I’d like to run a standard unreal binary in headless mode as I just want to run it in the background to simulate physics and output to a log. Is it possible to do this, or must I compile a dedicated server to achieve headless / background mode, even if I don’t want to use any unreal networking features?
Can you explain what you mean by “headless mode”? There should be no problem with opening the editor and having it in the background while another program has focus (this is what I assume you mean). Keep in mind that when the editor does not have focus, the FPS and memory usage drop in order to save on resources while continuing to run.
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I assume that they mean that the executable should run without opening a window.
Such a feature is particularly useful in automated environments (build machines, automated tests setups) where processes are not necessarily allowed to open operating system windows and where the presence of such window only brings undesirable potential input events which are irrelevant to the action (build/coook/tests/etc.) being undertaken.