Unreal Engine 4 to support HTML 5, will be 'end of drivers'

At its Game Developers Conference presentation, Epic Games announced details about the scalability and ease-of-use tools of its upcoming Unreal Engine 4. The company went into great detail about the engine's capabilities, and showed off a new trailer to illustrate its strengths.

For one, the engine will be scalable to mobile and web development, including HTML5, a marked change from UE3. "It marks the end of drivers, installation, all the other weird quirks of legacy game development," Epic's Tim Sweeney told Gamasutra. "Now you can have world-class graphics in any web browser--for games, tools, whatever. And it's not done through any quirky language like Javascript, either. We're doing pure C++ code, the same code we run on all other platforms, and it's just being cross-compiled into HTML5 and Javascript for the web environment."

Sweeney also noted that the ability to create a game that runs in-browser could be an "area of future tension," as standards-compliant browsers will take away the need for walled storefronts.

The tool it is aiming to be easier to use in general, including a Blueprint visual scripting and dynamic previews. The C++ Unreal Slate interface is now said to be "fully customizable" as an Unreal Editor too. The company also showed off a demo put together by an artist using a scripter, without technical input by a team. The new "Persona" system lets animators adjust and create previews during setup, and it includes a new AI and navigation system. Epic promised "extensive" use of DirectX 11 as well, with adaptive lighting, full-scene HDR reflections, and a material layering system create more detail.

Watch Epic's latest tech demo to see what all of that means.