When it comes to VR projects, one prevailing opinion characterizes them as complex and requiring inordinate time and resources. Without a doubt, developing such software is no easy task and demands both experience and relevant knowledge, but you should never forget that virtual reality developers have access to a multitude of purposeful and effective tools, one of which is Unreal Engine. VR development in Unreal is a leading approach used in this industry, and very few other tools can compare.
Like any tool, Unreal Engine should be used for a relevant purpose. Thus, anyone looking to develop a VR project will be better equipped if they are aware of the optimal circumstances for using the software. Our article aims to provide such guidance.
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How Well Does Unreal Engine Support VR?
VR support was introduced in UE version 4, which debuted in 2012. This might seem like a very short time ago, but it is important to keep in mind that most of the VR headsets in widespread use today were released in 2016 and later. Thus, the software has had plenty of time to earn the trust of developers worldwide. Furthermore, the UE4 VR Blueprints system of visual scripting has made it easier for newcomers to learn the platform and bridged the gap between developers and designers, artists, and hobbyists.
To get a feel for the suitability of UE4 for VR projects, the first thing we can look at is platform support. At the moment, the engine supports development for Oculus headsets (Rift, Go, & Quest), Magic Leap, Vive, PSVR, Gear VR, Daydream, and Valve Index. Together, these products comprise the lion’s share of the market. In short, UE4 is a great choice for virtual reality projects, and the only other comparable engine that comes close is Unity.
When Do You Need Unreal for VR Development?
If you put your mind to it, you can create all sorts of VR applications with UE (staying within the bounds of the engine’s capabilities). However, there are several types of use cases where its usefulness has been proven and demonstrated extensively. You can find them below.
Training and simulations
The powerful Unreal Engine allows users to build simulations with a high level of detail and realistic physics, making it a great choice for training programs. For example, such a program can put you in the shoes of an office worker fleeing from a fire. When you wear a headset and run the program, you can move around the building and find exits, use controllers to lift and move objects, and react in real-time to the dangerous situation that is unfolding. The simulation can also provide instructions, tips, and other guidance that will serve staff well in their work.
Product configurators are another great example of a digital solution made better with virtual reality. By default, they allow users to see and customize one or several products. However, a configurator built with UE brings a lot more to the table, letting the user experience standing right next to the product and interacting with it almost physically. It helps achieve a level of immersion and interaction with the brand that is difficult to achieve on web and mobile platforms.
Interactive Virtual Walking Tour & Configurator in Unreal Engine 4
Visualization and digital twins
You don’t always need an elaborate and multi-functional application to showcase something in VR. Thus, you can easily saddle the engine with the task of visualizing a model or setting from different angles, and it should do the job marvelously. However, adding more functionality should not be much of a challenge if you know what you are doing. You can even create digital twins based on real data collected from an object, process, or system. For example, a virtual digital twin of a turbine might let you get up close and personal with it and troubleshoot issues more easily.
BIM Visualization Application in Unreal Engine 4
This should come as no surprise given that UE4 is known primarily as game-making software. Hence, making a VR game in Unreal marks the pinnacle of using the software to its max. There are few limits to the types of games you can make (besides 2D), so it will be up to you to determine their difficulty (from hypercasual to hardcore) and purpose (e.g. bringing profit, entertaining, or promoting a particular brand).
VR game created in Unreal Engine 4
How We Develop VR Software with Unreal
The developers working at Program-Ace know the UE like the backs of their hands. Thus, we know not only how to make a VR game in Unreal Engine 4, but also how to build other VR apps for commercial, enterprise, and other uses. Our large and talented staff allows us to tackle new projects with a full team of programmers, designers, QA engineers, project managers, and other specialists involved in bringing the endeavors to fruition. This means that after receiving a commission, we can handle all steps of the development process: from concept art and initial prototyping, to coding and UI design, to testing and final release.
Trust us with your project
Program-Ace is well-equipped to deliver VR projects of different scope and purpose, using UE, Unity, and other top software used in the business. Working with us, you can expect great care invested in quality and efficiency, rigorous testing, and dedicated compliance with deadlines. We would love to hear about your project and start discussing how we might help each other. All it takes to get started is to send us a message or contact us through any of the other available means.