Epic Games today announced that Unreal Engine 5 is now available in early access, including a new template for VR projects built on OpenXR 1.0, the industry-backed standard for building device-agnostic VR and AR applications.
Epic Games is bringing heaps of new features and improvements to the latest version of its game engine, Unreal Engine 5. While some of the biggest features—like the Lumen lighting system and Nanite mesh system—don’t yet support VR, today’s early access release of UE5 includes a rebuilt VR template built on OpenXR.
The VR template in Unreal Engine 5 is designed as an ideal starting point for VR projects. It has basic and extensible functionality for VR locomotion and object interactions built right in.
And because it’s built on OpenXR, developers shouldn’t need to worry about as much headset-specific configuration if they’re aiming to support multiple headsets. The system also supports OpenXR extensions for adding vendor-specific functionality.
The template configures Unreal Engine 5 with settings specific to VR, like automatically disabling the Lumen feature (because it isn’t yet supported for VR headsets).
Epic says it’s “highly recommended to create your VR project using the VRTemplate in UE5,” and notes that the OpenXR VR template supports the following VR platforms:
- Oculus Quest 1 and 2
- Oculus Quest with Oculus Link
- Oculus Rift S
- Valve Index
- HTC Vive
- Windows Mixed Reality
Epic says that the early access version of Unreal Engine 5 isn’t yet suitable for production, but developers looking to experiment can download it today through the Epic Games launcher and can even get access to the UE5 source code on GitHub. The full production ready version of Unreal Engine 5 is expected to release in early 2022 with additional features and improvements.
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