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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 Announced and Teased, More Details Throughout 2020

GSC Game World announced the second chapter and latest entry to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2. The survival horror FPS made its debut in 2007 at a time when PC graphics were taking a technological leap. The Kiev-based game studio since dished out the "Clear Sky" prequel and "Call of Pripyat" sequel last decade, but has since been a recluse to the AAA gaming scene. The development of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 appears to be already underway. The game will leverage Unreal Engine, and there's a fairly high possibility of it being Epic Games Store exclusive given its sweet revenue-sharing model that directs 88% of the sales to the game publisher.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 developers (or at least a Twitter handle claiming to represent them), posted two key tweets. One shows a teaser screenshot of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 in development; and another with a message from the developers to fans of the game franchise. "The second chapter of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. saga will be our most ambitious game so far. It will live to the legendary legacy," the statement reads. The developers didn't, however, state any timelines. "Consider it (the teaser screenshot and announcement) our humble present, with more to come in 2020," the statement concludes.
STALKER 2 STALKER 2

AMD Publishes FEMFX Deformable Physics Library on GPUOpen

FEMFX is a multithreaded CPU library for deformable material physics, using the Finite Element Method (FEM). Solid objects are represented as a mesh of tetrahedral elements, and each element has material parameters that control stiffness, how volume changes with deformation, and stress limits where fracture or plastic (permanent) deformation occur. The model supports a wide range of materials and interactions between materials. We intend for these features to complement rather than replace traditional rigid body physics. The system is designed with the following considerations:

Epic Games Supports Blender Foundation with $1.2 million Epic MegaGrant

Epic Games, as part of the company's $100 million Epic MegaGrants program, is awarding the Blender Foundation $1.2 million in cash to further the success of Blender, the free and open source 3D creation suite that supports the full range of tools empowering artists to create 3D graphics, animation, special effects or games.

The Epic MegaGrants initiative is designed to assist game developers, enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, educators, and tool developers doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

Teslasuit, the Full Body Haptic Feedback VR Suit, Wins the Red Dot Design Award

If you've heard of Teslasuit, you've likely felt some sort of interest towards it. As well you should: the ideal of a full body suit with haptic feedback for VR experiences is enough for some of us - at least those with the hero, "I'll never get hit by any bullet" complex. Add to the full body haptic feedback capabilities such as full body motion tracking embedded into the suit, as well as localized temperature controls for transmitting heat and cold sensations, and... There's also biometric feedback built in for usage patterns and engagement ratio, to aid developers in their data collecting. Well, can I hear Ready Player One, anyone?

The company behind the Tesla suit have just announced that their product won the Red Dot: Best of the Best, the top distinction in the competition. It is granted for groundbreaking design and goes to the best products in a category. The Teslasuit is now available for distribution as a development kit, and features dedicated software, documentation, API integration with Unreal Engine, Unity, and Motion Builder.

NVIDIA to Enable DXR Ray Tracing on GTX (10- and 16-series) GPUs in April Drivers Update

NVIDIA had their customary GTC keynote ending mere minutes ago, and it was one of the longer keynotes clocking in at nearly three hours in length. There were some fascinating demos and features shown off, especially in the realm of robotics and machine learning, as well as new hardware as it pertains to AI and cars with the all-new Jetson Nano. It would be fair to say, however, that the vast majority of the keynote was targeting developers and researchers, as usually is the case at GTC. However, something came up in between which caught us by surprise, and no doubt is a pleasant update to most of us here on TechPowerUp.

Following AMD's claims on software-based real-time ray tracing in games, and Crytek's Neon Noir real-time ray tracing demo for both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs, it makes sense in hindsight that NVIDIA would allow rudimentary DXR ray tracing support to older hardware that do not support RT cores. In particular, an upcoming drivers update next month will allow DXR support for 10-series Pascal-microarchitecture graphics cards (GTX 1060 6 GB and higher), as well as the newly announced GTX 16-series Turing-microarchitecture GPUs (GTX 1660, GTX 1660 Ti). The announcement comes with a caveat letting people know to not expect RTX support (think lower number of ray traces, and possibly no secondary/tertiary effects), and this DXR mode will only be supported in Unity and Unreal game engines for now. More to come, with details past the break.

Epic Games Store to Launch Soon, Developers to Receive 88% of Revenue

With more and more companies creating their very own digital storefronts in the PC gaming space, it was only a matter of time until Epic Games threw their hat into the ring. With an announcement posted today, by Tim Sweeney the Epic Games store is now officially a reality. The new digital storefront will be made available for PC and Mac to start with, while other platforms will be added throughout 2019. In regards to games available on the platform, Epic will offer Fortnite alongside a set of hand-curated titles at launch. What those games might be is currently unknown.

Delivering a shot across the bow at Steam and their 30% revenue cut, Epic's game store will instead only take 12%, resulting in developers earning 88% of sales revenue. If they are using Unreal Engine the 5% engine royalty will be waived by Epic and instead is factored into their original 12% take. Putting that into perspective, an Unreal Engine based game released on Steam currently gives developers only 65% of the revenue with Steam earning 30% and Epic 5% due to engine royalties. Going from 65% to 88% is a significant increase in earnings, and it doesn't matter what game engine a developer uses, the revenue split will remain the same. This should leave developers quite happy since they are not limited by game engine choice and Epic benefits from a vastly increased selection of titles they can offer in their digital store.

HaptX Announces Development Kit Release for Its Haptic Feedback VR Gloves

HaptX today announced that they're opening availability of development kits for their HaptX haptic feedback VR Gloves. The development kits include a pair of HaptX gloves - each featuring 130 tactile actuators that provide realistic touch across the hand and fingertips, with full tactile displacement of objects, size, and weight feedback. Built with HaptX's patented microfluidic technology, HaptX Gloves also deliver powerful force feedback and industry-leading motion tracking with sub-millimeter precision.

The HaptX gloves and accompanying software are already supported in unity and Unreal Engine 4 - two of the most widespread games development engines - which should allow for increased chances of market integration towards VR experiences. Bringing the physical to the visual is the motto here, and there's a world of potential to be achieved.

PUBG Corp Ceases Copyright Lawsuit Against Epic Games Over Fortnite Battle Royale

Earlier in January of this year, PUBG Corp threw a lawsuit at Epic Games, looking to assert its rights to the "Battle Royale" mode that game was mimicking from the original Player Unknown's Battlegrounds. It now seems that PUBG Corp has decided to throw in the towel over its pursuit of Epic Games' Fortnite as a "straight copy" of its battle royale mode - a move that came only after Fortnite had eclipsed PUBG Corp's game in concurrent players and revenue generation.

Perhaps at least part of this issue was dealt with by Chinese giant Tencent, which owns part of Bluehole Inc (PUBG Corp's parent company) and part of Epic Games - it hurts investors when two of their pots are throwing dirt at each other. Another part of the equation - and the most likely, considering the amount of time the lawsuit survived in court - pertains to how PUBG makes use of EPIC Games' Unreal Engine. I'd say it's at least slightly important to keep a good relationship with such a company.

EPIC Games Shows off Homonymous Raytracing Proof of Concept Videos

EPIC delivered their "The State of Unreal" presentation at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week (which had a great deal much time devoted to raytracing technologies). EPIC Games has been at the forefront of graphics development for some years now. Their engines (alongside a few other key players in the industry) routinely push the boundaries of graphical fidelity. And naturally, something would be amiss if they weren't jumping on the raytracing bandwagon as well with some of the most impressive proof of concept videos I've ever seen in real-time generated graphics. The company took their time, then, to unveil their artistic interpretations of real-time ray tracing, motion capture and real-time facial animation mapping. Cue many videos, after the break.

Microsoft Releases DirectX Raytracing - NVIDIA Volta-based RTX Adds Real-Time Capability

Microsoft today announced an extension to its DirectX 12 API with DirectX Raytracing, which provides components designed to make real-time ray-tracing easier to implement, and uses Compute Shaders under the hood, for wide graphics card compatibility. NVIDIA feels that their "Volta" graphics architecture, has enough computational power on tap, to make real-time ray-tracing available to the masses. The company has hence collaborated with Microsoft to develop the NVIDIA RTX technology, as an interoperative part of the DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API, along with a few turnkey effects, which will be made available through the company's next-generation GameWorks SDK program, under GameWorks Ray Tracing, as a ray-tracing denoiser module for the API.

Real-time ray-tracing has for long been regarded as a silver-bullet to get lifelike lighting, reflections, and shadows right. Ray-tracing is already big in the real-estate industry, for showcasing photorealistic interactive renderings of property under development, but has stayed away from gaming, that tends to be more intense, with larger scenes, more objects, and rapid camera movements. Movies with big production budgets use pre-rendered ray-tracing farms to render each frame. Movies have, hence, used ray-traced visual-effects for years now, since it's not interactive content, and its studios are willing to spend vast amounts of time and money to painstakingly render each frame using hundreds of rays per pixel.

HP Announces New Z4 Workstation, VR Products, and Services

At SOLIDWORKS World, HP today announced it will power its bestselling performance workstation, the HP Z4, with a choice of Intel Xeon or Core X processors and support dual extreme graphics. HP's latest technology was showcased at SOLIDWORKS World, where it also unveiled its low-cost, full-color 3D printers -- highlighting the company's comprehensive end-to-end solutions for product developers.

"The revamped Z4 workstation, along with our latest HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset and new customer-friendly VR solutions and services, will transform the way products across industries are developed," said Xavier Garcia, vice president and general manager, Z Workstations, HP Inc. "Over the past year, HP has launched the world's most powerful workstation, the most powerful detachable PC and the first-ever professional VR backpack. Today's news reflects our focus on continuously raising the bar with a portfolio of workstations and VR capabilities that will enable amazing new experiences and define the future of computing."

EPIC games Acquires Cloudgine, Welcomes It to Its Fold

EPIC Games has made an investment that was both likely and unlikely: the acquisition of Cloudgine, a software company based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that specializes in real-time cloud computing technologies. The company's name has appeared associated with Microsoft's now almost infamous Crackdown 3 project for the Xbox One console, which has been met with delays after delays. The sum for the acquisition hasn't been announced, though EPIC was forthcoming with the intention: they aim to integrate Cloudgine's software and cloud computing solutions on their Unreal engine. The full EPIC press release follows.

AMD Radeon Pro Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 Drivers Detailed

AMD today unveiled its big annual driver releases for its consumer-graphics Radeon line, and the professional-graphics Radeon Pro and FirePro lines. The BAR (big annual release) for the latter is titled AMD Radeon Pro Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 WHQL, and introduces a slew of new features that add value to the company's FirePro and Radeon Pro graphics cards. Since its 2016 BAR (Radeon Pro Crimson ReLive), the company's regular driver updates for enterprises achieved a predictable cadence of the 2nd Wednesday of the 2nd month of each quarter, capped off with a big annual release in December, besides prioritized 24x7 support. This, AMD claims, has been well received by its customers.

With the Radeon Pro Adrenalin Edition, AMD is expanding its software in four key directions - Pro Render, Pro Settings, New Driver Options, and Virtualization. It also chronicles driver releases over 2017 have gradually increased performance levels by up to 16 percent compared to last year's big annual release. AMD expanded the feature-set of ProRender, its in-house and highly modular 3D rendering engine for CAD designers and 3D artists, including its support for Maxon Cinema 4D; interactive viewport de-noising for Blender; a new Game Engine Importer extension that can import geometry and materials in real-time from SolidWorks to Unreal Engine; accelerating VR ports of popular games and professional 3D scenes; and a set of additional features such as PBR Shader for Blender. The drivers also add macOS support for Maya and Blender, which will be implemented "soon," along with support for 2018 releases of 3DSMax and Maya.

NVIDIA Announces Public Ansel SDK, Developer Plugins

NVIDIA, Ansel, a framework for doing real-time screenshot filters and photographic effects, has seen the release of a public SDK and a few developer plugins to boot. Unreal Engine and Unity have both gained plugins for the technology, and the tech is reportedly coming to Amazon's Lumberyard engine as well. This should most assuredly aid in the adoption of the technology, as well as open it up to new markets where it was previous unavailable, such as indie game development. The public SDK is presently available for download from NVIDIA directly at developer.nvidia.com/ansel

AMD Reveals Three Entries on the WX Series Lineup: WX4100, WX5100 and WX7100

At its WX call, AMD focused on shifts in creativity from traditional design flows such as Solidworks, Adobe and Autodesk towards game engines as solutions for design visualization (Unreal Engine, Unity, CryEngine, or Autodesk's own Stingray platform), which signal changes in the creator ecosystem. Thanks to globalization, the Internet, and the available wealth of knowledge one can access through it, the line between amateurs and professionals is becoming more and more blurred. Now, those who would once be called amateurs are also using professional tools, and AMD plans to be at the forefront of technologies empowering creators to deliver their vision.

Radeon PRO serves to give creators more flexible and powerful solutions, leveraging open-source resources and centering the ecosystem back on creators and the tools they choose to use, with focused support on VR. As such, AMD is giving them the tools they need, by introducing three new products featuring the Polaris architecture, including 3 year standard + 7 year free extended warranty (including components such as the PCB itself, the PCI-Express slot, and the heatsinks), with AMD taking that extra 7 years as company commitment towards the quality of their products. Those three products are the WX4100, the WX5100, and the WX7100, and have planned, staggered availability throughout November.

Epic Games Forums Hacked; Over 800,000 Passwords Stolen

The official discussion board for Epic Games, frequented by developers and gamers of Unreal Engine, "Unreal Tournament," and soon "Paragon," was hacked, exposing dates of birth, IP addresses, registration dates, registration e-mail addresses, and allegedly passwords, of over 800,000 users, reports The Hacker News. The hackers reportedly got their hands on the data by exploiting a vulnerability in the outdated version of vBulletin that Epic Games uses.

Epic Games, however, denies that the hackers got their hands on passwords. "We believe a recent Unreal Engine and Unreal Tournament forum compromise revealed email addresses and other data entered into the forums, but no passwords in any form, neither salted, hashed, nor plaintext," the company stated. ZDNet reports that a larger portion of the vBulletin database, which includes user posts and private-messages, could also have been stolen.

EVGA Bundles Bombshell with Select GeForce GTX Graphics Cards

From the creators of Rise of the Triad and legendary game maker 3D Realms comes Bombshell, an action role-playing game, now included FREE with EVGA GeForce GTX TITAN X, 980 Ti, 980, 970, 960, and 950 graphics cards for a limited time.

Bomb disposal technician turned mercenary for hire, Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison must strong-arm her way across 4 planets in an Unreal Engine-powered galactic adventure to rescue the president from an apocalyptic alien threat. With out-of-this-world enemies, a never-before-seen arsenal of devastating weaponry and a host of genre-crossing mechanics, Bombshell is set to blow you away.

NVIDIA Launches First WHQL-signed Windows 10 GeForce Driver

NVIDIA announced the first WHQL-signed driver for Windows 10. GeForce 352.84 WHQL offers full compliance to WDDM 2.0 specification, and offers support for DirectX 12 (feature level 12_0) on supported GPUs (all chips based on the "Kepler" and "Maxwell" architectures). There are no games that take advantage of DirectX 12 right now, but NVIDIA suggested a few tech-demos you can toy with, such as Forza DX12 renderer, Fable Legends DX12 Game Demo, Witch Chapter 0 DX12 SLI_support, King of Wushu DX12, and the Unreal Engine Race DX12 demo. DirectX 12 is highly anticipated among game developers, as it provides a leap in performance due to the way it handles multi-CPU. For the first time, 3D graphics rendering can take advantage of any number of CPU cores you throw at them, allowing game developers to increase eye-candy and detail. DirectX 12 will debut with Windows 10, which launches this July.
DOWNLOAD: GeForce 352.84 WHQL for Windows 10 Desktop GPUs | Notebook GPUs

NVIDIA Frees PhysX Source Code

After Epic's Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5 game engines went "free,"with their source-codes put up by their makes for anyone to inspect freely, NVIDIA decided to join the bandwagon of showering game developers with technical empowerment, by putting up the entire source-code of PhysX 3.3.3, including its cloth and destruction physics code, on GitHub. The move to put up free-code of PhysX appears to be linked to the liberation of Unreal Engine 4 code.

NVIDIA PhysX is the principal physics component of Unreal-driven game titles for several years now. There's a catch, though. NVIDIA is only freeing CPU-based implementation of PhysX, and not its GPU-accelerated one, which leverages NVIDIA's proprietary CUDA GPU compute technology. There should still be plenty for game devs and students in the field, to chew on. In another interesting development, the PhysX SDK has been expanded from its traditionally Windows roots to cover more platforms, namely OS X, Linux, and Android. Find instructions on how to get your hands on the code, at the source link.

No Mantle Support for Thief Just Yet

Today marks the North American release of Thief, the second AAA game title touted to support Mantle, AMD's ambitious Direct3D alternative. We have also seen some heavy marketing for how TrueAudio will make the game more awesome. Unfortunately it isn't launching with out of the box support for either technology. Eidos has Mantle and TrueAudio support "scheduled for March".

Thief is part of AMD's Gaming Evolved ecosystem, which puts it in AMD's inner circle of developer support. The only other studio and game that boasts of the same, which is in the market, are DICE and Battlefield 4. Based on a heavily modified Unreal Engine 3, Thief will run DirectX 11 out of the box.

Unreal Engine 4 PC Exclusive: Fortnite

Epic Games' Fortnite will be the company's first game to take advantage of Unreal Engine 4. Debuted at the Spike TV Video Game Awards, the cartoony action title is being described as "a co-op sandbox survival game," with building at the core of the game. "Everything you find allows you to build and improve your structure," producer Tanya Jessen told an audience at a Comic-Con panel. Given that no current console can run Unreal Engine 4, the game will be exclusive to PC. According to The Verge, Epic's Cliff Bleszinski told the audience: "This is a PC designed game, shipping exclusively on the PC."

Fortnite will be available in 2013.

Epic Games Has A PC-Exclusive In The Works

Get this - Epic Games is working on a PC-exclusive. This teaser was released by Cliff Bleszinski and Mike Capps of Epic Games, at PAX East. "We might be working on a PC-only title," said Bleszinski. "Let me say that again: we are working on a PC game," Capps added. Capps told Joystiq that the project is currently underway, and that Epic Games intends to keep it PC-exclusive. This fits into the scheme of recent developments at Epic Games. Epic unveiled its latest Unreal Engine 4, with demos that made the most bleeding-edge PC hardware sweat, and so it is only apt that the first game will serve as a technology demonstrator, and will probably offer jaw-dropping visuals that make use of the resources today's gaming PCs can expend.

FBI and Other US Government Agencies License Unreal Engine

US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other US government agencies, licensed the Unreal Engine from Epic. Unreal is one of the most popular cross-platform game engines in the industry, and United States, through various agencies will use the engines in "serious games", games designed to simulate situations such as crime scenes, encounters, casualty treatment, for the agents to learn to deal with. While the full financial details of these deals were not disclosed, the deal with FBI Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) earned Epic around US $10 million.

Epic Games Readies for Action at Game Developers Conference 2012

Epic Games, Inc. announces its participation in the Game Developers Conference (GDC) to be held March 5-9, 2012 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Epic will host press sessions and meet with developers and partners of its award-winning Unreal Engine technology in Business Suite 800, West Hall, at GDC 2012. In addition, Epic Games Design Director Cliff Bleszinski is set to host the Game Developer Choice Awards, and a dozen senior members of Epic's staff are scheduled to speak at the conference.

NVIDIA Delivers World's Fastest DX11 GPU... Again!

NVIDIA today announced the latest consumer GPU based on the NVIDIA Fermi architecture, the GeForce GTX 580, which has been reengineered from the transistor-level up to deliver increased power efficiency and performance over previous generation products.

The GeForce GTX 580 GPU delivers the world's fastest performance for DirectX 11 (DX11) games, and support for NVIDIA 3D Vision, Surround, PhysX, SLI and CUDA technologies, further entrenching GeForce-based PCs as the most robust gaming platforms in the world. The combination of an innovative vapor chamber thermal solution and new architectural enhancements make the GTX 580 the fastest and quietest GPU in its class, delivering an increase of up to 35 percent in performance per watti, and performance that is up to 30 percent faster than the original GeForce GTX 480.
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