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Unreal Engine 4.17 released with expanded Vulkan support

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Epic Games have released Unreal Engine 4.17 which comes with some nice improvements to their handling of Vulkan.

Hopefully with Epic putting some real focus on Vulkan, that developers using Unreal Engine will start using it on Linux instead of OpenGL, which has caused multiple developers headaches. We've heard from the developers behind EVERSPACE, as the most recent example who seem to be having many issues. I don't imagine upgrading to a new UE release as being simple to do, but maybe they will be able to and take advantage of Vulkan.

With Unreal Engine 4.17, Vulkan now uses Shader Model 5 by default. They also completed a Vulkan refactoring which they say "brings stability and correctness to SM5 and Editor". They've also worked out some stability fixes for Vulkan, to make it a better experience overall.

Unreal Engine isn't developed by Epic alone any more, they note that this release actually includes around 90 improvements made by the community, since their code is available on github. This includes work contributed by people like Timothee Besset (TTimo) who mostly recently ported Rocket League, Sam Hocevar of Dontnod the Life is Strange developer and plenty of other awesome people.

As expected, there's masses of other changes that come with this new version of Unreal Engine, with the changelog being really quite long. See the full release notes here.

Thanks for the tip, Raven!
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salamanderrake 8 August 2017 at 8:16 pm UTC
There is some stability and performance issues with Vulkan and the Editor on Linux, would still be more advisable to use OpenGL4 as the default in the editor but target and stage/build for Vulkan.
DarkMavrik 8 August 2017 at 8:18 pm UTC
I am super excited about this, I have been developing in unreal engine for months, I just hope they improve the native editor on linux since it is extremely complicated and buggy in current form.
salamanderrake 8 August 2017 at 9:31 pm UTC
Here is a video of UE4 4.17 running with vulkan in the editor,
I wouldn't use vulkan for the editor for production atm as its still quite a bit unstable, but you can't set vulkan sm4/sm5 under Project Settings -> Platforms -> Linux.

*Edit* Compare against using the default OpenGL 4.3 in editor.

Last edited by salamanderrake at 8 August 2017 at 10:16 pm UTC
rea987 8 August 2017 at 9:37 pm UTC
Timothee Besset? Man, this is the guy we owe our gaming enjoyment during the dark days of Linux gaming.

  • Quake III Arena
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
  • Doom 3
  • Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil
  • Quake 4
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
  • Quake Live

In fact, I just played an ETQW clan match and I still cannot believe that I am able to play such masterpiece on Linux natively. I hope he keeps making quality contribution to UE4.
Zaxth 8 August 2017 at 11:15 pm UTC
For all of Epic's talk of how much they like Linux. And how little trust their CEO has in Microsoft. They've done nothing to support the platform. It's just a happy accident, due to their open sourced engine. Their latest game "Fortnite" has no support for Linux either. Supports Mac though.
ison111 9 August 2017 at 12:47 am UTC
I really hope the next version of UT has Vulkan support. There's still graphical bugs that have been around almost since the beginning which a Vulkan version would probably have fixed for free.

Actually it probably won't happen on the next release since even on the roadmap for the engine it still doesn't list "Vulkan support for PC and Linux" under the current release, while it shows up under Future Releases instead.
Still it's good to see them starting to work on it some more.

Last edited by ison111 at 9 August 2017 at 12:52 am UTC. Edited 2 times.
Jaromir 9 August 2017 at 8:35 am UTC
ZaxthTheir latest game "Fortnite" has no support for Linux either. Supports Mac though.

I think that they focus on the UE and Windows (+ PS4) compatibility because these are the platforms where the money is. A large amount of their custom code and libraries run only on Windows and PS4 (and sometimes Mac) at this time. I hope that they will put more effort in Linux support in the future, especially for PARAGON.
evergreen 9 August 2017 at 10:35 am UTC
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Hope that Ark will be updated soon on last UE... lol!!!
Power-Metal-Games 9 August 2017 at 11:40 am UTC
As someone who uses UE4 everyday and on Linux, I couldn't care less about Vulkan. All I want is that UE4 finally can be used „normally“ as it's possible on Windows. It's so painful to everyday use a blueprint editor that is lagging without any reason on a cpu and a gpu that costs more than 1500€. Unfortunately, from 4.13 to 4.16 almost no changes. It looks that so few work is needed for UE4 to become fully usable on Linux and I'm hoping about that with every new release, but it seems that true is that Epic simply doesn't care at all to anything else than Windows and PS4.
At last when I copy my project entirely done on Linux to Windows partition and try to run it there, it's always working without any problem. That's great, in fact. After all, I got habituated. Now hopping that 4.17 will finally bring something new. Downloading today and compiling to test it...
ison111 9 August 2017 at 3:46 pm UTC
Power-Metal-GamesAs someone who uses UE4 everyday and on Linux, I couldn't care less about Vulkan. All I want is that UE4 finally can be used „normally“ as it's possible on Windows.
I don't understand why you wouldn't be excited for Vulkan then.

UE4 doesn't seem to be changing with each new release probably because they just aren't working on the OpenGL side very much. So we retain bugs.

But Vulkan is a game changer in that regard. It bridges the gap between Windows and Linux development cycles. Even among windows users Vulkan is in high demand among those who can't use DX12 (because they don't want to switch to windows10)
So Vulkan would receive regular updates and bug fixes which would directly effect us on Linux. Even if Epic forgets about us, with Vulkan we'd still feel like first class citizens.

Not to mention Vulkan is supposed to be a much simpler and more bare bones api, meaning that all development on it is going to be more implementation independent, and performance on both Windows and Linux should always be quite similar for free, without them having to do much special development for just Linux.
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