April 3, 2014

Unreal Engine 4.1 Update Preview

By Mike Fricker

Hey everyone!  We’re excited to tell you about the Unreal Engine 4.1 update which is coming later this month. I’ll summarize the high points here, and detailed preview notes are below for you to check out. Please visit this forum thread and let us know what you think!

Okay, so you might wonder why an image of our Elemental demo is attached to this post. That’s because it’s time to give it away! With the release of 4.1, Elemental will be free for all subscribers to download from the Marketplace. It took us awhile, but we've converted Elemental to match the engine's default system, to make it easy for you to use these assets with your own projects!

Folks have been asking about our early Linux efforts and support for Valve’s SteamOS and Steam Machines. We have good news for you! The 4.1 source code has initial support for running and packaging games for Linux and SteamOS. We love Linux!

We really want to provide UE4 updates to everyone on a regular basis. Think of it as a continuous release plan. Our team has a great history of releasing frequent and high-quality engine updates. We addressed many issues from the initial release with last Tuesday’s hotfix, but this is just the beginning. You can expect to enjoy new content, code and improvements at any point in time.

On the content side, we shipped the Blueprint Office showcase last week. In 4.1 you’ll get Elemental, and if you check out today’s Twitch livestream at 11:30 a.m. PT / 2:30 p.m. ET, you’ll be the first to hear about even more surprises.

We’re also working to bring you ‘live’ source code access and regular preview builds of the engine. We’re getting close! In fact, today we pushed latest code to GitHub. This preview build contains most of the 4.1 features below!

(Note:  You’ll need to be logged into GitHub with an associated UE4 subscription for that link to work.)

Okay, last thing, but super important. Thank you to all of the awesome developers who contributed code to the upcoming 4.1 release! We are humbled and amazed by what you are doing!!

Allar, AndrewScheideckercdietschrun, clide, djker, DiCoJamesTan, fxtentacle, jkantzerKamayuq, kylawl, PostalDude, sbc100 (1 , 2, & 3), wshearn

Feel free to drop into today’s Twitch stream! Ray Davis and I will be talking about UE4 plans and answering your questions.

New! SteamOS/Linux Support

  • You can now package your games and deploy to SteamOS and Linux! 
    SteamOS/Linux is now availabel
  • Note: For now, you’ll need to grab the source code to compile and test on Linux

New! Flying and Rolling Project Templates

  • There are 2 new project templates that demonstrate simple flying and rolling character movement!
  • The Flying templates (C++ and Blueprint) feature simple flying movement: 
    Flying 1
  • The Rolling templates (C++ and Blueprint) feature a physics-based rolling ball as the player character: 

New! Scene Outliner Folder System

  • It is now possible to organize actors in the Scene Outliner using folders: 
    Scene Outliner
  • The create button will create you a new folder containing the currently selected actors.
  • Visibility toggling on folders affects all their contained actors.

New! Asset Deletion Assistant

  • This feature makes it easy to delete assets by helping you interactively inspect and repair references. 
    Asset Deletion Assistant
  • Allows graceful cleanup of assets still being referenced on disk or in memory
    • You can click on any referenced asset to navigate to it and fix it up manually.
    • You can Replace References, formally known as “Consolidate”.
    • You can perform a Force Delete, or you can Cancel and go handle the references yourself.
  • Allows for multiple simultaneous deletes.
    • Even if an asset is referenced by other assets, as long as they are also being deleted, it won’t flag that as a problem.
  • Reference Navigation
    • Double Clicking on referenced assets will open their editor
    • If an asset is being referenced in the open map, Double Clicking the map asset will take you to it in the open map.

New! Undo History Window

  • The Editor now has a way to access the undo history! 
    Undo History Window
  • You can access the Undo History window from the Windows menu (Windows > Undo History).
  • Note: Currently only works with Editor transactions.

New! Jump to Connection in Graph

  • You can now right click on pins and jump to connections! 
    Debug Histogram Visualization

New! Debug Histogram Visualization

  • You can now draw a histogram (graph) of float values in the world! 
    Debug drawing
  • You can record the value of a property or other aspect of the game over time and visualize that as a histogram at a specific location in the world.
  • Values can be recorded and histograms can be drawn from both C++ code and Blueprints! 
    Debug in Blueprints
  • Note: This feature is designed for debugging purposes. Debug drawing is not recommended during normal gameplay.

New Experimental Feature: Translation Editor

  • The Translation Editor makes it easier to edit translations for strings in your game code and assets. 
    Experimental Feature: Translation Editor
  • Note: This tool is still an early work in progress. This tool can be enabled in your editor preferences under the Experimental section.

Improvements and Bug Fixes

  • General Editor
    • New! Preview Meshes preference that allows customization of meshes displayed in viewports when holding the Backslash key.
    • New! Pressing the C key now creates comments in the Material and SoundCue editors.
    • New! You can now customize the selection colors in the editor preferences.
    • New! You can now override the far view plane on a level editor viewport.
    • Viewport Grid Improvements
      • Removed the grid dots for a cleaner view and the grid is now scaled according to the grid snap settings.
      • Perspective grid precision improved with thinner lines.
      • Orthographic grid now has power of 10 major gridlines, soft fading transitions between levels, and colored axis lines.
    • Added support for Ctrl + Backspace and Ctrl + Delete to editable text boxes.
    • Added prompt to restart the editor after you’ve enabled or disabled a plugin in the Plugins Editor.
    • Added tooltips to Window options in main menu.
    • Added Enable Sound option to Play-In-Editor settings.
    • Added toast popup when successfully checking in.
    • Save window now displays "Save Map" or "Save Asset" depending on what's being saved.
    • Content is now autosaved by default, and the notification shows you the number of packages that will be saved.
    • Pressing F4 to view details will now potentially spawn a new Details panel if all the currently open ones are locked.
    • Browse button now works on unloaded objects.
    • The Reset Layout feature has been moved to the Window menu from Editor Preferences.
    • Frame rate settings now have a lower bound of zero.
    • Fixed Select actors using this asset not selecting actors in other streaming sub-levels.
    • Fixed selection problems in orthographic viewports due to mouse tests not extending from beyond the origin plane.
    • Fixed Actors not remaining selected after copying Actors from multiple levels into the clipboard.
    • Fixed global shortcut keys not functioning in floating windows in some cases
    • Fixed safe frames and aspect ratio bars not displayed when locking a camera in Matinee when no camera is selected.
    • Fixed Editor Preferences not listing all available languages and regions.
    • Fixed viewport settings not being saved into the layout preferences file instead of the editor preferences files.
    • Fixed notifications not being anchored to their appropriate monitor work area.
    • Fixed copying text from the Output Log not copying lines in the correct order.
    • Fixed dragging and dropping brushes into the Scene Outliner not working correctly.
    • Fixed survey notification not fading away instantly after clicking Cancel to close it.
    • Fixed Actors being selected when the viewport is hiding the layer they are in.
    • Tutorial window no longer plays sounds.
  • Source Control
    • Fixed Perforce source control plugin not supporting Unicode workspace names and user names.
  • Geometry Editing
    • Fixed not being able to scroll through the various Geometry Editing mode controls.
    • Fixed legacy builder brush visible in the 3D scene while Geometry Editing mode is active.
    • Removed Volumetric and Sheet brush shapes as they were non-functional.
  • Level Browser
    • Fixed level locking changes not being able to be undone or redone.
  • Landscape and Foliage
    • New! Landscape splines now have a Max Draw Distance setting for meshes on the spline.
    • New! Added new Landscape LOD preview settings to viewports.
    • New! New controls for collision settings were added to Foliage tool
    • New! Added Resample option for Change Component Size tool.
  • Mesh Paint Tool
    • Changed default paint brush radius to 128.
    • Paint brush radius is now saved with your editor preferences.
  • Content Browser
    • New! You can now rename folders by right clicking on them and selecting Rename.
    • New! Diff Tool: Changes to Behaviour Tree assets can now be displayed interactively (diffing).
    • New! Added new Content Browser view options: Show Only Assets in Selected FoldersReal-Time Thumbnails.
    • Fixed Textures in thumbnails often drawing with blurry graphics (improved streaming for thumbnail Textures).
    • Fixed not being able to type immediately into Content Browser search when window is summoned.
  • Blueprints
    • New! You can multiply LinearColors by floats using a Float * (LinearColor) Blueprint node.
    • New! Added a new ParseIntoArray function for easily splitting up strings.
    • New! Variable Get/Set nodes can now display rich tooltips using (where available) documentation info.
    • New! Alt + Right Click can now be used as an alternative to zoom Blueprint graphs.
    • Added menu extensibility hooks for additional items in the Debug Object drop down.
    • Added a details customization for the graph nodes that handles node names/renaming.
    • Added code to support searching interfaces.
    • Renaming Blueprint Interface functions now properly renames the functions in implementing Blueprints.
    • Combo button menus no longer scale in the Blueprint Editor.
    • Fixed not being able to undo/redo after moving nodes around on the graph.
    • Realtime rendering in the Blueprint preview scene is now disabled when Components mode is deactivated within the Blueprint editor.
  • Texture Editor
    • Improved how the zoom slider in the Texture Editor interacts with the Fit to Viewport setting.
  • Material Editor
    • New! You can now zoom in and out by holding Left + Right Mouse Buttons and dragging.
    • New! Material Attributes can now be connected to Feature Level and Quality switches.
    • Lighting-specific options in the Material Details are now grayed out when Unlit mode is active.
    • Fixed Material asset name not being displayed in the Material Editor title tab.
    • Changed Material statistics to be displayed in their own tab.
  • Persona: Animation Editor
    • New! You can now select and edit multiple bones at the same time in Persona.
    • New! You can now save assets straight from Persona’s built-in Asset Browser.
    • New! Animation Notifies can now be deleted by selecting them and pressing the Delete key.
    • New! You can now open assets directly from Blueprint nodes that reference them.
    • Fixed changes to bones not being able to be undone and redone.
    • Fixed some Persona settings not being remembered between sessions.
    • Fixed Persona mode widgets not indicating dirty state.
  • Matinee
    • New! Matinee now supports rendering to PNG and JPEG formats (along with BMP and AVI).
    • Fixed inconsistencies with how Undo/Redo works in Matinee compared to other editors (such as Cascade).
    • Fixed not being able to interact with graph labels and buttons while in Zoom Mode.
    • Fixed Slomo tracks not being able to slow the play rate down below 10%.
  • Core
    • Added the ability to load the Unreal Build Toll BuildConfiguration from XML files.
  • UnrealVS (Visual Studio Extension)
    • Command Line box now automatically adds the game project file for 'Game' projects in UE4.sln
    • Visual Studio’s Customize feature now supports UnrealVS’ tool bar commands