Recent years have seen a rapidly accelerating rise in the prevalence of cloud-based applications, whereby both the application itself and all of its data reside in the cloud. In this architecture, all processing occurs in the cloud and is entirely transparent to the user, who simply sees the results displayed through a user interface on their device. This deployment model makes sophisticated applications more accessible to a broader range of users, by enabling access from devices that might lack the processing power to run the computation or graphical rendering locally.
Cloud deployment also makes possible a new breed of data-heavy applications that could not function in a traditional deployment scenario due to their heavy storage and data transfer requirements. An excellent example of such an application is MetaHuman Creator, which stores its vast volume of reference photos in the cloud alongside the computing resources that run the application’s logic.
One of the core technologies that enable large-scale deployments of cloud applications are containers, a construct that encapsulates software and its supporting data in a lightweight and portable form. Containers provide a consistent runtime environment for applications, in a manner which is more efficient and cost-effective than traditional deployment technologies like virtual machines. In our white paper Cloud solutions: exploring the power of Unreal Engine containers, we delve into the results of our collaboration with TensorWorks to bring official container support to Unreal Engine 4.27. This collaboration is ongoing as we continue to work on providing container support for Unreal Engine 5 and future versions.
The official container images that ship with Unreal Engine 4.27 provide tools to assist developers across multiple stages of the production pipeline. During development, containers can be used as a consistent build environment to compile and package Unreal Engine projects and plugins. When developers are ready to deploy their applications to the cloud, containers can be used to encapsulate packaged projects with their required runtime dependencies.
Our collaboration with TensorWorks has also encompassed numerous enhancements to the Pixel Streaming system that make it possible to run applications on Linux and in containers. When containers and Pixel Streaming are combined with GPUs in the cloud, complex and high-fidelity interactive experiences can be deployed at massive scales and delivered to any user with an internet connection.
Potential applications for containers are many and far-reaching, encompassing every industry that uses real-time technology: autonomous vehicle testing, with its enormous data sets and machine learning needs; digital twins, with city-sized 3D models and the need for fast data processing; and architectural design, to share experiences that collaborators and stakeholders around the world can explore. All these applications, and more, can take advantage of containers to deploy their solutions in the cloud.
The white paper also includes links to documentation and related resources, and explores several case studies of cloud-based development and deployment using Unreal Engine containers.
Download the white paper and find out how you can leverage the power of the cloud for your own projects.