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How to Build a Virtual World Using UNREAL ENGINE

Unreal Engine is a game development engine developed by Epic Games, an American video game and software development company, in the year 1998. Initially, it was developed for first-person shooter games. It is now used to create a variety of 2D and 3D games like third-person shooter games, Massively Multiplayer Online Games etc.

Although it was developed as a game engine, it is now widely used for films, live events, construction, automation, manufacturing etc.

Benefits of choosing Unreal Engine for development

Unreal Engine is a 100% open-source platform that provides realistic graphic quality and offers instructional guides and technical documents to guide creators, making it user-friendly.

Assets and samples

The platform offers various assets, samples, and templates to help game developers design and make their games more intriguing.

Photorealistic graphics

The built-in tools of Unreal Engine enable anyone to create and design more life-like and high-quality content like metahumans counterfeiting real-world environments.

Free to use

The inbuilt systems like the multi-player tools, the blueprints, templates, assets, and plug-ins of Unreal Engine are all free to use.

Professional support

Developers can get help from a professional team of senior experts of various domains in the Unreal Engine if they face any problem while building a project.

Constant upgrades

New engine versions and other updates are often released, adding new features and increasing the platform’s feasibility.

How to Build a Virtual World with Unreal Engine?

Unreal Engine offers a complete collection of tools, resources, and media frameworks with which you can create simple to complex, optimized, and appealing virtual reality projects without writing scripts.

Using the Unreal Engine, let us understand how to build a virtual world and bring it to life with various elements like light, foliage, etc.

Install Unreal Engine

Following are the steps to download and install Unreal Engine:

  1. Download and install Epic Game Launcher (EGL)

Open the Unreal Engine’s download page and select a suitable license type based on your project-specific requirement. Two types of licenses are available, which are

  • Publishing — It is suitable for gaming-based projects
  • Creators — It is suitable for projects other than gaming.

Now, select the Download option, which will open a Launcher installer. Specify a save location based on the settings of your operating system. Run the installer once the download is completed.

2. Sign up or log in to the Epic Games account

Create an Epic Games account using your email or other supported social media account details. Log in if you already have an account.

3. Install the Unreal Engine

Once you create an account on Epic Game Launcher, you can install an Unreal Engine. For this, refer to the following steps:

  • There are many options on the left side of the Unreal Engine tab. Select “Unreal Engine” from it and click install to get started.
  • Then select the Options button to select and install the engine components from the given options. Click on apply once you select the components.
  • Select the Install option. After installing, click on the Launch button to access the Unreal Engine.

Create a new project

After downloading and installing the Unreal Engine, you can advance to creating a new project. Follow the steps below to proceed further:

  1. Click on the “New Project categories” and choose from the different available categories based on your project requirements. For instance, if you want to design a house, you can select the architecture option.
  2. Select a template for your VR project and click Next from the available templates.
  3. A project settings page will be opened to set the quality and the performance level. Then, choose the target platform.
  4. Select the Blueprint dropdown from the multiple dropdown menu, which provides two options — create your VR project in the Unreal Editor or use the programming method to create a project with C++.
  5. Open the Maximum Quality dropdown, displaying two options — maximum Quality or Scalable 3D or 2D. If your project is designed for game consoles or computers, select Maximum Quality. Choose Scalable 3D or 2D if your project supports mobile phones.
  6. Select an option from the Desktop/Console dropdown based on your project.
  7. Now, open the With Starter Content dropdown and select With Starter Content from the available two options if you do not have any basic assets.
  8. Then, move to the Raytracing Disabled. Choose Raytracing Enabled to enable real-time display access in your project.
  9. Finally, select a location for the project to be stored and give a suitable name. Click Create Project to finish.

Build a virtual world with Unreal Engine

This tutorial will guide you on building a 3D virtual world with Unreal Engine. Follow the given steps to create a 3D room similar to this picture:

Required Setup

After the Unreal Engine installation, a Project Browser will appear on the screen. Select the relevant option from the multiple categories for your project and click next.

  1. Select the Blank template and click next.
  2. From the different dropdown options of the next page, select the Blueprint and the With Starter Content settings. Now, create the project by mentioning the location and giving a name to the project.

Navigate the Viewport

Go to the Viewport in the Unreal Editor after the project is created. In Viewport, you can do all the level construction using the assets and the sample level.

Creating a New Level

  1. Open the file menu options from the Unreal Editor and select the New Level option.
  2. Click on the Empty Level option and then on Place Actors. Actors in VR projects are elements like Geometry or lights. Select Geometry from the options in Place Actors and finally select a box.
  3. Now, place the box into the Level Viewpoint by dragging it.
  4. From the Details panel located on the lower-right side of the editor’s window, set the Location and Rotation to 0. Likewise, set the scale at 4x4x0.1
  5. Drag-drop a directional light to the floor from the Lights tab on the Place Actors section.
  6. Drag the Z-axis to the gizmo(widget) from the transition tool, away from the floor’s surface.
  7. Select and drag-drop an Atmospheric fog from the Visual Effect tab located inside the Place Actors panel. This step adds sky to the existing level and illuminates the level.
  8. Select and drag-drop the Player Start from the Place Actors portal.
  9. Choose Volumes under the Place Actors panel and drag-drop the Lightmass Importance Volume to the level. This action helps you to control the lighting effects and scale the atmosphere.
  10. Now, go to the content, and select StarterContent. Click on Props and drag-drop SM_TableRound to the level.
  11. Follow the same steps above again, but this time, drag-drop SM_Chair to the level from the Props option.
  12. Access the Rotation tool by pressing E.

Editing the Placed Actors

When the actors are placed into their levels, you can customize the actor’s properties based on your project requirement by following the given steps:

  1. Left-click on the Viewport and select the Directional Light Actor.
  2. Enable Atmosphere Sun Light from the Details Panel located in the Light category.

Running the build process.

You can adjust the lighting quality and other functions by referring to the following steps:

  1. Select the dropdown arrow next to the Build option from the Main toolbar.
  2. Choose your preferred Lighting Quality setting.
  3. You can view the final look of your project once the Build process is finished.
  4. You can check the progress in the editor on the Play button in the Main toolbar.

Final step

You should test the various features of your project and perform the common actions with the Build of the level lighting and Play in the editor.

Conclusion

With a boom in the entertainment industry and too many people investing their time and money in the industry, Unreal Engine is also getting popular. It opens a new path for businesses and entrepreneurs to explore various possibilities to push their businesses forward through this real-life-inspired 3D world. A team of devoted Unreal developers is required to enable this technology in businesses to its full potential.

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