Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is one of the most widely used software engines in the gaming market, and that’s why it’s no surprise that Unreal Engine 4 will support Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Project Tango by the end of October. The engine already supports the Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus HMDs.
The two tasks, Samsung Gear VR support and Google Project Tango support, were added to the roadmap by Ray Davis, General Manager at Epic Games. They were placed in the “VR” section of the roadmap on Tuesday and currently have 21 votes for Samsung’s HMD and 17 votes for Google’s VR solution. Both are tagged with “September” and “October,” revealing when the company expects to have support for these two devices in place.
News of the support follows the opening of the Unreal Engine Marketplace. There, UE4 developers can purchase and sell community-created “premium” content, as well as gobble up free content. The Marketplace offers a number of “asset packs” such as characters, environments, props, sounds and more. Epic even plans to add its own content to the virtual store such as demos, showcases and tutorials.
Back in March, Epic Games revealed its subscription model for Unreal Engine 4, costing developers $19 per month plus a 5 percent royalty from commercial products. Developers can also license Unreal Engine 4 through "custom-negotiated" terms. This model is aimed at companies wanting a closer relationship with Epic and those who seek to reduce or even eliminate the 5 percent royalty in exchange for up-front payment.
On September 4, Epic Games made its Unreal Engine software free for academic use. Students enrolled in accredited video game development, computer science, art, architecture, simulation and visualization programs can have a free copy of the engine.
“Learning the fundamentals (and advanced techniques!) of game development with the same tools used by professional developers to ship successful games is one of the best ways to maximize your chances of starting your own development career,” said Epic Games’ Ray Davis.
Meanwhile, Samsung revealed its Gear VR back in the beginning of September, which relies on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to do most of the work. However, because it uses the smartphone, Samsung’s solution doesn’t have any wires connecting to other equipment (save for the USB connection to the phone). Technical specs include a 96 degree field of view, a latency of around 20 ms and a focal adjustment that supports nearsighted and farsighted individuals.
As for Google’s Project Tango, this project includes Android-based tablets and smartphones that are capable of producing a 3D replica of their surroundings. The project is in development at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP) and aims to give mobile devices "a human-scale understanding of space and motion." A 7-inch developer's kit is expected to arrive before the end of the year.