How to Make VR Games with Unreal Engine 4 (UE4)

More and more people are starting to develop for VR these days. I’ve seen college students and even high school students asking for guidance on forums with wide-eyed wonder and limitless energy. We also started from scratch two months ago and within that time, we were able to make Picard’s Quarters, a UE4 demo that got featured on Oculus Share. I come from a web development background and my colleague recently graduated from college, so you don’t have to have years of game development experience to get started. These are a few simple but important strategies to help you learn quickly.

Watch the Tutorials

skitch

Epic offers ~200 professionally-made tutorials on Youtube. They are organized into playlists by topic, the narrator is witty, and you can easily skip around using your arrow keys. Don’t try to watch them all like you would a tv show on Netflix. When you need to be able to do something, say with blueprints, watch the series on that topic. Maybe watch it a few times and even follow along in your project.

Study the Free Stuff

There are “Engine Feature Samples” that give you how many of the features work in a real project:

skitch

There’s “Example Game Projects”, full projects that are playable with C++ and/or Blueprint code along with a wide variety of assets:

skitch

For example, ShooterGame is a great place to get materials and meshes for a sci-fi theme game. Finally, “Showcases and Complete Projects” are also full projects:

skitch

Here are some of the sample projects, the style, and what it covers:

  • First Person Shooter – FPS, futuristic sci-fi, C++, online subsystem
  • Platformer Game – 2.5D, urban city, lots of jumping, movies
  • Xoio Berlin Flat – architectural visualization (archviz), modern, realism, materials
  • Lightroom – archviz, modern, realism, foliage, materials
  • Scifi Hallway – FPS, futuristic sci-fi, crazy good materials (Substance)
  • Couch Knights – multiplayer, VR
  • Vehicle Game – driving in the desert
  • Tappy Chicken – mobile, just like Flappy Bird, all Blueprints
  • Tower Defense
  • Memory Game
  • …and others

Obviously, you can probably find something useful whether you’re looking to learn how to use Blueprints or program in C++ or do multiplayer.

Use the VR Template

UE4 offers templates for FPS, 3rd-Person, Vechicle, and other types of games. It doesn’t offer a VR template yet (roadmap) but there’s an open source template on Github. It’s a great place to start, offering features like an in-game menu, sane moving speeds, and basic interactions.

Bonus: Settings to Make Your Demos Run Buttery Smooth

These settings were recommended by Epic during their Oculus Connect conference talk on September, 2014. They go in your DefaultEngine.ini. Note that some of these may need tweaking depending on what you need.

[/Script/Engine.RendererSettings]

r.SeparateTranslucency=0
r.HZBOcclusion=0
r.FinishCurrentFrame=1
r.MotionBlurQuality=0
r.PostProcessAAQuality=3
r.BloomQuality=1
r.EyeAdaptationQuality=0
r.AmbientOcclusionLevels=0
r.SSR.Quality=1
r.DepthOfFieldQuality=0
r.SceneColorFormat=2
r.SSSSS=0
r.TranslucencyVolumeBlur=0
r.TranslucencyLightingVolumeDim=4
r.MaxAnisotropy=8
r.LensFlareQuality=0
r.SceneColorFringeQuality=0
r.FastBlurThreshold=0
showflag.decals=0
r.SSR.MaxRoughness=0.1
r.compileshadersfordevelopment=0
r.rhicmdbypass=0
r.TiledReflectionEnvironmentMinimumCount=10

You can download the PDF of Epic’s conference talk slides here: OculusConnect_Epic_UE4_Integration_and_Demos

2 thoughts on “How to Make VR Games with Unreal Engine 4 (UE4)

    1. As far as I know, there’s no easy way to do Augmented Reality (AR) with UE4 today. The most hyped AR devices are either too expensive (Google Glass), not yet ready for developer use (Microsoft Hololens), or haven’t even been revealed to the public yet (Magic Leap). Less known companies like CastAR are starting to integrate with game engines like UE4 but it looks like it may take them a while (https://community.technicalillusions.com/threads/cast-ar-and-ue4-integration.584/). Also, UE4 is designed for full simulated environments (i.e. games). This may not work too well with AR, which is mixed environments.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s