Epic Games released the new version of its popular game engine earlier today. Unreal Engine 4.5 comes with a vast number of new features and improvements including animation retargeting, automatic C++ hot reload, light map UV generation, streaming video textures and more. Epic has also made the engine more friendly to developers who are just learning the ropes as Unreal Engine 4.5 features a wide variety of usability and learning enhancements, a brand new tutorial system and new templates for Advanced Vehicles and Twin Stick shooters. The full list of additions is downright massive so here we’ll only list the major new features found with Unreal Engine 4.5.
- Ray Traced Distance Field Soft Shadows: There is a new dynamic shadowing method which works by tracing a ray through mesh distance fields to the light. This allows for soft area shadows with sharp contacts!
- Generation: The distance field generation has been made asynchronous. It will use most of the CPU’s cores but leave a few available for using the editor in the meantime.
- Screen-space Subsurface Scattering: A new “Subsurface Profile” shading model has been added! You can use subsurface scattering to create realistic skin materials and other awesome effects.
- Unreal Motion Graphics (GUI Designer): Unreal Motion Graphics is now ready to use and available by default! Simply create a new “Widget Blueprint” and start designing your UI. Of course, new features and improvements are still being added daily.
- UI Styles: We now allow styling to be done completely inline for a widget’s definition. This allows users a much greater control over how widgets look without needing to clutter up their project with several dozen style variations. Styles can now be changed in game, allowing dynamic material instances to be used on any UI!
- DPI Scaling: Unreal Motion Graphics now supports automatic scaling for resolution-independent UI. We now provide default DPI scaling rules for all games. You can configure this in your project’s Rendering settings.
- Full Game C++ Hot Reload: You can now compile any type of game C++ code without even restarting the editor, and your changes will be applied live! Even adding whole new classes or properties is supported.
- Animation Retargeting System: The new Animation Retargeting System allows you to convert animations between different skeletons using the humanoid rig!
- New Tutorial System: The tutorial system has been completely overhauled in order to provide a more immersive experience!
Unreal Engine 4.5 and its source code can be used by anyone willing to pay a $19/month subscription plus 5% of gross revenue from any games developer with the engine, which goes directly to Epic Games. Unreal Engine 4 has been voted best game engine by developers earlier this year so this price is a small one to pay considering how good the engine is. Indeed, we’re likely to see a great number of major new titles being developed with Unreal Engine 4.5 in the future. For the full list of changes check out this post of the Unreal Engine forums.