Unreal Engine 4.12 released

The new version of Unreal Engine (4.12) is released. The full release notes are here: https://www.unrealengine.com/blog/unreal-engine-4-12-released

It’s a game engine so it’s useful if you want to make a game, but even if you don’t, this release is a bit more interesting for Blender users than usual. Some new features that may be interesting:

Sequencer: A non-linear editor to make cinematics or other movies in realtime. You can then render to a movie or images (.jpg or .png) at 4k resolution (or less) at the FPS you get in the engine. Usually this means 60 fps or more.

Cinematic cameras and viewport: A camera that mimics real life cameras with customizable lenses, filmback, focal length, look at tracking and more. Also DOF with a focus button where you can click on something in the scene to automatically focus there. The camera rigs are a crane rig and a rail rig, they work as their real life counterparts. There’s also the option to just keyframe normally of course. The viewport has embedded controls and frames (grid style overlays) for composition planning.

High quality reflections: 16 bit normals/tangents for smoother looking reflections. Custom resolutions for sky cubemaps and reflection probes for higher quality lighting/reflections. Also custom cubemaps per reflection probe if needed so you can add additional reflection probes with targeted reflections.

Twist corrective animation node: A node that can drive curves (for example morph targets, read shape keys) with relative bone rotation. Basically works like a driver in Blender. This is not super useful if you already have drivers set up while exporting animation, but if you don’t, this is an easy way to hook up your shape keys to bones.

Full scene importer: A new import option called Import Into Level that imports all static meshes and skeletal meshes (read meshes that don’t move and character rigs) into your project. It opens up a screen with some options where you can choose how materials get imported and so on. You can also reimport an entire scene by rightclicking the Scene FBX asset that is created and choosing reimport. Using this feature you can continue working in your Blender scene if you want and then easily reimport those changes.

These are the features that seemed the most useful if you want to experiment with rendering archviz/animations/whatever using a game engine. UE4 has a royalty system for games where you pay 5% of the gross revenue you make but for anything that isn’t a game/kickstarter for a game it’s 100% free.

In a few hours there will be a livestream where Epic show off some of the rendering features they developed for their McLaren car configurator project. Here’s an image they used for the release notes. I’m guessing this is a screenshot that is cropped from 4k resolution. Gotta love those .jpg compression artifacts! :stuck_out_tongue:

Basically two hours and a half from now if you’re interested in that, at https://www.twitch.tv/unrealengine, or watch sometime else when it’s done at https://www.twitch.tv/unrealengine/profile.


When I see a release like this then I know all the pain am going through to learn this engine is worth it. Unity used to just sit on my computer for years without me opening it but this engine cast a spell on me and it has been some long months of hitting the books and watching tutorial after tutorial.

blueprint to c++ looks really interesting I am still busy learning blueprints but this will open up some interesting avenues for folks like me who are not programmers or are just getting into c++


Questions to Blender+UE users:
a) it’s possible to do Cloth sim without APEX plugin (max, maya only?). What is Blenders answer to this
b) Have they done anything about optimizing build size for mobiles? Last I tried I got 50MB+ on empty projects.
c) Does it still hang on large mesh imports? Anything over 50 000 tris caused endless wait.

Thank You

  1. You can use APEX with Blender meshes too using the ClothingToolPROFILE.exe you get when you download the APEX SDK. It’s kind of bugged though, it works best with one bone, or more than four bones, you have to have a vertex bound to 1/4 bones.

You can also use the Anim Dynamics system in UE4, it’s good for pony tails, flaps and so on. You can search for anim dynamics at https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Support/Builds/ReleaseNotes/2016/4_11/ to find out what that does. Maybe it’s also possible to bake animation from Blender but I haven’t done that myself.

  1. Again I haven’t done this myself but there are techniques for making .APKs smaller here: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Platforms/Android/ReducingAPKSize/index.html
    I know Unreal Match3 is about 65MB. Then again maybe mobile projects don’t have to be super small since devices have a lot more storage space nowadays.

  2. Probably not. I haven’t experienced this myself and the car mesh in image I posted above is a few million tris. They basically exported the CAD data directly to get a perfect replica of the car. :stuck_out_tongue:
    In my experience loading a mesh is really fast unless you’ve got a ton of shape keys. Even then it shouldn’t take too long as long as you’ve got a reasonable tri count from the start.

Looking at the solitary (minor) change to the Blueprint node system, it looks like Unreal 4’s much vaunted visual programming system is becoming “that feature in the corner that no one wants to work on and is slowly being forgotten”.

All of these new enhancements are of little use to artists if they now have to be full-blown C++ programmers with compilers to even get close to everything the engine has to offer, and the engine has already been giving the impression (according to some) of pushing you into the source code if you want to do anything advanced.

People who might feel shafted because of the dearth of attention to that area may end up moving to other engines with languages that either are visually-based (but receiving attention) or engines that are still script-based, but use languages that are much easier to learn and can be written in the engine’s built-in editor (ie. GameMaker, Godot, ect…).

From where did you get that impression? There’s at least one page of blueprint changes and there’s even more if you just search for blueprint and press F3 a bunch of times. And even more in earlier releases. Blueprint has been a robust system for a while now and you don’t need to know C++ at all to use it. The new blueprint to C++ conversion feature negates the biggest disadvantage of blueprints, performance compared with C++ code, and will make blueprint usage even more prevalent.

That feature is still experimental though, it will take at least another release before you want to (safely) ship a game with that. Even now you can use it and just disable the nativize manually for the blueprints that didn’t convert correctly.

Okay, I must’ve glossed over that part on the initial read and saw the ‘other’ Blueprint change further down the page.

If your changelog gets to the point of making your software a candidate for the Guinness World Records (for the fastest developed software in the history of computers). Then you sorely need a way to categorize everything in their own pages like seen with almost every other piece of rapidly developed software.

b) use compress option with batch script !

Cool features for UE4, love it ! Trying to learn it for C++ how to make good game :slight_smile:

Godot and Cryengine 5 there are much to study too as for differently working. But all are good.

Has anyone tried the full scene import with a combination of animated character(s) and static meshes? If it works and transfers everything ok, then using ue4 to render animations would be simplified a lot. If the scene is then reimported, will it keep material changes?

I’m guessing what you’re asking if your UE4 materials are replaced or kept when reimporting. I did a quick test and the UE4 special stuff (material nodes) for the material were kept even when reimported. I used the original name for the material without renaming it or anything. You can just test it yourself though. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yes, there were two questions. Whether it works with an export containing both set and characters with finished animations (from my first test it seems not, it hangs… Must check if my fbx version was right) and whether it keeps materials on reimport (and that it works for you gives gope for the future).

For me importing a scene with animations worked fine. It might depend on scene complexity though. I haven’t tested anything crazy yet.

Did you use any animated skeletal meshes? If so, what export settings were you using? My test hangs even if I create a new empty project.

I tried with a bigger scene, 27MB .fbx with an animated character and a bunch of other stuff in it. It imported fine but it took a couple of minutes. I didn’t use any particular export settings except the standard metric 0.01 scale no leaf bones edge normals.

How big is your file? You can try exporting with a few things at a time with selected only checked and see where it breaks. If it hangs it’s probably a bug. But it can also look like it’s hanged when it’s actually importing. For me it was stuck at a certain % when UE4 was loading the meshes in the background. There’s no visual thing that tells you that that’s what going on which can be a problem. :stuck_out_tongue:

Is it now possible to model interior level in Blender and import it in UE4 than back in Blender to reshape it?
I would like to make something similar to this environment and recreate it in UE4.

I think blender is better for creating assets but you should use UE4 editor to make the level.

You can’t really edit the meshes themselves in UE4 but you can export from Blender and then import the scene in UE4. You can then place the assets however you want in UE4, then export that again to Blender and start over. Or just do everything in Blender with the scene reimport.

Not sure if I am reading this right. But your scale from Blender at default of 1 unit is 1 Meter should be the other way around.

Going from Maya to UE4 should be 1 to 1
Maya to Blender is 1 to .01
Blender to Maya is 1 to 100
Blender to UE4 is 1 to 100

Otherwise your scenes will come in real small in Unreal.

Anyway not sure if I read what you meant right. Just thought I’d toss that out there for what it is worth.

He has it the right way your scale in Blender needs to be set at 0.01 as in 1 blender unit is equal to 0.01 of a meter or 1cm