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Epic Games previews Unreal Engine 4.4

Monday, August 4th, 2014 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Epic Games’ livestream discussing the new Mixamo animation pack available to Unreal Engine 4 subscribers. The engine’s Persona animation system will get an overhaul in the upcoming 4.4 release.

Epic Games has announced Unreal Engine 4.4. The upcoming release of the game engine will feature a number of improvements to the animation and physics systems, and introduce a new car paint shading model.

Overhauled animation workflow, new physics options
The headline change in Unreal Engine 4.4 is the update to the Persona animation system.

It’s mostly UI and workflow-related rather than new features, but it’s all sensible usability stuff: one typical change is that animations now get thumbnails in the Content Browser.

In addition, there are new options to snap objects to surfaces while placing them, along with a new constraint for constraining 3D physics objects to a 2D plane, for use in side-scrolling games.

Other additions include a new Clear Coat shading model for car paint and objects like soda cans, along with the usual list of smaller features and bugfixes.

Epic hasn’t announced an official release date for Unreal Engine 4.4, but if it follows the pattern of previous releases, it should ship later this month. A monthly subscription costs $19.

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Free Mixamo characters and animations for UE4 subscribers
In related news, online animation firm Mixamo has released 15 of its ready-to-use characters and seven animations to the UE4 marketplace, for subscribers to download for free.

The moves, which include standard walk, run, jump, idle and weapons animations, are available in FBX, BVH and Collada format.

The deal marks the beginning of a wider collaboration between Mixamo and Epic. “This free content is just the beginning,” said epic CEO Tim Sweeney. “Getting started using Mixamo’s assets in UE4 is very straightforward.”

Read a full list of new features in Unreal Engine 4.4

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