First Look: Unreal Engine Will Soon Let You Build VR inside VR


Epic Games has unveiled a new feature of its VR-native development platform Unreal Engine 4, the ability for VR developers to build their applications and games from within virtual reality. Here’s what it looks like.

The VR renaissance has inspired flocks of developers to build immersive content, and the tools to allow you to do that have evolved rapidly to match pace with the fledgling industry.

Unreal Engine 4 shipped out of the box with native support to preview in-progress projects within an attached VR headset (the Oculus Rift in that early case) and the engine has added support for more and more devices as they’ve appeared.

unreal vr editor

Previewing your project and building for VR from an engine which supports VR headsets was a big step forward, but the ultimate goal and ideal situation for many developers would be to build their virtual worlds and applications from within the medium they’re developing for.

See Also: Epic Games Founder Teases “Something Much Bigger” Than VR Tech Demos

Now, Epic have revealed that Unreal Engine 4 has had just such a feature in development for some time, and the results look impressively mature. Unreal Engine 4 will soon let you build within VR and this is no half-arsed gimmick either.

In an early preview video, Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney and Mike Fricker give a first glimpse of VR content creation using the first VR Editor for a game engine. “Using the Unreal Editor in VR mode developers can create content in VR using the HTC Vive and Oculus motion controls.”

The video demonstrates the intuitive nature of Epic’s VR take on their own platform and it’s stressed throughout the demonstration that all the tools and menus you’d expect from UE4 are present, correct and controllable with motion controls. Although the equipment used in the video is an HTC Vive Pre with SteamVR controllers, the system will work similarly for Oculus’ forthcoming Oculus Touch controllers.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • user

    love it. i just watched the twitch stream. accuracy doesnt seem to be a problem.


    This is a BIG deal! Wow…..

  • FloridaOJ

    This is going to change my life. I’m tempted to put recent development efforts on the back burner until this is released. ^_^

  • Sky Castle

    Looks more fun than Minecraft.

  • polysix

    Don’t hold your breath for the oculus touch controller release.

    If you wanna take advantage of this asap then clearly you need Vive. Now if only oculus hadn’t nerfed their VR package by sticking in that stupid gamepad. Stuff like this shows how vital VR input is and according to many straw polls only just over half of those who bought rift will even bother buying touch which means not many devs will support it, and stuff like this video will always get priority on Vive now. (yes I watched the live stream , I know this supports touch too – my point is you’ll be waiting months for touch and at an unknown price and unknown quality of ROOM tracking)

    Oculus should never have turned their back on what they promised, poisioning the VR well with that horrible gamepad and breaking their own ‘rules’ (all to suit gear VR and deals with MS). What a waste.

    See you in the Vive guys!

    • crim3

      I agree. All electronics manufacturers should put their products on the hands of consumers before they have ended development. Probably they have evil internal meetings where they decide not to release until finishing development just to make sure everybody gets angry.

    • Foreign Devil

      By the time Rift hits retail the touch controllers will also be out. So this is a non issue for most people aside from the few who pre-ordered fast enough to get it before July.

      • polysix

        and apparently only around 40% of rift owners even intend to buy touch. Which is shit whichever way you dice it.

        • Taun

          You have to remember that a lot of people are buying the rift for driving simulators, & flight / space games. Those games use special peripherals that are superior for those specialized situations.

          It depends on what types of games someone likes to play.

  • Nifty! I’ve already done some demos for VR in the Unreal Engine. I look forward to doing more within VR! I’m guessing this is an extension of the blueprint engine? It’s very GUI friendly. I’m not much of a coder, but I’ve been able to do all sorts of interesting things with their Blueprints engine. There’s no much it can’t do.

    I’m guessing though you’d want to use this mostly for environment setup, not anything more complicated. Any crash would be visually jarring and painful. Things like run away loops, poorly performing routines that are in the process of tweaking, and their PAINFULLY SLOW material editor are tough on the computer right now in 2D. Using those tools in VR, when you want to keep 90fps, would be impossible.

  • brandon9271

    R.I.P Unity engine. ;)

    • FloridaOJ


    • Xilence

      What makes you think Unity won’t change things up to compete?

    • CazCore

      they announced working on the same stuff for their scene editor….. months ago.

      • brandon9271


  • Tom VR

    The feeling when you create something in editor, then enter your creation in VR is powerful, but to make changes, you have to keep leaving, then entering, etc. This…my friends is moving mountains, this is GOD MODE!

    • dogtato


  • Jean Thompson

    Unity HAS to implement this. Why wouldn’t they?? The touch controllers would work with it. Just wait.

    • CazCore

      they are working on it. i forget the woman’s name who is heading up the project, but they had a podcast linked from this site…..some months back, where she talked about it. one of the most intelligent people i’ve listened to, from all the podcasts linked here.

      • Jean Thompson

        Awesome! Thanks.

  • HM420

    VR and AR technologys are on the run !! The future of these will definitly change some parts of our all daily lifes, I´m pretty sure about it !
    I mean not only in the art of how to play games, as more in useful ways to be helpful in science and medicine and of course many other topics.

    I´m very excited what will comes next ?! :) …..