In February, during an Unreal community live stream on Twitch, Epic Games demonstrated an addition to the Unreal Editor that allows you to create and edit environments within VR. In March, the company released the source code so you could compile your own editor. This week, Epic released Unreal Engine 4.12 and it includes a compiled binary version of the editor preview.
The Unreal Engine VR Editor lets you manipulate the digital environment from within VR. Epic Games said you’ll be able to access the Content Browser from directly inside the map editor. When you want to add an item, simply select it from the editor user interface and drag it into place. You can reach out and grab objects to move them or change their orientation, and the editor includes tools that snap objects into place so they don’t clip through the world. You simply drag the item to where you want it and let go. The editor takes care of the rest.
The VR Editor also lets you scale spawned items to whatever size you desire by grabbing them with both hands and pinching in or pulling out. You can even scale, rotate and move the entire environment around you in the same fashion, which lets you zoom in to get a really close look at a specific detail, or zoom way out to get an overview of the entire environment.
The Unreal Engine VR Editor is included with Unreal Engine 4.12, which is available now. You will have to manually enable the VR editor to unlock it. To add the VR Mode button to the toolbar, simply select “Enable VR Editing” under the Experimental section of the Editor Preferences. Epic said you can toggle between the regular editor and the VR editor at any time, but you will need a pair of motion controllers and a VR HMD to work in VR. The VR Editor currently supports HTC Vive wand controls and Oculus Touch controllers.
In addition to the VR Editor, Unreal Engine 4.12 includes the Epic Sequencer. Sequencer was first revealed at GDC this year. It is a non-linear cinematic video editor designed for 3D animated scenes. It essentially combines the power of a professional video editing suite with the unrestricted creativity that 3D animation provides.
For more information about the VR editor and about the other updates that are included with Unreal Engine 4.12, you can find the release notes here.