Unreal Week 1: Getting Familiar with Unreal Engine

Weekly Goal:

Go through the interface. Understand the set up of a level & VR. Build a program for HTC vive. Make the player interact with the scene with the controller.

 

Final Result Explanation:

This is a seated experience. The player sits on the chair and there’s an alien cube in front of him. By touching it with the controller, the lights outside will be turned on.
The two images below shows the scene before and after the light turns on.

Parts Breakdown:

Vive Setup:

It is very easy to set up the Vive. Keep SteamVR on and you can access the headset & controllers. No need for special settings; however, you do need to write your own blueprint to use it.

I created on according to the official tutorial. I also imported the Vive controller model. One problem I encountered was that, I scaled the controller model since it’s not the right size inside Unreal, and the controller is not moving correctly.

The fix is to scale the model to the right size outside. Then import with scale 1.

There’s more Vive-related control that I haven’t explored.

 

Material Network:

The material network is similar to Maya’s. Compare to Unity, it is more powerful and also more complicated. It brings a lot of artistic freedom (During my study, I found that Unity is also adding something similar in its newest beta version.)

If you installed the substance plugin you can directly import the .sbsar file into Unreal and it will be extracted to texture files. Remember to set the textures to the right color space ( and flip normal green channel).

One thing I really like about Unreal is its master & instance material hierarchy. When creating a master material, you can set parameters and when you instance them, the instance material can only do modification to these parameters. It’s a great way to manage repeated shaders. When the master changes, all the instances will change too.

I created different kinds of materials this week:

Glass – translucent

Plants & Leaves – masked, translucent & two sided

Lamp – emissive

Landscape – using special nodes to blend two texture together ( need further study)

 

Simple Blueprint:

Blueprint is another powerful tool in Unreal. Without writing any code you can create interactions in the game:

This is a simple implementation of touching the cube and triggering the lights to toggle visibility.

 

Creating Landscape:

I made a simple landscape with Unreal’s build in tool. It’s similar to Unity’s except for the material part. You need to set the textures in the landscape’s material to paint it.

 

Lighting Overview:

I went over different lighting type and its parameters. I also did some research about Unreal’s advantage over Unity about lighting:

What Unreal is better at:

  • linear colorspace
  • signed distance shadow
  • PBR
  • post process

Unreal is very good for creating realism environment. Unity is easier to use, and to learn Unreal you need to learn its workflow.

 

Credits:
Models:

forest by RubenBuchholz644c9d600cf24bcb on sketchfab – https://sketchfab.com/models/b1aec792d03a4d11a91cc4c0d7c8fb7e

room by Anex on sketchfab – https://sketchfab.com/models/6417cbc1870a4a1691cca06912ae0369

Textures & Materials:

textures.com

substance share forum

quixel megascan

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