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

At the Game Developers Conference, Epic Games detailed the scalability and ease-of-use tools in its upcoming Unreal Engine 4.

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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.

Editor-In-Chief

From The Chatty

  • reply
    March 29, 2013 4:15 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Unreal Engine 4 to support HTML 5, will be 'end of drivers'.

    At the Game Developers Conference, Epic Games detailed the scalability and ease-of-use tools in its upcoming Unreal Engine 4.

    • reply
      March 29, 2013 4:22 PM

      Wake me up when it supports Anti-aliasing at least.

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      March 29, 2013 5:39 PM

      1. Don't care for browser based crap of any kind when it comes to gaming, actually I hate it, I passed on BF3 because of it..oh and Origin.
      2. Don't really care for C++. I know it's standard but I feel other implementations are ignored way too much in the gaming industry.
      3. I haven't read anything to say otherwise, but the engine needs to be DirectX 11.1 in order to have superior AA implementation (vastly improved over 11.0)

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        March 29, 2013 5:53 PM

        So, you passed on Origin because it's... browser based? Am i reading that right? I may have some shocking news for you.

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          March 29, 2013 5:56 PM

          No you aren't reading right. I said AND origin. The word "and" in that sentence means two distinct reasons.

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            March 29, 2013 6:03 PM

            To be fair you worded it in a way that could be interpreted as passing on both on BF3 and Origin, as opposed to passing on BF3 because of Origin.

      • reply
        March 29, 2013 6:01 PM

        Battlelog is pretty damn awesome.

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          March 29, 2013 8:08 PM

          Yep. It's improved over its release too.

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          March 29, 2013 9:09 PM

          Battlelog is a thing I thought I would hate, but its an experience improved in every way from an ingame server browser.

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        March 29, 2013 6:04 PM

        I really liked the browser setup for battlefield 3.

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          March 29, 2013 6:32 PM

          I really freaking hated it. I swear i had to freaking install a plugin update every time i launched it. I use opera.

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        March 29, 2013 6:06 PM

        I'd love for you to tell me what language you think game engines should be written in. This should be marvelous.

      • reply
        March 29, 2013 7:21 PM

        I love front news posts. on April 1st they should make a bunch of them just designed to funnel people in here so we can see what the non-hive thinks.

      • reply
        March 29, 2013 8:24 PM

        Troll likes to trollolol

      • reply
        March 29, 2013 8:26 PM

        C++ is standard for a reason... I personally love using the language (one of my favorite languages to program in)

      • reply
        March 29, 2013 9:48 PM

        Holy shit, look at his search history. Dude is hardcore into FSAA. And truly is a FPer.

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        March 30, 2013 3:53 AM

        Don't really care for C++. I know it's standard but I feel other implementations are ignored way too much in the gaming industry.


        - HAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA

      • reply
        March 30, 2013 6:40 AM

        lol

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        March 30, 2013 12:40 PM

        You all misunderstood what the man said. He's not saying you can have a browser in the game, he's saying the engine will run in browsers, like Flash runs in browsers. "Now you can have world-class graphics in any web browser--for games, tools, whatever."

        BF3 sucked because:
        1) Origin
        2) It used web stuff inside the game to do interface things
        3) It did so badly

        I should it would be awesome if UE4 could fully (or close) run in a browser. That would mean you could go to a web page, hit full screen and play a proper game without the need to download and install anything. The game would be exactly like it is running natively, so if the game is good, it's good here, and if it sucks, this won't help it or hurt it. It just makes adds possibilities to developers.

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      March 29, 2013 6:26 PM

      I can't believe a guy like Tim Sweeney said something like this. What's doing the geometry setup and texturing? A 3D chipset. What does it need? A driver. UE4 HTML5 is changing the path to get to the driver to render 3D and draw frames; it isn't doing that work for the chipset.

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      March 29, 2013 6:48 PM

      "Epic promised "extensive" use of DirectX 11 as well, with adaptive lighting, full-scene HDR reflections, and a material layering system create more detail."

      Good luck with that using WebGL. Mozilla should be commended for what they have been able to eke out of a strict subset of javascript, but this whole initiative seems like a fools errand. You incur a 2-3x speed penalty compared to native code by running as a "compiled" javascript program and restrict yourself to roughly OpenGL ES level features. What's the runtime asset management story? How about the "view source" problem (I bet 3rd party library will be thrilled about that...)?

      The upside to this is presumably portability to any platform with a web browser. Except if that platform doesn't have the sort of highly optimized javascript environment necessary to even get this off the ground. If web apps were the great equalizer, we wouldn't be seeing web-centric companies like google and facebook abandoning web-based mobile apps for ones implemented in (platform) native code.

      UE3 or 4 running at anything close to realtime speeds with a competent feature set in a browser is quite the technical achievement, but not much beyond that imo.

      • reply
        March 30, 2013 12:55 AM

        A couple of points:

        The "View Source" problem: It is not meaningfully more readable than disassembling native code.

        The upside of deploying to web browsers without any use of plugins: It is the lowest possible barrier to delivering games to users, and you don't have to go through a platform holder (I.e. appstore restrictions, fees, censorship).

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      March 29, 2013 6:54 PM

      So UE4 will support HTML5 (I assume via WebGL) but it won't be ported to the WiiU... Ok then. What exactly does Epic have against Nintendo?

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        March 29, 2013 7:24 PM

        Hardware that can't run UE4?

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        March 29, 2013 8:22 PM

        all of Epic's customers already own 360/PS3's and will likely own one of their successors which will have much more in common with each other (and PCs) than the Nintendo offering (again).

        This was a small experiment which took a few days of work to explore a potentially large new market. Epic knows what they'll get out of being on a Nintendo platform. The Wii U isn't even a Nintendo platform that's doing well.

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        March 30, 2013 12:47 PM

        The number of people with HTML 5 capable devices is much larger than number of people with WiiUs. In fact, the WiiU has had disappointing sales in general.

        Seems like a sound business decision to me to support HTML5 and not the WiiU.

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          March 30, 2013 9:38 PM

          But what's the number of people who can be monetized with their HTML5 capable devices vs the number with WiiU's? The total number of people with HTML5 devices doesn't mean anything, it's the number that are willing to spend money.

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            March 31, 2013 1:12 AM

            Are you trying to imply that the average WiiU user spends more money on average than the average HTML5 user on video games in general? Got anything to back that up?

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      March 30, 2013 12:58 AM

      Cross-compiling C++ to HTML5 and JS not being quirky? This is an early April fool's joke, right?

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      March 30, 2013 3:33 AM

      What the

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      March 30, 2013 4:28 AM

      He's not saying cutting-edge, AAA PC games will run in a browser, he's saying devs can use UE4 to make browser games. They'll not be the same games.

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      March 30, 2013 6:58 AM

      Could be cool to have something besides Flash.

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      March 30, 2013 9:09 AM

      Awesome news. I'm glad it's going to have browser integration.

      That means I get more platforms to scoff at Bulletstorm 2 on, potentially.

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      March 30, 2013 10:50 AM

      Hmmm correct me if i'm wrong but doesn't HTML5 and Canvas have zero hardware acceleration?

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        March 30, 2013 12:50 PM

        Yes, you're wrong. Canvas does use hardware acceleration now, and HTML5/CSS3 will probably start using hardware acceleration soon as well -- currently Chrome uses a software rasterizer to break the page into 256x256 tiles (so when you scroll or whatever, it just moves those 256x256 tiles)... unless it's a canvas, in which case that's all hardware.

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          March 30, 2013 3:51 PM

          Interesting. Last I checked, they were all butthurt about implementing hardware acceleration support. That was years ago. I'm glad they got that resolved.

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        April 1, 2013 7:04 AM

        It depends on the browser and platform. It's up for a browser to use hardware acceleration. For example, the iOS browser uses hardware acceleration for CSS animations and some blending, and Chrome on desktop has some GPU capabilities that gets triggered at different times (invisible to users and developers).

        Regardless, Unreal's support is unrelated to HTML5 composition and even Canvas. They mean WebGL (which is OpenGL ES I think?) and some code execution using C++ compiled to JavaScript via asm.js for game code.