Since its release in February 2014, I have been an early adopter of Epic Games' newest engine technology. Unreal Engine 4 is already a versatile toolbox of unprecidented power and possibility, and the demonstration level (which I will post for download soon) is a very small glimpse of that power in action. Just for kicks I decided to create a demonstration showing off how easy it is to create game content in UE4.

Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4

Unreal Engine 4 - The Future is Now!
Unreal Engine 4 - The Future is Now!

This example map was built in less than a week, and contains elements and assets from every feature of the new engine. The screenshots of the level you see below are all in editor, built using a combination of static mesh assets included with the UE4 development kit and a collection of custom materials and blueprints. It also features a number of custom built props and elements cobbled together using the basic shapes also included in the kit. In this demonstration level, the player can roam around the fictional develeopment house "Bayside Studios", shoot physics objects with a weapon attached to the player camera, interact with various automated systems in offices. Players can also access a custom-made UI by pressing the Escape key, allowing them to pause, resume, or exit the game.

Unreal Engine 4 "Bayside Studios" Example Map

Unreal Engine 4 Example Map - Bayside Studios
Unreal Engine 4 Example Map - Bayside Studios

The biggest advance in Unreal's 4th official iteration is it's Blueprints. Blueprints are the system through which UE4 automates and communicates with everything in UE4 - they can be used as simple object prefabs for asset propagation, or system components integral to the core of gameplay. They have the flexibility to virtually ANYTHING, and with an intuitive context-sensitive visual scripting environment it can make even the most daunting tasks easy to figure out and accomplish. The Blueprint editor also allows you to build complex objects using multiple actors all attached to a root and capable of animating multiple timelines and matinees at once. There is total freedom to create extremely reactive and complicated game objects with a level of depth that is unprecedented.

The Materials editor has been improved as well, and benefits from being heavily integrated within the Blueprint system of nodes and workflow. Due to the context-sensitive nature of how nodes in Blueprints can guide the user through placing nodes designed to work together, it's easier than ever to create surfaces and effects. You can see a few of these editor environments amongst the screenshots below.

I'm continuing to work with UE4, experimenting with blueprints and new game concepts previously impossible with UE3's Kismet. You can be sure I will periodically update this page with the latest iterations of my demo and new engine features as they come online. I cannot stress how much I *love* using this tool... I don't think I can ever go back to UE3 again. A tip of my hat to the great folks at Epic for what is already an amazing piece of tech that has only just begun to shine.