UE4 on Linux Must Be Improved

Hello, Unreal Engine 4 team!

I’ve been using Unreal Engine 4 for a month now. I can surely tell that engine has amazing features, even though it lacks some car physics components, but it’s a game-specific thing that I’ll most likely make myself. I am really excited about the fact that I can use node-based editors for all - logic, materials, control of components. I also love the fact that viewport has almost as good graphics as the runtime game. Graphical features are extremely cool. And it’s very easy to set all up. Also it’s easy to understand what does what. However, as I am working on Linux machine(and only on Linux machine, and always on Linux machine), never even planning to touch Windows, than I am kind of disappointed that there aren’t yet full features aviable on Linux. First things first - the shader model. Yes. On Linux we still have the old Shader Model 4. It doesn’t feature tessellation which is important and major graphics components in modern games. I know that OpenGL has no problems handling tessellation, it’s just that UE4 hasn’t implemented it for OpenGL yet. Secondly, the current OpenGL version isn’t the lates one(even though it’s still very recent one). Newer versions feature many optimizations and things that can improve graphics. It also expands some limitations. All in all, OpenGL and shader model updates for Linux are majorly important to me(and I’m sure - to many others too).

Also some people may find it a bit complicated to build the UE4 via compilers. Building it once wouldn’t be problem. But the problem is that it needs to be rebuilt for every single version. And the build times are extremely long(for me it took like 5 hours to build UE4). It would be cool if there would be some sort of fast update option once the UE4 is installed. Propably it’s not that easy, however, it would be good anyways if each update would take at least 2 times less time than initial build.

And lastly, the loading. Firstly, whenever I click on executable to open the UE4 project browser I have to wait like 2 minutes before it opens. Yeah - that’s a lot of time. And than I click on project to open it, but result in waiting 3 more minutes until project loads up into UE4 editor(I mean blank project - I haven’t tested with huge projects, but my biggest project can take up to 5 minutes). Note that I have got pretty decent laptop(Lenovo IdeaPad Y700 with GTX960M) and thus it shouldn’t be that long.

I hope that UE4 team finds those statements useful for improving the Linux user experience with Unreal Engine 4.

Greetings to everyone and have a nice day,
Adrians Netlis

Patches welcome.

You are right. I will be working over the huge commercial project and don’t want to touch Windows either. For me, the worst thing is the lack of cross-compilation on Linux because I have to build for many platforms. Unity Team made a very good Unity Editor for Linux.

I was told that UE4 on Linux isn’t a priority because there are too few Linux users. But we don’t know how many Linux users are in reality. We can’t use the official stats. And the fact is that in spite of all these problems, more and more people use Linux.

Linux has a 0.81% and Windows has 95.7% user base according to Steam.

UE4 does support tessellation on Linux along with OpenGL4 (SM5).

There are bugs, and we still don’t have the launcher.

@Gwenn, Can you tell me what should I do to enable SM5 on Linux in Unreal Engine 4? Don’t tell me to use the section aviable in settings as it only offers mobile and SM4, not SM5.
@Reko, It’s statistic of people who have Steam accounts and play games not people who are making games. Most of Linux users are developers, coders, programmers etc. as those people groupes tends to choose Linux(knowing it’s huge advantages over Windows). And thus relatively bigger % of UE4 users are Linux users than in Steam statistics. I expect this number to be around 3-5% which is more or less equalient to Mac. And I’m indeed hoping that this number grows soon.
@Tomza, Yup, many Linux users don’t tell that they are Linux users. Also, how Epic collect the amount of Linux users?

Just run the engine with -opengl4.

This is not the first time Linux improvements where suggested. you won’t get an answer from epic, it’s not a priority. Even the Linux port you’re enjoying now was made possible with a community effort.

Tim also talked about the lack of a unified binary distribution model for Linux, and no company wants to compile and test their software on 10 different Linux distros

If you statically link on Linux, you can run on pretty much any distribution. The real interface is then the device driver interfaces, and the kernel syscall interface.
As long as you statically link reasonably mature versions of libc, libopengl, etc (rather than the bleeding edge,) you will get a highly compatible, run-everywhere, binary.

Hi! Thanks for information. It’s great to know that I can run UE4 with SM5 on Linux.

Snap or Flatpak?

I use a Windows based machine for working with Unreal Engine 4.
All other machines in the house - including those for me kids - run some form of Linux.
I would like to swap over to Linux completely, but UE4 Linux support - or lack thereof - makes me hesitant.

There are many powerful, easy to use distributions of Linux that your average Joe could use if only they support more games.
As it is, we’re stuck in the viscous cycle of not making games for Linux because people don’t run Linux and people not running Linux because no one is making games for Linux.


I know that Valve has made a push to support Linux with many of its titles and that, in the past at least, so did iD Software.
Usually though, bigger developers and publishes just won’t waste the funds and smaller developers can’t afford too :frowning:

The same! All the software I need run on Linux. Only UE4 on Linux sucks. Unity Team made the version of Unity for Linux.

UE4 does work on Linux. Most information in this thread is simply false, as explained later on.

What doesn’t work is the launcher. You have to build UE4 first.

I just today compiled a version of my game, Riders of Asgard, for Linux and released it. I also do a Windows Cross-Compile build and it worked as well. As @Gwenn states, in order to get the editor working on Linux, you have to build it … Epic does not release a native binary on Linux for the editor.

It is quite simple to build it on Linux and I have done it several times.

The launcher doesn’t work on Linux and that is primarily what the main problem is, I overcome this by adding the assets I need to my project on Windows and then opening it in Linux … it is a workaround but one that works.

Personally I don’t actually develop in Linux, but that is mainly because most of my pipeline and workflow is based on Windows tools.

My own game is developed with Linux : the content guy is on Windows (personal preference), the code guy on Linux (personal preference), we both have experience with both systems and we’ll ship on both systems.

After two years in development, we only found small differences between both, outside of the launcher obviously. Small differences between shaders on float precision, C++/HLSL warnings on one system that don’t exist on another, and lesser performance on Linux. Some time ago there was also a different mouse & focus behavior on Linux.

Honestly, Linux support is far from being bad.

Please tell me - is UE4 on Linux on the same level like is on Windows? The same quality of graphics, the same tools available, etc. Compilation UE4 for Linux isn’t a problem for me. The main problem is the cross-compilation. How can I build on Linux for other platforms than Linux itself? And having snap/flatpak the UE4 binary version on Linux can be easy done. One build for all distros? Is it really so difficult?

Good to know. I’m buying a new powerful computer and it is with Windows 10. It’s disaster for me because I would love to sue Linux for that. Really, I can compile UE4 on Linux, but what with cross-compilation. Somebody from Epic Team told me that cross-compilation only on Windows. Some people use workarounds. Can somebody fix it to use cross-compilation on Linux?

@Tomza: To be honest I have never compiled or packaged on Linux for Windows … it is not something I have even considered doing.

I package for Mac on my Mac Dev Machine that runs Unreal Editor on Mac.
I package for Windows and Linux on my Windows Dev Machine that runs Unreal Editor on Windows.

I use my Linux machine as a test machine to make sure the binaries built using the tool chain work. I did compile the editor on Linux, but that was just to make sure I had all the right libraries and prove that it was possible. I am sorry but I have not tried to compile for other platforms on Linux and I can’t really say if it is even possible or not.

Cross-compilation is not the answer.

Building the game isn’t enough, you need to test it, ensure it works as well on Windows and Linux. Having a dual boot is the best way to ship on both systems, and given how Windows is usually pre-installed, having both systems is basically free. Mac OSX is a different story…