Datasmith and Unreal Engine Drive Real-time Architectural Design at Neoscape

As a creative agency that focuses on strategy and branding for real estate, Neoscape utilizes a range of skill sets and techniques to visualize worlds that do not yet exist. The ability to bring large volumes of design data into real-time engines quickly is integral to the way Neoscape helps clients achieve their vision and elevate their brands.

Real-time technology’s constant evolution has inspired the agency’s specialized approach in providing many unique services that are harder for architectural firms to handle in-house, including short films and interactive experiences.

“We’re re-thinking how we approach traditional visualization because of how good real time is getting,” says Neoscape’s President, Rob Macleod, who adds his studio has moved away from rendering scenes and 2D images to a embrace a more dynamic approach to design content creation. “[Instead] we’re going to make a great real-time experience and then generate almost unlimited, absolutely beautiful, artistic, and well-crafted renderings out of an engine.”

Unreal Engine has been pivotal in this transformation, but recently adding Datasmith into Neoscape’s pipeline has also made a tremendous difference in the speed and capabilities of the team’s design workflows, says Carlos Cristerna, Visualization Director at Neoscape.

A year ago, Cristerna took on a project to test the process of translating 3ds Max/V-Ray scenes into Unreal Engine. At the time, it was a manual translation that took his team about four weeks to complete, which he says wasn’t very practical time-wise. “Six months ago or so, with Datasmith, that changed completely,” he says. “It literally can do the same thing I did in four weeks in one day, and that is magic.”

When it comes to building a strong production pipeline, efficiency is critical, and making the choice to adopt new tools requires careful consideration over whether the effort is worth the payoff. For Neoscape, the choice was an easy one. “Tools like Unreal and Datasmith allow us to export in so many different formats that it’s really worthwhile,” he says, noting Unreal’s ease of use and designer-friendly features empower designers who know nothing about coding to create amazing work.

“We’ve built our company on delivering a quality experience to our clients, and the fact that Unreal can deliver on that promise is really, really important,” adds Macleod. “We’re excited about the direction that Unreal is headed, and we’re excited to continue to use it.”

To learn more about how Neoscape is using Unreal Engine and Datasmith, watch the full video above. To join the Datasmith beta, register here.

Unreal Engine 4.19 Preview 1 Now Available

Unreal Engine 4.19 will be available soon and it’ll include many new exciting features and fixes. The first Preview build is now available on the Epic Games launcher for you to download. You can explore a number of new animation and physics updates, including improvements to the Live Link plugin and Sequencer performance, and signficant changes to VR resolution settings. There are also a number of quality-of-life improvements. 

To get Unreal Engine 4.19 Preview 1, head to the Library section on the launcher, select “Add Versions” and choose 4.19 Preview 1.

A more inclusive list of upcoming changes in the build has been posted on our forums. Please keep in mind that Preview releases are intended only to provide a sample of what is going to be released in the update and are not production-ready. We recommend waiting for the full release of 4.19 before updating your projects to the new engine version. For now, please use copies of your projects to test new features.

Epic Games Announces New Round of Unreal Dev Grants Totaling over $200,000

Epic Games today announced the recipients of the latest round of Unreal Dev Grants totaling over $200,000 in no-strings-attached funds for talented creators. Established in February 2015, Unreal Dev Grants is a $5 million development fund to provide financial support for teams and individuals doing impressive work in and around Unreal Engine 4, awarded without any restrictions or obligations to Epic Games.

To date, the program has helped showcase the breadth and diversity of projects powered by Unreal, with this most recent set of 13 recipients hailing from across North America, Europe, China, Korea, Australia and Pakistan. Unreal Dev Grant alumni include Astroneer, which developer System Era recently launched in Alpha; Beethoven and Dinosaur’s highly anticipated The Artful Escape, which Annapurna Interactive signed in 2017; and Polyarc’s award-winning Moss, coming next month to PlayStation VR, among many other recipients.

“Receiving an Unreal Dev Grant is a huge achievement since we are using Unreal Engine in the full production of a film,” said Usman Iqbal, Head of Production, 3rd World Studios. “Our film wouldn’t be possible without Unreal’s fast, built-in tools like Sequencer, the immensely powerful Material Editor, particle editing, post-process effects, and so forth. We can make constant improvements to heavily populated sets that have dynamic foliage, furry animals and lots of particles. This would not be possible if we were using a regular rendering pipeline. Thanks to Epic for enabling an indie studio like ours to Dream Big.”

“Unreal Dev Grants is our way to reward and highlight the incredible talent that makes up the Unreal development community,” said Chance Ivey, Partnership Manager, Epic Games. “These projects show what is possible when you combine passion with creative technology, and stand as examples of why we do what we do.”

The latest round of grant recipients includes:

Allahyar and The Legend of Markhr by 3rd World Studios (Pakistan)

3rd World Studios is producing a beautifully animated feature-length film in Unreal Engine, coming to theaters next month. The team is employing real-time animation methodologies in UE4 for the movie, drawing on their experience in creating animation for AAA game titles. In this film Allahyar, a young Pakistani boy from the North, sets off on an adventure where he discovers a world he never knew existed. Allahyar is one of the most highly awaited animated movies in Pakistan right now.

Bebylon Battle Royale by Kite and Lightning (United States)

Currently in beta, Bebylon Battle Royale is a multiplayer VR game with comedic arena combat at its core. In this game, battling babies duke it out to humiliate their foes with customizable vehicles, weapons and plenty of smack talk. by Sebastien Rancoud (France) is a tool that enables developers to copy and paste their Unreal Engine 4 Blueprints as text to the web and see the logic visually. The useful tool eases the process of sharing Blueprint snippets online and is popular among UE4 developers.

Claybook by Second Order Ltd. (Finland)

Step into the shoes of brave kids who bring the Claybook to life, and enter into each chapter filled with new obstacles and puzzles. Everything in this unique world is made entirely of clay and can be shaped and molded, deformed, destroyed or frozen solid.

Genesis Noir by Feral Cat Den (United States)

Genesis Noir is an artsy, indie title set before, during and after The Big Bang. In this love triangle gone askew, the goal is to save the love of your life by stopping the expansion of the universe.

Halflight by Students of the National Yunlin University of Science and Technology (Taiwan)

Halflight is a 3D adventure game where players follow in the steps of the young boy Xi-sheng as he strays into an extraordinary phantom world. Made by four students of National Yunlin University of Science and Technology as a graduation project, Halflight took 1st Place in the Taiwan College Student Unreal Competition hosted by Epic Games.

Hyper Jam by Bit Dragon (Australia)

Hyper Jam is a high-quality, fast-paced multiplayer indie game coming soon to Steam. The game takes place in a neon-soaked arena full of lethal weapons, stackable powerups and furious round-based combat.

Rogue Universe by MUST Games (Korea)

Developed by a team of industry veterans, Rogue Universe is a mobile strategy game with high-quality visuals and a cast of comic book-style characters that encounter a host of missions to complete while earning rewards.

Shift Quantum by Fishing Cactus (Belgium)

Shift Quantum is the official successor to the popular puzzle-platformer game, Shift, originally created by Antony Lavelle and published by Armor Games. Shift Quantum will be coming to PC, Mac and consoles in early 2018.

Sinner by Dark Star Game Studios (Hong Kong)

Based in Hong Kong, the ex-Ubisoft, Blizzard and Konami developers of Dark Star have joined forces to create their debut title, Sinner: Sacrifice of Redemption, a boss battling action role-playing game that echoes the likes of Dark Souls, Shadow of the Colossus and Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Sinner is coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in April 2018.

Skye from Puny Astronaut (Scotland)

Coming to Xbox One and PS4 this year, Skye is an exploration game set in a fantastical world that allows players to wander around as a friendly, flying dragon. Dash through dandelions or dive for pearls in a coral reef while helping the ship captain find his golden treasure.

The Machines from Directive Games Limited (China)

The Machines from China-based Directive Games debuted onstage during the Apple Special Event as a flagship title for the launch of augmented reality on iOS. The Machines is a MOBA-inspired AR PVP game where players build an army of robots and duke it out with a friend in-person or online.

NVIDIA Edge Program Winners – December 2017

The NVIDIA Edge Program, a collaboration between NVIDIA and Epic Games, allows us to award high-end hardware to incredible teams or individuals for creating fantastic projects in Unreal Engine. Each project will be awarded with an NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti.

This month’s winners are:

Chiaro and the Elixir of Life – Martov Co

Chiaro and the Elixir of Life is Martov Co‘s latest VR project. It is a first-person adventure game, where with your steam-powered machine mentor, Boka, you will search for the Fountain of Elixir, the source of all machine life. Chiaro has been an official selection at the Montreal Independent Games Festival and Fantastic Arcade.

Living Room Visualization – The Black Fabric

This living room visualization is one of many beautiful arch viz projects that The Black Fabric has produced, with incredible lighting, props, and design.

Eximius – AmmoBox Studios

An FPS/RTS hybrid focusing on squad-based combat, Eximius features an intense 5v5 multiplayer experience with one player on each team leading as a commander. This project is currently in development by AmmoBox Studios.

Bravo, Unreal Engine community! Your projects continue to impress us with their beauty and creativity. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

Do you have an incredible project to share with us?

Share in-engine stills or video of your stunning projects on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and mention both the Unreal Engine and NVIDIA accounts in your social media posts. We’ll be on the lookout!

It is always difficult selecting only three submissions. If you’ve entered previously, but haven’t been selected thus far, we encourage you to submit again.

Good luck!