Using UE4 as renderer

Do you know whether UE4 engine can be used (integrated) as a renderer in prototyping simulation software?
Any tutorial / walk through is very welcome!

Realistic Renderer - Yes.

Simulator - Not sure, if the simulation was animation based then yes but if it was physics based i’m not sure you could get the accuracy you’re looking for with a and game engine.

There is no documentation for either at this point that i am aware of but there is a content asset being released soon on the market place for realistic rendering.

What exactly do you mean by simulation software? Like for a visualization of physics simulation?

The UE4 renderer is closely integrated with the engine. The interface is only tightly controlled when it comes to thread safety due to the renderer running on another thread. It can’t really be run as a standalone receiving messages in its current form. The engine side creates and holds onto resources for example. Anything is possible with source code access but disconnecting the renderer from the engine and connecting it to other code would be a large undertaking.

The engine in general could be made update its state from communicating with an outside app. I believe there was some work done with interacting with some animation software in a similar way, someone else is better to talk about that if I remember it correctly.

If real-time preview wasn’t the purpose, a sim could be stored in fbx format and loaded into the engine.

If you mean simulation like a military training simulator then UE4 is great solution.

While we don’t have a tutorial or walk through for how to integrate UE4 with other software, we do believe it’s a great solution for simulation software.

Your best bet is to integrate your “secret sauce” piece with the engine itself and use the engine’s existing systems to drive the visuals.

Hi Brian,
Thanks for detailed answer.
Yes, I used “simulation” in a sense you got it - like, for instance, the visualization “canvas” in SpeedTree. Unfortunately looks like I cannot use UE4 with that intention in mind, looks like I will use preusdo-renderer I developed in my proprietary simulation software (It’s for procedurally generated assets like stones and materials, for now) while writing into fbx and then running UE Engine for a detailed result.

Thanks, Paul,

I actually never though in that perspective. Just to be sure, you meant to integrate it as interface “add-on” into UE Editor? If yes, while that would be an option, the software itself in it’s intention is actually generating visual assets (it’s not a “secret sauce” :slight_smile: - it’s for procedurally generated assets like stones and materials, for now), so that usage scenario is perhaps worth in the initial visual debugging state of my software.
Any ideas that didn’t cross my mind :slight_smile: are very welcome, thx!


That sounds like it would be a neat add-in to Unreal Engine :-). I’m sure others would find it very useful as well if you integrated it and then shared it or sold it as a UE4 plugin.

Agreed! Procedural rock geometry and materials would be great functionality to have as a tool in UE4.

Hey Paul? is there going to be a set of tutroials (hopefully video) on plugin creation and usage in UE4? and at what state is it now? i understand the plugin system isn’t complete yet, true?

Hi Marionette,

The plugin system is largely complete and a number of pieces of the editor (as well as a few runtime components) are built as plugins already. However, not all systems are equally ‘pluggable’, with the render-thread side of the rendering system being one of the notable ones. You can create custom scene render proxies in a plugin, but doing something more advanced on the render thread may require engine modifications. If you run into any issues where something is not DLL exported or extensible from a plugin (rendering or otherwise), please feel free to open a dialogue on AnswerHub or submit a pull request from GitHub.

I don’t know if we already have plans for a plugin tutorial or not, I’ll ask around. However, if you want to get started, have a look at the FootIK plugin in StrategyGame. It shows how to build a small plugin that has both a runtime and an editor-only module.

Michael Noland

Thanks Michael, i have the source, however i didn’t want to make any changes to the engine code until i knew what was WIP etc. is there a list of features/fixes/implementations somewhere?

Ideally, what i’d like to do is create a plugin that exposes custom geometry with LOD, for both the editor and runtime. i’m assuming the rendering stuff that you mentioned, is what i would need, isn’t feature complete, correct? or is that part already done?

i’ve seen the custom mesh component as well, but i’m not sure of it’s use in the editor etc. i mean i’ve seen the component, but i can’t add it to a BP, and i can’t seem to find many details on how one would use the type of plugin i’m talking about. should it be a brush or component? can i delineate between the 2? is there a difference and if so, what?

so many questions :wink: