UE4 “Zen Garden” using Metal API for iOS 8 revealed at WWDC

On behalf of Josh Adams at the WWDC:


Today at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced Metal, a new low-level rendering API designed to dramatically improve the CPU efficiency of rendering on iOS devices.

Tim Sweeney and I were on-stage to talk about the experience we at Epic Games have had working with Metal, and to show Zen Garden – a beautiful environment built in Unreal Engine 4 to demonstrate the kinds of vibrant dynamic scenes and enormous vistas made possible by Metal’s order-of-magnitude increases in efficiency.

To see the demonstration, watch Apple’s WWDC keynote and jump to (99:32) for the unveiling of Metal.

We are very excited about the new levels of graphical quality and efficiency made possible by Metal, and will be making Zen Garden available in the App Store after iOS 8’s public release, as well as making the Metal code in Unreal Engine 4 available at an appropriate time after the beta access NDAs are lifted.

What did you think about today’s news? Post your thoughts below.

The video lags like hell in all my browsers and appearantly there is no way to jump to 99:32 without loading the whole video first, do you also have it on a useful site like youtube?


The Zen Garden demo today was super impressive. Just jaw-droppingly good. Congrats all around.

Can you tell us if/when we’ll be able to get builds of UE4 that support Metal?

Zen Garden looks great. Loved how - even with all the butterflies / leaves - the fill rate didn’t seem to affect performance one bit. I’d like to know stats on things like FPS, draw calls, and content scale factor (it being an iPad Air, im assuming scale factor of two). Really impressive stuff.

Depends on Apple it seems;

We’ll release the Metal code in GitHub as soon as the Apple code NDA’s are lifted, and it will subsequently be available through the launcher in the next UE4 release to follow. We are guessing the GitHub release will coincide with the public release of iOS 8, and we’ll let everyone know if there is an opportunity to release it earlier.

We’re really excited about the things Metal makes possible as a result of its 10x increase in the CPU efficiency of rendering. It really blurs the line between what’s possible on high-end computers and iPhone/iPad!

This definitely seems like an intersting opportunity for nimble Indie Devs to wow people, before everyone else starts using it. So definitely keeping an eye on this! :slight_smile:

Well done Epic thank you for contributing towards developers to help us create the next immersive experiences for people on the move.

It was so awesome i was like wow and screaming at my work office in front of coworkers watching through Apple-TV. It was INCREDIBLE!!! I am so so looking forward to going through the Metal and its possibilities. Tim and Josh came out and i started screaming like BIG Surprise :). Good for us iOS, Mac and Game Developers :).

Will the metal api also be used for Os x 10.10 gaming ? The performance of UE4 on the fastest Mac Book pro is not to write home about and the display is not as sharp as other games i play. Please give the desktop Mac version some love.

I agree with you honestly. But i think Apple first wants to test and improve further the metal api and make it available on desktop OS X as well that is pretty logical. But sure first thing first i would like to see the smooth code completion of UE4 on Xcode coding as well which i am trying to crash it down :). But still i am happy that UE4 actually available now on mac os x. Of course more polish and improvements are to come from the community as well.

I don’t think Metal is heading for MacBooks this time around, as the keynote said it was focused to take charge of the A7 processor.

Absolutely awesome! I second what iveytron has said about being able to see the performance breakdown of the demo.

The Zen demo looked absolutely amazing, my jaw literally dropped :stuck_out_tongue:

Is there any chance that Apple developer program members would be able to see the UE4 metal specific code earlier (since we have access to the iOS8 and are under NDA anyways), similarly to how playstation and xbox developers get access to the code specific to their platform?

Also will the Zen level be released on the Marketplace as well? Quite a few really interesting features there that I would love to take a peak at :stuck_out_tongue:

I do hope metal makes its way also in OSX, a performance boost on current macbooks and the possibility to work around current opengl limitations would be super welcome. From the speech at the WWDC I didn’t hear mention to OSX support. Anybody from Epic?

Tim and the Zen Garden is at 1:39:56

Tim, i loved the demo you gave for Metal, it was very interesting and inspiring to see just what you guys have accomplished in such a short time with UE4 overall.

Are there any major reason for licensed iOS developers not being able to get a pre-public build with Metal? Is it because you cannot validate who is a developer without breaking the current SDK NDA?

I think the only way it is possible is releasing through developer.apple.com website.

I don’t neccesarily think they would be forced to release it through the developer.apple.com site, but they would need some way of addressing the NDA license issue. It’s a bit weird Apple hasn’t made some kind of API that can validate iOS licensees in situations like these so third parties like Epic can push out these new features without breaking the NDA between Apple and the developer.

Seeing how Metal is only an A7 (and logically upwards) feature, do we know how a deployed Metal supported program binary on the App store will behave if installed on a normal OpenGL only device like the A6 devices? Will it refuse to run, fall back to OpenGL or how will this process be handled?

Just simply amazing. Your demo floored me. I was chatting with my dev partner today and we realized that we are now just limited to what we can design, not the hardware. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

So, can…can we uh, see that demo as a sample project sometime? Or does it have some NDA related to Apple in it?