Unreal Engine 5 Goes into Early Access
The first details on Unreal Engine 5 came out a year ago when Epic Games unveiled the widely popular videogame development engine. Last week, Epic Games announced that it had launched Unreal Engine 5 Early Access that will enable studios to start playing with its new features such as its continued VR support that utilizes the OpenXR framework.
The announcement emphasizes the impressive fidelity that videogames developers will now be able to incorporate into future titles due to the virtualized micropolygon system Nanite along with its global illumination solution Lumen. The release notes also mention some VR-specific additions.
The Unreal Engine team has incorporated a new VRTemplate that utilizes the OpenXR framework which serves as a great launchpad for VR development. The release notes state that the template has been designed to serve as a starting point for “all your VR projects.” According to the release notes, the template also includes “encapsulated logic for teleport locomotion and common input actions” like “grabbing and attaching items to your hand.” Epic Games is even recommending that developers create their own VR project using VRTemplate in UE5 as the project settings and plugins have already been configured for the “best VR experience.”
Developers who create a VR project while the Unreal Engine is still in Early Access won’t be able to use features such as Lumen as it is currently not supported. This will, however, change in the future which will enable virtual reality titles to look as good as the sample screenshots shown. Developers shouldn’t use Early Access to build entire projects as the UE5 is currently still under development with the official release likely to happen in early 2022.
With the VRTemplate now supporting the OpenXR, developers should find it easy to launch their titles into various virtual reality headsets. At the moment, VRTemplate supports these headsets: –
- Oculus Quest 1 and 2
- Oculus Rift S
- Oculus Quest via Oculus Link
- HTC Vive
- Valve Index
- Windows Mixed Reality
Apart from virtual reality, Unreal Engine 5 will continue supporting augmented reality (AR) from disparate hardware including ARKit, Magic Leap, and ARCore SDKs.
Keep it here for additional coverage as Epic Games rolls out additional Unreal Engine 5 features and improvements in Early Access.