Introducing our new Unreal Engine plugin

With the release of 9.1, we are happy to announce our new Unreal Engine plugin. The Gold Standard in 3D content optimization for Unreal Engine users, in a new packaging. This blog will cover the key development areas and highlight some of the features of the plugin.

Plug and Play

In the past, we have had multiple flavors of the integration. You could choose between a basic and an advanced one, which was a choice between ease of use versus feature richness. A frequent ask from our customers was a simplfied integration process for the advanced integration. For Simplygon 9.0, we tackled this by moving our advanced integration into a plugin, while ensuring that we had feature parity with our old, to be discontinued, advanced integration. With the plug and play nature of the plugin, getting started with Simplygon is now more streamlined both for teams using the vanilla engine or a customized version.

Powered by Simplygon Pipelines for task distribution

A feature highlight for Simplygon 9.0 was the introduction of pipelines. Pipelines streamline the process of setting up an automated content pipeline using the Simplygon API. Moreover, they make it easier to run tasks locally or distribute them using the Simplygon Grid. As the pipelines matured during the development of 9.0 we integrated them into our Unreal Engine plugin. All processing done through the plugin can easily be distributed with little setup cost. You can read more about Simplygon Grid and Pipelines here.

Extensible building blocks for developers

Another key area of the plugin was to provide developers a set of building blocks they could use to build upon. We now provide a public interface method to allow developers to easily setup and run pipelines and provide utility methods for data transport between Unreal Engine and Simplygon API. We built our editor tool around these public interfaces and building blocks. This should allow developers who want to setup their own workflows or editor tools based around Simplygon a jump start to their asset pipeline development.

World class 3D content optimization

The new Simplygon Unreal Engine plugin provides a great set of features for your 3D content optimization needs. Following are some feature highlights:

LOD Recipes

With LOD Recipes we bring a new workflow for our users for creating their Static and Skeletal Mesh LODs. LOD Recipes provide you a complimentary approach to traditional LOD creation through the Static Mesh Editor or Persona Editor. LOD Recipes expose the full range of settings for our different pipelines. To learn more about LOD Recipes and how to get started see LOD Recipe -Quick Start. We will be covering this in more detail in a later blog post.

Standin Actors

Standin Actors provide a non-destructive workflow for users to bake out background meshes using proxies or leverage scene collapse and hollow shell merge for kit bashing based workflows. To get started with Standin Actor see Standin Quick Start. We will be covering Standin workflow in more detail in a later blog post.

HLOD and Level Streaming LODs

Simplygon hooks into Unreal Engine's HLOD system and Level Streaming LODs (World Composition) . You can easily create proxies using Simplygon for HLOD and Level Streaming LODs. With HLOD like before users have the ability to tag Landscape actors as culling geometries. Fore more details on using Simplygon with HLOD see HLOD Quick Start.

And more ..

Additionally we have made some enhancements including clipping planes, clipping geometries and NavMesh guided visibility based importance sampling. We will be covering the above features in more detail in upcoming blogs tailored for our Unreal Engine users. So stay tuned and stay safe.

A quick speed run of the plugin in action
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