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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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39 comments
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Whitewolfe80 7 November 2018 at 6:37 pm UTC
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 November 2018 at 6:38 pm UTC
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 November 2018 at 6:43 pm UTC
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Thats the battle eye on linux

[ 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.
Kimyrielle 7 November 2018 at 6:51 pm UTC
It IS odd that they added Linux support to their engine, but their own games do not make use of that feature. Not that I personally miss Fortnite. But it's popular, so it would be nice to have it support Linux. Our AAA games list is still short and probably the biggest remaining hindrance for Linux adoption these days.
ElectricPrism 7 November 2018 at 7:47 pm UTC
GustyGhostMeanwhile 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.

AFAIK Ark engine has sufficiently deviated from Unreal 4 Engine so they are basically both 2 different things.

The absolute clusterf _ _ k that has been Ark Engine over the years has showed how development is a un-unified uncordinated rush-fest to graft features on to a unstable core increasing technical debt.

I wonder what my game dev friends who code in unreal will think of this.
Power-Metal-Games 7 November 2018 at 7:52 pm UTC
I will test this version from tomorrow. I hope that Vulkan in UE4 is really ready for serous use.

In previous few days, for the first time, I found things that are not working at all in the Linux version and that was disappointing. I hope that it's maybe fixed in 4.21
Projectile Vomit 7 November 2018 at 8:04 pm UTC
Speaking of: What's the latest on Unreal Tournament? Is there a gui to run it, yet, or is it still run via bash script? I haven't heard much, lately.
devnull 7 November 2018 at 9:06 pm UTC
Funny thing, was just testing the old UE4 tech demos in proton LOL (they work surprisingly well).
Kristian 7 November 2018 at 9:32 pm UTC
ElectricPrism
GustyGhostMeanwhile 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.

AFAIK Ark engine has sufficiently deviated from Unreal 4 Engine so they are basically both 2 different things.

The absolute clusterf _ _ k that has been Ark Engine over the years has showed how development is a un-unified uncordinated rush-fest to graft features on to a unstable core increasing technical debt.

I wonder what my game dev friends who code in unreal will think of this.

Got any source or further info on the extent and nature of their changes to UE4?


Last edited by Kristian at 7 November 2018 at 10:14 pm UTC
jasonm 7 November 2018 at 10:11 pm UTC
GustyGhostMeanwhile 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.

Not that I'm defending Studio Wildcard for their Linux port but it's a lot more to port Ark to Vulkan than a basic UE4 update. Their engine is highly modified and upgrading isn't like installing the new engine, loading the game and tweaking, it's a major undertaking to actually port the new code in the new engine and maintain all their custom code for the game. It's highly unlikely we will see any major improvement as they surely are not getting a lot more sales from Linux clients. It doesn't honestly make sense for them to do all the work involved in porting the engine over to make it happen on a game that likely won't result in many if any more sales. Also, UE4's Linux support is less than ideal to be quite honest. Many devs have a large number of issues so honestly, you can't logically put all the blame on Studio Wildcard, some of that blame goes to Epic. Many of the massive graphics glitches in ark such as the rain, caves, dust, etc was a Linux OpenGL renderer problem that happened to be fixed on accident when they upgraded the engine right before releasing out of EA. I wish for a Vulkan port but realistically I wouldn't hold my breath.
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