Unreal Engine 4.21 continues our relentless pursuit of greater efficiency, performance, and stability for every project on any platform. We made it easier to work smarter and create faster because we want your imagination to be the only limit when using our tools. And we battle-tested the engine on every platform until it met our developers’ high standards so your project will shine once it is ready for the masses.
We are always looking for ways to streamline everyday tasks so developers can focus on creating meaningful, exciting, and engaging experiences. Our industry-leading Niagara effects toolset is now even more powerful and easier to use, enabling you to dream up the next generation of real-time visual effects. You can build multiplayer experiences on a scale not previously possible using the now production-ready Replication Graph functionality. Iterate faster thanks to optimizations with up to a 60% speed increase when cooking content, run automated tests to find issues using the new Gauntlet automation framework, and speed up your day-to-day workflows with usability improvements to the Animation system, Blueprint Visual Scripting, Sequencer, and more.
We strive to make it possible for your creations to be enjoyed as you intended by everyone, everywhere regardless of the form factor they choose. Building on the previous release, we have added even more optimizations developed for Fortnite on Android and iOS to further improve the process for developing for mobile devices. Available in Early Access, Pixel Streaming opens a whole new avenue to deploy apps in a web browser with no barrier to entry and no compromise on rendering quality. We have also improved support for Linux as well as augmented, virtual, and mixed reality devices.
Niagara Platform Support and Usability Improvements
In our continuing effort to provide industry-leading effects tools, Niagara has received an expanded feature set, substantial quality of life improvements, and Niagara effects are now supported on Nintendo Switch!
The Replication Graph Plugin makes it possible to customize network replication in order to build large-scale multiplayer games that would not be viable with traditional replication strategies. For example, Epic’s own Fortnite Battle Royale starts each match with 100 players and roughly 50,000 replicated actors. If each replicated actor were to determine whether or not it should update across each client connection, the impact on the server’s CPU performance would be prohibitive.
The Replication Graph Plugin solves this problem by offering an alternate strategy geared specifically for high-volume multiplayer games. This works by assigning actors to Replication Nodes, which store precalculated information that clients can use to retrieve lists of actors that need to be updated, saving the CPU of recalculating the same data for many clients on every frame. In addition to the standard nodes that ship with the Engine, developers can write their own nodes to fit the specific needs of actors within their games.
Optimizations for Shipping on Mobile Platforms
The mobile development process gets even better thanks to all of the mobile optimizations that were developed for Fortnite’s initial release on Android, in addition to all of the iOS improvements from our ongoing updates!
The cooking process has been optimized resulting in up to 60% reductions in cook times! Low-level code now avoids performing unnecessary file system operations, and cooker timers have been streamlined. Handling of unsolicited Assets (with regard to Asset dependencies) has also been refactored to scale better. These changes are most pronounced on larger projects (projects with more than 100,000 Assets).
Pixel Streaming (Early Access)
Run a packaged Unreal Engine application on a desktop PC in the cloud, and stream the viewport directly to any modern web browser on any platform! Get the highest-quality rendering in lightweight apps, even on mobile devices, with zero download, zero install.
Animation System Optimizations and Improvements
The Animation System continues to build on its best-in-class features thanks to new workflow improvements, better surfacing of information, new tools, and more!
Animation Compression Updates
Animation Compression times are significantly reduced by using a whitelist of optimal codecs to avoid trying permutations that are unlikely to be selected which greatly reduces the number of codecs we attempt to compress with. On multicore systems, most of the codecs now evaluate in parallel during automatic compression, further reducing the time it takes to compress an animation sequence.
The following updates were made to the Animation Compression Stat Dialog window:
- Fixed bugs that would cause dialog to show incorrect results
- Added compression time stat
- Added number of compressed animations
- Added tracking for animation with largest average error
- Added tracking of worst 10 items instead of just worse
- Better labeling on dialog
- Pass through FBoneData array more instead of recalculating
Submix Envelope Follower
Users of the new Unreal Audio Engine can now set an Envelope Follower Delegate on their Submixes allowing amplitude analysis of individual channels for that submix. This will help users power visualizations and Blueprint Events based on the amplitude characteristics of their Submixed audio.
Sound Submix Effect Reverb Dry Level
The Submix Effect Reverb in the new Unreal Audio Engine now supports Parallel Wet and Dry Levels allowing users to dial in specific Wet/Dry ratios making the Effect usable as an Insert-Style Effect as well as a Send-Style Effect.
Linux Defaults to Vulkan Renderer
Linux now uses Vulkan as the default renderer when available. In the event the API cannot be initialized, the Engine will fall back OpenGL without notification.
From the Project Settings, you can use the Target RHIs to add or disable a particular RHI or use command line switches -vulkan and -opengl4 to disable the fallback.
Linux Media Player
You can now use the bundled WebMMedia plugin to play back .webm VPX8/9 videos on Linux platforms.
Linux Crash Report Client GUI
We’ve added support for the Crash Reporter GUI on Linux so you can help us continue to improve support for Linux platforms. Please submit reports when they occur, even repeated ones! It helps our engineers assess the frequency and learn what circumstances cause the crash to happen.
Professional Video I/O Improvements (Early Access)
We continue to make it easier to get video feeds into and out of the Unreal Editor over professional quality SDI video cards. You can now work with the same Unreal Engine Project across multiple computers with different hardware setups, without changing any configuration settings in the Project.
Create a MediaProfile on each machine, and set it up to handle the video card and formats that you need to use on that computer. You can also override the Project’s timecode and genlock sources from the same panel.
And many more check out the full article at unrealengine.com