore 1.2.
Kudos to Epic Games on what is an overall massive update.