Unreal Engine IV: An Engine for the Designer

The game system engine is at the core of the entire gaming experience for players. It allows all the graphics, actions and player input to be rendered on-screen. Designers are behind the use of game engines, but several variables still exist that require manipulation by programmers. Unreal Engine IV puts design back in the hands of designers by increasing simplicity and efficiency between going back and fourth amongst developing and testing. This, in turn, allows for the game to be made with the innovation and creativity that developers intended to put in the game.

Epic Games (Gears of War) created the new engine that revolves around the concept of low level control. Animations, sounds, level rendering and character motion can now be manipulated in most cases without having to either pause the game or go too deep into the sandbox. This feature, called Hot Reload, also houses several other highlights.

Included in Hot Reload is Vode View, which saves time by allowing C++ functions to be browsed in the game. Users can also jump straight into source code lines in Visual Studio to change other functions

Live Kismet Debugging minimizes the discovery of bugs later in development by enabling the user to interactively visualize gameplay code flow during testing. More bug busting features include Simulate mode, where game logic can be run from the user’s viewpoint. This allows for the Al to be inspected in addition to actions performed by game characters. Users can also either possess or eject during the testing phase to inspect objects that may appear buggy from other camera angles.

Lighting was a big graphical plus of Battlefield III, which utilized Unreal Engine III. In the fourth version of this engine, real-time global illumination is allowed through voxel cone tracing instead of pre-computed lighting.

Although Unreal Engine IV does not have a release date, it is speculated to be released sometime in 2013 due to Fortnite (a co-op sandbox survival game) incorporating the engine for the game.

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