A new tool for Unreal Engine developers to export to the web


A Canadian startup called Fantastic interactive It’s creating a platform to turn around. Unreal engine Apps that migrate to HTML 5 apps, which will have “near-native performance and lightning-fast load times.” I spoke to the founders to find out why an Unreal Engine developer would want to create a browser version of their app. Robert Stewart And Alex St.

To quickly set the context: Unreal Engine is a popular 3D computer graphics game engine by Epic Games. The new generation Unreal Engine 5 was launched in April 2022. What Wonder Interactive is developing only supports Unreal Engine 4 at this point, but the company says it’s working on support for 5.

Developers get it

Wonder Interactive has developed an SDK, which is a plug-in to Unreal Engine 4. This allows developers to port their applications to HTML5, supported by WebGL 2.0 for versions 4.24-4.27 (the latter released before version 5).

In addition, the startup has an online dashboard for developers, which allows them to run their Unreal Engine applications in the browser. By default, this is private to the developer, but you can choose to make the app public. It means that the web application is hosted on Wonder Interactive.

All of this is currently in private beta, but the company says it will open it up to more developers soon.

One of the reasons game companies like Epic Games focus primarily on native clients like Sony Playstation or Microsoft Xbox, or apps like Windows or Android, is that games are serious bandwidth hogs. It’s something the web has traditionally struggled with. But Wonder Interactive thinks that its own proprietary “asset streaming” software has solved the bandwidth limitations in the browser. This allows the app to install in parts instead of all at once.

“Basically how that works is that only the data that needs to be in memory is stored in memory,” said Stewart, the company’s technical lead. “And only the information that needs to be stored in the cache is stored in the cache, which means the browser’s cache.”

Is it a feature or a platform?

The million dollar question here is: Doesn’t Epic Games already have an export option for HTML5?

Well, it was before, but Epic Games announced As of December 2019, as of Unreal Engine 4.24, “HTML5 platform support has been moved out of the engine and into an official platform extension”. on GitHub. However, there has been almost no activity on the GitHub project for the past two years, so this “community-supported HTML5 platform extension” seems to lack a community.

According to St. Louis, it was a business decision by Epic Games to drop support for exporting HTML5. “They really didn’t want to invest a lot of money in making this work,” he said. “They only had WebGL 1 support [and] They haven’t really seen much adoption. It was a Catch-22 for developers because they [Epic Games] It didn’t really make it work.

He added that “browser technology has come a long way in the last few years,” and he and Stewart saw an opportunity to give the Unreal Engine developers the option to send to the web again.

The danger, of course, is that Wonder Interactive may be building a feature — not a platform. What if Epic Games decides to add support for HTML5? Stewart says they’ve had discussions with Epic Games, and despite initial skepticism from the big game company, there’s now “a lot more interest in investing in this as a platform than there was before.” He added: “It’s been a long time coming to have this in a local engine. […] Like plugins.

Wonder Interactive is also planning to open source “parts of our software,” presumably to reduce the risk of over-reliance on the Epic platform. “We’re not open-sourcing our asset transfer tool or openly opening the platform,” Stewart said. Just support the web.

Unlock Metaverse Implications

Wonder Interactive is a very small startup based in Canada that is developing web exporters for game engines. In addition to Unreal Engine, the company said it will develop similar export functionality for Unity, the open-source Godot games engine, and Amazon’s Open 3D Engine (O3DE). But right now it seems he has enough on his plate with building plugins for Unreal Engine 5 – not to mention a planned upgrade from WebGL support to WebGPU.

All this is to say, it remains to be seen if Stewart and St. Louis can prepare their debuts for the full stage. I like the idea of ​​enabling Unreal Engine developers (and Unity developers!) to upload their apps to the web, because that’s what will help move Open MetaVas forward. Interoperability is a key issue for the metaverse, and the Web is our collective best bet for achieving it. So I hope Wonder Interactive intervenes on this; But now it’s more of a feature than a platform.

group Created by Sketch.

We offer you some site tools and assistance to get the best result in daily life by taking advantage of simple experiences