Epic Game’s Unreal Engine is making it easier to create for augmented reality in the newest 4.18 update, now including official support for Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore software dev kits, and support for SteamVR on Mac.
‘Production-ready’ support for Apple’s ARKit working on iOS11 was initially announced during Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone X unveiling last month. Epic has however provided experimental support in their game engine for ARKit since Unreal Engine 4.17, but the new 4.18 update represents what Epic calls “significant changes” since the prior version went live back in August.
Announced on the Unreal Engine blog, the company says they’ve “streamlined workflows [for ARKit projects] making use of existing framework components, added robust handling of the passthrough camera, and increased fidelity by improving performance and prediction.”
Unreal Engine 4.18 now contains official support for ARCore developer preview too, Google’s answer to ARKit that provides a similar AR function to Google’s new Pixel 2 smartphones and soon more Android phones running 7.0 Nougat and above including Samsung S8 line.
In the 4.18 update, the game engine also includes native SteamVR support on Mac, making the same well-worn PC interfaces available on Mac and adding the ability to easily transfer projects between the two platforms.
Apple announced Valve was bringing SteamVR support to Mac during the company’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) back in June, showing the audience the power of the company’s new VR Ready 27-inch iMac. Apple featured a demo running on the HTC Vive that was created by Industrial Light and Magic. Using Epic’s Unreal Engine VR Editor, they showed how developers could build VR content inside of VR itself, using Star Wars assets.
Unreal’s support for SteamVR on Mac comes alongside support for Metal 2, Apple graphics API which is getting the special VR treatment too. Apple says Metal 2 can bring up to a 10x increase in draw call throughput over the prior version, and it will include a VR-optimized display pipeline.
Check out full release notes here.