Unreal Engine is a popular and widely used game engine developed by Epic Games. It is a powerful and versatile game engine that is used to create some of today’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful video games. It offers advanced graphics capabilities and a wide range of tools that game developers can leverage to bring their creative visions to life in the gaming industry. Games developed using Unreal Engine 5 have the potential to be both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, due to the engine’s capabilities and features.
Many popular AAA (high-budget and high-quality) video games have utilized Unreal Engine in recent years, with notable examples including Fortnite, Rocket League, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Why Develop Games in Unreal Engine?
With Unreal Engine, you can develop projects for a variety of platforms, including PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android. The video game industry widely embraces Unreal Engine for its adaptability.
You have the flexibility to create games without writing any code using the Blueprint Visual Scripting system, while experienced programmers often prefer using C++. Unreal Engine supports both systems seamlessly.
Unreal Engine’s robust feature set for crafting detailed environments and realistic special effects is a boon for artists. Although these functions may appear daunting at first, you can quickly grasp the engine’s capabilities by experimenting with its settings.
Unreal Engine boasts a thriving online user community, where developers support each other. Joining these groups can be invaluable for getting your questions answered. Extensive online documentation is available on the official Unreal Engine website, and the comprehensive FAQ section addresses many common issues encountered during game development.
One of the most compelling aspects is that you can access all these resources without any upfront costs. The most significant advantage of Unreal Engine is its cost-free access. It’s available for everyone, from hobbyist game designers to major AAA game studios. Instead, Unreal Engine’s revenue model involves a modest 5% royalty fee once your game starts making money.
Unreal Engine simplifies the creation of content for virtual and augmented reality with its excellent development toolset. As VR technology has improved in recent years, producing content for virtual reality systems like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive has become straightforward.
Unreal Engine employs the industry-standard PBR (Physically Based Rendering) workflow for materials and rendering, enabling the creation of real-time, photorealistic scenes. The inclusion of ray tracing technology ensures the highest level of realism.
How to Make a Game in Unreal Engine 5?
It’s worth noting that Unity, in comparison to Unreal Engine, is sometimes considered to be less mature. Developers often use C++ for development in Unreal, which, while less user-friendly than C# in Unity, offers the potential for better performance. However, Unreal also provides Blueprints and plugins as tools to streamline and accelerate game and animation development, especially for users with limited programming experience.
To embark on the journey of learning how to create a game with Unreal Engine 5, it’s essential to master these features. Let’s delve into what steps you should take first on this exciting journey.
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Unreal Engine 5 Development Kit Installation
Setting up the Unreal Engine 5 SDK involves the following steps.
Epic Games, the company behind the engine, provides a comprehensive development kit, commonly referred to as the engine itself, to facilitate game creation. To become proficient with this toolkit, you should download it for offline use and gain hands-on experience.
This suite of programs greatly simplifies and expedites game development by enabling you to visually create maps, manage assets, and implement game mechanics.
You can download the developer kit for free. To install and use Epic Games, you need to download the Epic Games Launcher and create an Epic Games account.
Furthermore, you’ll need some available storage space. The kit not only includes the necessary software for game development but also offers a vast library of assets that you can use freely if you don’t already possess them. It serves as an excellent resource for learning the fundamentals of game design and coding.
Before installing the development kit, ensure that your computer meets the required software and hardware specifications. While it’s possible to use it with less powerful hardware, the quality of your game experience may be compromised.
How to Install Unreal Engine
Before you set up Unreal Engine, it’s essential to review the specific hardware and software requirements.
Unreal Engine requires and recommends the following:
- Operating System: Windows 10 (64-bit)
- Processor: A quad-core Intel or AMD processor at 2.5 GHz or higher
- RAM: 8 GB
- Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 compatible
- Visual Studio 2015 is no longer supported; you need either Visual Studio 2017 version 15.6 or higher, or Visual Studio 2019.
- For iOS platform development, iTunes 12 or later is required.
- Unreal Engine automatically installs several DirectX plugins and Visual C++ libraries through the Epic Games Launcher when you install Unreal Engine.
To initiate the setup process, use the Epic Games Launcher, which allows you to download and install Unreal Engine, along with numerous other games, assets, and tools.
Here are the steps to set up the Epic Games Launcher:
- Visit the Main Download Page for Unreal Engine.
- Choose one of the available licenses:
- Game developers and publishers (for creating games)
- Unreal Engine for non-game purposes (for applications beyond gaming, such as media production, building design, and technical work).
- Click the “Download Now” button.
- Select your preferred license type.
- Once the download is complete, you can start using the launcher.
- During the download process, you may encounter security alerts and requests for administrator approval, which can vary depending on your operating system. Grant the necessary permissions for a smooth installation. Unreal Engine will also set up related software like DirectX as part of the process.
Learn How To Use Unreal Engine 5 Development Kit
After installing the development kit, the first thing you need to do is learn how to use it. When you launch it, you may notice that the interface can initially appear crowded, which might make it challenging to navigate if you’re not already familiar with it.
Finding tutorials and courses that cover the basics and set you on the right track is of great importance. Once you become accustomed to the interface, you’ll find it much easier to locate the information you need on the internet.
Fortunately, Epic Games has created and regularly updates many excellent courses that are readily available. For example, the engine offers a fundamental tutorial that serves as an excellent introduction to get started with it. Upon completing this course, you’ll gain access to additional engine primers.
Moreover, the internet offers a multitude of alternative learning resources. Platforms like YouTube and Udemy offer numerous free and paid courses, including the Unreal Engine basic tutorial.
While written guides for the development kit are widely available online, many users prefer video tutorials due to the visual nature of the tool.
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Get Into The Marketplace
If you’re creating a game with Unreal Engine, you should explore the Unreal Engine Marketplace, which is a valuable resource for obtaining everything you need and also serves as a great learning tool for the engine.
The marketplace provides a wide range of assets, plugins, and blueprints that streamline your work by offering pre-built, common game features and mechanics. Available plugins include those designed to simplify the development of pixel games, rhythm games, and more.
While the vast majority of content is available for purchase, there are also numerous free resources to help you kickstart your game development journey. These resources can complement the extensive library of assets included with the engine.
Access to ready-made assets significantly eases the development process. Attempting to code everything from scratch and testing it later when the assets are ready can be impractical, and simultaneously developing assets while programming can be challenging and disrupt your workflow.
This feature of Unreal Engine allows you to free up time for game design and more efficient development.
Challenges Faced by Developers When Using Unreal Engine
The process of creating games with Unreal Engine is exciting and rewarding, but not without its difficulties. Challenges arise in the use of Unreal Engine’s core game development tools. Understanding the functionalities and the engine’s system, optimizing performance by eliminating unnecessary computations, grappling with the complexity of the blueprint visual scripting system, and managing asset creation are some of the challenges game developers encounter when making games. Regardless of the complexity of a development project, Unreal Engine equips developers with the necessary tools to overcome obstacles and produce high-quality, immersive games.