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Unreal Engine 4.21 is out, now defaults to the Vulkan API on Linux

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Epic Games have released Unreal Engine 4.21 and it includes some interesting stuff on the Linux side of things.

From now, Unreal Engine will default to using the Vulkan API on Linux and fallback to OpenGL when that can't be used. This is going to be good for the future of Linux games, since it should help developers get better performance.

On top of that, it features a new media player for Linux with the bundled WebMMedia plugin which includes support for WebM VPX8/9 videos. To further improve Linux support, they now have a proper crash reporter interface so that they can "continue to improve support for Linux platforms".

That's just the improvements for Linux, there's absolutely tons more included in this release including Android and iOS optimizations as a result of Epic's work on Fornite.

It's also really nice to see Epic thank contributors, noting 121 improvements where submitted by the community to their GitHub. Although you can only access it with an Unreal Engine account.

More info on the official announcement.

Who knows, maybe now that Vulkan is in better shape in Unreal Engine, Epic Games might eventually bring Fortnite to Linux. I can dream right?

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Mohandevir 7 Nov, 2018
"Who knows, maybe now that Vulkan is in better shape in Unreal Engine, Epic Games might eventually bring Fortnite to Linux. I can dream right?"

Could be a good way to make Linux support even better... Yep! One can dream!

How is doing the Linux build of Unreal Tournament? Didn't hear about it for quite a while...


Last edited by Mohandevir on 7 November 2018 at 5:46 pm UTC
evergreen 7 Nov, 2018
epic is a nightmare for a linux user!
remember ut2007? ikkulus ultimated the port and then they decided to forbid it. who knows why... bill... continue to produce futuristic wc’s please...
ark survival evolved port? this port looks like a spot where they say: so this is linux graphic, dx is better.
I will trust in unreal engine again when they’ll stop to support dx.
x_wing 7 Nov, 2018
Quoting: GuestI dont follow the Unreal Engine Development really much. But it looks like they still dont treat Vulkan like a First Class Citizen. Maybe i'm wrong. But as long as they dont do it. I dont see for example Fortnite coming to Linux in a native way.

I doubt that they treath as second class citizen Vulkan (if so, we must say the same for Dx12). If Fortnite is using Dx11 it's just because they want to reach as much public they can (it's a freemium software, so it makes sense). If they don't make the release for Linux it's probably related with Battleye and that they don't want to pay for the Linux support (AFAIK, Battleye has a Linux client).


Last edited by x_wing on 7 November 2018 at 6:06 pm UTC
Mohandevir 7 Nov, 2018
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: Mohandevir"Who knows, maybe now that Vulkan is in better shape in Unreal Engine, Epic Games might eventually bring Fortnite to Linux. I can dream right?"

Could be a good way to make Linux support even better... Yep! One can dream!

How is doing the Linux build of Unreal Tournament? Didn't hear about it for quite a while...

They've long given up on UT4 since Fortnite became so big, last update was in june 2017

If that's true, you just confirmed what I suspected.
14 7 Nov, 2018
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Building something new is more likely than refactoring a game that's already released. Good news for the future of Linux gaming though.
Liam Dawe 7 Nov, 2018
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: x_wing
Quoting: GuestI dont follow the Unreal Engine Development really much. But it looks like they still dont treat Vulkan like a First Class Citizen. Maybe i'm wrong. But as long as they dont do it. I dont see for example Fortnite coming to Linux in a native way.

I doubt that they treath as second class citizen Vulkan (if so, we must say the same for Dx12). If Fortnite is using Dx11 it's just because they want to reach as much public they can (it's a freemium software, so it makes sense). If they don't make the release for Linux it's probably related with Battleye and that they don't want to pay for the Linux support (AFAIK, Battleye has a Linux client).

Even if they treat Vulkan as a First Class Citizen as long as they dont make it a option into their Games it doesnt matter. You could say its because of BattlEye that there is no Linux Version but i dont think so. Probably the Vulkan Support in Unreal Engine is just not "good" enough yet. You could say then they could just use OpenGL but the Performance would be way "worse" in comparison to Windows then. I mean with a Good Enough PC i guess you wouldnt notice that much. But still Vulkan is the better Option for Linux and Windows.
BattlEye has a Linux version FYI.
Mohandevir 7 Nov, 2018
From the official announcement:

"With the help of Samsung, Unreal Engine 4.21 includes all of the Vulkan engineering and optimization work that was done to help ship Fortnite on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and is 100% feature compatible with OpenGL ES 3.1. Projects that utilize Vulkan can run up to 20% faster than the same project that uses OpenGL ES."

So Fortnite IS using Vulkan, on Android... Mmmm... Interresting.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 7 November 2018 at 6:44 pm UTC
Whitewolfe80 7 Nov, 2018
While i am glad unreal have supported linux in engine I would love to see them actually release their one game fortnite. I know unreal powers many but unreal/epic itself it only has one ip since selling gears and bulletstorm
GustyGhost 7 Nov, 2018
Meanwhile on ARK:SE's upcoming features (since 2016) "Linux - Vulkan support". Here's their chance. But we all know that Wildcard will fail to take advantage of it.
bubexel 7 Nov, 2018
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Thats the battle eye on linux :P

[ 19:41:35,601 ] BattlEye: "Initialized (v1.243)"

Three of my games are using it Ark, Tibia and Arma.

BattleEye didn't had a linux version but Ark forced them to release it. Since then we have it. I doubt it's an economic problem for Epic to release a linux version.
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