Thanks to our next-gen virtual production tools and enhanced real-time ray tracing, film and TV production is transformed. Now you can achieve final shots live on set, with LED walls powered by nDisplay that not only place real-world actors and props within UE4 environments, but also light and cast reflections onto them (Beta). We've also added VR scouting tools (Beta), enhanced Live Link real-time data streaming, and the ability to remotely control UE4 from an iPad or other devices (Beta). Ray tracing has received numerous enhancements to improve stability and performance and to support additional material and geometry types—including landscape geometry, instanced static meshes, procedural meshes, and Niagara sprite particles.
Unreal Engine lets you build realistic worlds without bounds. Fracture, shatter and demolish massive-scale scenes at cinematic quality with unprecedented levels of artistic control using the new Chaos physics and destruction system. Paint stunning vistas for users to experience using runtime Virtual Texturing, non-destructive Landscape editing, and interactive Actor placement using the Foliage tool.
We have optimized systems, provided new tools, and added features to help you do more for less. Virtual Texturing reduces texture memory overhead for lightmaps and detailed artist-created textures and improves rendering performance for procedural or layered materials respectively. Animation streaming enables more animations to be used by limiting the runtime memory impact to only those currently in use. Use Unreal Insights to collect, analyze, and visualize data on UE4 behavior for profiling, helping you understand engine performance from either live or pre-recorded sessions.
This release includes 192 improvements submitted by the incredible community of Unreal Engine developers on GitHub!
New: Chaos - Destruction (Beta)
Revealed in a demo at GDC 2019, Chaos is Unreal Engine's new high-performance physics and destruction system available to preview in Beta form with the 4.23 release. With Chaos, users can achieve cinematic-quality visuals in real-time in scenes with massive-scale levels of destruction and unprecedented artist control over content creation.
Chaos functionality in Unreal Engine 4.23 must be enabled and compiled using a source build. See this guide for instructions on enabling Chaos.
For more information on Chaos Destruction, refer to the Chaos Destruction documentation pages. We have also added a Chaos Destruction Demo sample to the Learn Tab in the launcher to demonstrate how to set up various types of simulations and effects.
These are a new type of asset in Unreal for destructible objects. They can be built from one or more Static Meshes, including those gathered together in Blueprints or even nested Blueprints. Geometry Collections let the artist choose what to simulate and they also offer flexibility in terms of how you organize and author your destruction.
Left - One Wall Section - 31 Geometry Collections; Right - Exploded view of Static Mesh parts
Once you have a Geometry Collection, you can break it into pieces using the Fracturing tools. You can fracture each part individually, or apply one pattern across multiple pieces. In addition to standard Voronoi fractures, you can use Radial fractures, Clustered Voronoi fractures, and Planar Cutting using noise to get more natural results.
With optimization in mind, Sub-fracturing allows you to control where to add complexity. Each time you sub-fracture, an extra Level is added to the Geometry Collection. The Chaos system keeps track of each subsequent Level and stores that information into something you can control called a Cluster. Below is an example of a mesh where each fracture Level is combined into its own set of Clusters.
This is a lightweight connectivity map that is a bit of a different paradigm for destruction simulation. In the image below, we have a few statically anchored pieces, but everything else in the scene is potentially dynamic.
Rather than swapping from kinematic to dynamic, the Chaos system applies strain, which in turn breaks connections and Chaos destruction ensues. This is a great way to maximize interactivity, while retaining control over the amount of active rigid bodies.
Fields are the way that you can directly interact with and control simulations. Fields can be used to control any attribute on any part of your Geometry Collection. If you want to vary the mass for instance, or make something static, make the corner more breakable than the middle, apply some force; all of this can be controlled with Fields.
With caching, high fidelity simulations can be pre-cached and played back in real-time resulting in a kinematic Geometry Collection. This means that you can author large scale destruction events and still allow interactivity with the player and environment.
The Chaos system is a first class citizen of UE4, and as such, lives alongside all other systems that simulate your world including Niagara. Incorporating visual effects into your simulations can add a lot of depth and realism to the world. For example, when a building breaks apart it generates a large amount of dust and smoke. To create the marriage between destruction and VFX, data from the physics system can be sent to Niagara when an object collides or breaks apart, and that data can be used to generate interesting secondary effects.
Performance and Stability
A large focus this release has been on improving stability, performance, and quality of Ray Tracing features in Unreal Engine. This means:
- Expanded DirectX 12 Support for Unreal Engine as a whole
- Improved Denoiser quality for Ray Traced Features
- Increased Ray Traced Global Illumination (RTGI) quality
There are many new improvements to Unreal. Far too many to list here. For a complete list (with videos) please follow this link the original press release: https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/unreal-engine-4-23-released?sessionInvalidated=true