Unreal Engine Gets Official Mixed Reality Video Support With Version 4.20

by Ian Hamilton • July 18th, 2018

Developers working with the Unity toolset to build VR experiences have enjoyed solid support for mixed reality video capture for around two years now. A mixed reality video seamlessly merges two realities in real-time, so this means that many Unity-based VR games, starting with Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption, include features that let enthusiastic players use a webcam and green screen to show what it is like to play that game.

With the latest update to Unreal Engine exiting a preview period and releasing fully in version 4.20, VR developers updating their projects to the newest version of Unreal should be able to access similar capabilities. Epic’s Unreal Engine is what some of the world’s biggest game developers use to make their games and it is the same tool bringing Fortnite to devices ranging from iPhone to PS4. With VR, the 4.20 update likely means that future VR games will likely include this feature and that some developers using Unreal with their early access games might upgrade to the latest version and eventually integrate the feature. Epic’s latest addition to its toolset will “enable users to pull real world green screened video into the engine, and supported tracking devices can match your camera location to the in-game camera for more dynamic shots.”

Mixed reality videos are a powerful way to share virtual reality and draw in viewers who don’t need to know anything about the game to enjoy watching something like Beat Saber being played.  Startups like LIV and Blueprint Reality are working to make capturing and live-streaming mixed reality videos easier, and depth-sensing cameras like the Zed Mini open up the potential to do the same thing without needing a green screen. Here’s an example of a mixed reality video (with more than 3 million views on YouTube) using LIV’s technology:

Now that Unreal Engine makes it easy for developers to include mixed reality videos it is likely a larger percentage of VR games going forward may have this kind of feature. That means if we get more games as fun as Beat Saber in 2019 and beyond, there’s a good chance it will be entertaining to both play those games and watch those games being played in mixed reality.

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