Unreal Engine in gaming and beyond: fundamentals and real-world use cases

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What is Unreal Engine? Epic Games primarily designed the Unreal Engine to develop video games; however, it is actively utilised to create interactive experiences across various business sectors. For instance, the film and architecture industries highly value the Unreal Engine’s versatility. The Engine is distinctive as its powerful graphics help achieve realistic, engaging and stunning visuals. Another noteworthy feature of Unreal Engine is the advanced rendering system with global illumination, physically based materials, and dynamic lighting. 

Specifically for the convenience of game developers, the Engine offers a Blueprint – a visual scripting system enabling the development of complex gameplay mechanisms without traditional coding. 

This post considers the advantages of the Unreal Engine, its areas of use in gaming and non-gaming settings, and critical features. Before we go into the history of the engine, let us dwell a bit on its history and answer the question, “What language is the Unreal Engine?”

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Part 1. Unreal Engine: how the story has started and is unfolding

The first release of the Unreal Engine took place in 1998 when the game Unreal showcased the technology’s capacity. Since that time, the Engine has undergone multiple updates. Then, Unreal Engine 5 became a driving force for most fascinating and iconic games (for instance, an immersive BioShock, Fortnite, or Gears of War). Virtual Reality fosters another quantum leap of the Engine, enabling software engineers to develop truly captivating experiences. One instance of a game that does not belong to the traditional gaming segment yet has become widely popular due to its immersive features is Beat Saber. So, it is no wonder Unreal Engine broadly extended the boundaries of what can be designed in the digital world.

Unreal Engine: program language and marketplace

The backbone of Unreal Engine is  C++, whereas other programming languages can be beneficial for improving specific development aspects. GLSL or HLSL are often implemented to obtain cutting-edge graphic effects. Python, for its part, is helpful for scripting tasks. Hence, one of the main strengths of Unreal Engine lies in its extended support for several languages. Developers can enrich diverse components of their projects, thereby boosting their creativity in designing user experiences. 

Unreal Engine has a separate marketplace where software engineers can buy or sell plugins, assets, and other resources. Assets imply a variety of units, such as sound effects, environments, characters, animations and more. If a developer needs an extra function set based on an AI behaviour system or VR support, it is also accessible within the marketplace. Thus, creators don’t have to do all the work from scratch: ready-made assets allow them to streamline the production process. In addition, the marketplace serves as a collaborative platform, fostering learning from other experts.

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Part 2. Key features and benefits of Unreal Engine for the gaming industry

  1. Powerful rendering. Thanks to rendering features, you may design high-quality graphics. Global illumination and real-time tracing ensure a realistic representation of objects and the creation of detailed textures. 
  2. Cross-platform support. You may utilise Unreal Engine on almost every device of choice: consoles, mobile, PC, or VR. As a result, the audience of potential players is expanded, and so are revenue streams. 
  3. Vibrant community. Developers can find a vast network of like-minded people and qualified colleagues, which is indispensable for receiving feedback on projects and making further refinements. 
  4. User-friendly interface. The marketplace allows developers to use the suite of instruments conveniently. With no interface complications, they can concentrate primarily on sharing ideas and constant learning. 
  5. Regular updates. The industry is growing, so the Unreal Engine Team is committed to releasing updates regularly. Using the Engine, you stay ahead of the curve and discover innovative ways to engage your audience. 
  6. Personal or educational use at no cost. Unreal Engine is currently a popular choice thanks to its accessibility. There are no financial barriers to mastering your skills. 
  7. Blueprints Visual Scripting. What does Unreal Engine do in terms of visual scripting? This feature has a node-based system for visualising game mechanics, Al behaviours, and game interactions. In such a way, software engineers can create complex gameplay components with little to no programming knowledge. 
  8. AI tools. AI systems encompass various tools, from dynamic behaviour trees to pathfinding algorithms. NPCs help programmers to refine reactions, actions, and decision-making, which makes gameplay even more engaging. 

Part 3. Unreal Engine beyond the gaming sphere

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  1. Architecture visualisation. Designers and architects take advantage of Unreal Engine to develop 3D models of interiors or buildings. 
  2. Medical training. Thanks to the Engine, medical professionals can practise procedures of different complexity and surgeries in virtual environments. 
  3. Animation and film. Animated scenes and various visual effects are not only a part of game development; they also belong to the film and animation industry so that creators can apply the Unreal Engine to their art projects. 
  4. Product design. The vast area of applying Unreal Engine for business purposes concerns product design. Thanks to the technology, potential clients can look at 3D simulations of various items, from innovative gadgets to new car models. 
  5. Simulations. Training simulations are an essential part of recreating real-world situations for professional purposes. Using Unreal Engine is particularly helpful for professions that involve risk, unpredictability, and life-and-death decisions – firefighters, pilots, ambulance workers, etc. 
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We hope the post has helped to answer the question: “What is Unreal Engine used for?” Regardless of whether your purpose is to create a video game or non-gaming solution with AI or VR at the core, don’t hesitate to contact the PNN Soft team. Our experience with Unreal Engine will help to implement the newest technologies, which are perfectly responsive to your business purposes.