Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video Starting points: VR templates, part of Unreal: Virtual Reality for Architectural & Industrial Visualization.
- [Narrator] Let's take a look at how to set up a virtual reality project for visualization in the Unreal Engine. So, a couple things to note before we do that. I'm using the HTC Vive, which runs off of SteamVR. And if you have SteamVR installed and running, you should see something like this little UI that's draggable around here. And it'll show that our controllers are ready, and if I move my headset around right now, it is also ready as well. So, I'm going to jump into the Epic Games Launcher, and this is going to be our UI, our ecosystem to get into Unreal Engine.
And what we're going to do from here is take a look at some starting points for building a virtual reality project. Now, the Epic Games Launcher, when it launched up, I should point out that the version of the Engine I'm running might be different than the version that you're running. You can see that I'm running Unreal Engine 4.14, which is the current release at time of this building of this course. You may be running a newer version. What I'm doing here is applicable and everything will run very much the same way. So, what we're going to do is launch Unreal Engine, and we're going to take a look at some of these new starter templates that have just been developed and just released.
Actually, as of version 4.13, some formal virtual reality templates have been added, which make life a lot easier to develop for VR in Unreal Engine. So, if you have access to the exercise files that I've provided for this course, you're going to see a couple of projects in this window, namely the VR Vive Test. Let's go to the new project tab, and take a look at how that was constructed. If you don't have access to the exercise files, this is exactly what you would do to build the exact same base platform to get you going with a virtual reality visualization project.
So, you can see in the blueprints here, we have many different templates. Namely what we're after is this virtual reality template. And if we go underneath the code based projects, you'll see that that is not available as of yet. So, this is actually available only as a blueprint template currently, but this is the virtual reality starter template that we want to work with to build our visualization project for VR. Now, if you're building this for the first time, you want to have it set to desktop and console, keep maximum quality the same, and it's your choice in the starter content, If you want to have that in your project or if you don't.
Having it in the project gives you access to many cool and interesting little pieces, meshes, materials, things that can help you with building your project. But it does have the cost of making your project a little more physically bigger in size. So, you would simply define your project location and a project name, and with that virtual reality icon selected, hit create project and it'll create a project. Now, I already have a project set up here. It says VR Vive Test. I'm going to go ahead and open that project. The end result that we're going to see here would be exactly the same if you just went ahead and created a project like I just outlined or if you jump into my project that I've already assembled for you.
You're going to see the exact same scenario to start with here anyways. So, here we are in the virtual reality template in Unreal Engine 4, and what we are concerned with here is this option number two. Because I'm using the Vive, which has motion controllers, and you can see head mounted display and motion controller. That's all we want to use. This little VR template, this is nothing more than a visual cue here. So, we want to go into our content browser, and along the left, if you go down to the bottom, you'll see virtual reality BP, which stands for virtual reality blueprints. We're going to jump into the maps folder, and this is where our real starter scenes exist within this virtual reality template project.
The one that we're concerned with here is Motion Controller Map. Double click that. You'll see that's going to launch up a scene that has some basic elements in it here, some cubes and things like that. But I want to point out that the VR template is not just a simple place to start with as a demo scene. It's actually calibrated for virtual reality, so it takes into consideration performance enhancements and rendering for virtual reality, because rendering for virtual reality is actually very intensive, and at the end of the day, you're actually rendering twice, right? You have two screens, two eyes that need to be rendered, so it can be very intense on your hardware.
So, this template takes into consideration all of that, to help you build a good performance virtual reality project. So, one of the other things I want to point out before we jump into this space to see how it works, we want to look at the view port, and just up above, you'll see the play icon has this little virtual reality icon already set for us. Now, if we click that down arrow, you'll see that it's set to VR preview. That is available. If you have VR capabilities, you have a headset, that is available whether you're in this template or not, providing you have a VR headset.
So, I just want to point out that that's what this is set to, so that we can jump into virtual reality here. So, that's what we're going to do. Let's get the headset and the controllers and jump in and see how this works as a VR starting point. Once we're set up, we'll just simply go ahead and hit the play button, and that's going to bring us into our virtual reality space. Now, my screen capture is simply going to show just a version of what is being seen, essentially a screen version of it. But of course, it's not going to show the full experience of a virtual reality scenario, but the idea's the same here that at least we can describe or show the basic components that we require for our project.
You'll see that we start off with these simple hands, and they're simply replacing the controllers. You could, if you wanted to, replace these with other geometry or remove them completely. But the key with this virtual reality template is what it provides us to start with. So, most notably are things like the ability to use the controllers to teleport around. So, as you can see right now, the scale might look a little strange, and that's simply because I am seated. So, the entire set-up does take into consideration that I am in my space. I was seated, now I'm standing up here. And now, with the controllers in my hand, if I simply take any of the thumb pads and just hold one of them down, whether you're left handed or right handed, it doesn't matter.
I'm going to get this nice little visual cue that's going to bring me around the scene, and it's going to give me a landing point. And once I release that, wherever that landing point is, for example, if I want to go to this lightened square in the middle of these four here, and I release I'm now over there, into that space. So, I can very quickly move around into this space. And this is called teleporting, or teleportation, for a virtual reality. So, the key with this scene that we're working with here is that we have the ability to actually start with this stuff here.
Now, of course, we don't want all of this simple scene in here, but what we do want is this teleportation ability in here and then we do want the ability to take advantage of the performance enhancements that have been set up in this template, something that's going to be a little more conducive than a regular first person project, for example. So, what we're going to do now is port our assets into here and begin to build our virtual reality project into something a little bigger.
- Considering VR as a presentation tool and a design tool
- Selecting your VR gear
- Migrating projects
- VR scene adjustment tips
- Real-world scale in VR
- Textures, details, and navigation in VR
- Dealing with motion and VR sickness