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Epic 'putting a lot of thought' into using Unreal Engine in VR

"We are 100 percent in," Sweeney told Re/code during Oculus Connect last week, noting that Epic is actively working on how to make Unreal Engine comfortable and effective to use in virtual reality.
"We are 100 percent in on [VR]. It's not a platform where, today, you can go out and build a $100 million game like Gears of War. But it's coming."

- Company boss Tim Sweeney on Epic's interest in virtual reality as a platform for making and playing games.

Lots of interesting interviews came out of Oculus' second annual Connect conference in Los Angeles last week, including an intriguing Re/code Q&A with Epic chief (and apparent VR enthusiast) Tim Sweeney that Unreal game makers may appreciate.

While most VR game developers are figuring how to make better VR games, Epic is focusing on how to make games better in VR -- using its toolset, of course.

"We’re putting a lot of thought into what the Unreal Engine editor looks like as a VR application," Sweeney told Re/code, noting that using implements like a mouse, keyboard or touchscreen to create 3D games on a 2D screen imposes frustrating limits. "In VR, the experience will be dramatically better, being able to just reach out, grab objects, sculpt them and paint on surfaces, the way a real painter or sculptor would do."

Real painters and other artisans have already begun to experiment with creating things in virtual reality. Veteran Disney artist Glen Keane, for example, recently extolled the virtues of painting in VR using a prototype HTC Vive VR headset and its TiltBrush 3D art app. His experience sounds similar to what Sweeney envisions the Unreal Engine editor might look like as a VR app -- once the technology makes it feasible.

"It’s going to take a lot of advancement in the tools, and before it’s really reached the sweet spot, it’s going to take advances in the hardware, too," said Sweeney. "I look at that from the point of view of a game developer, but I also look at it from the point of view of every architect or industrial designer. They don’t want to work on some piece of graph paper and some abstract coordinate system. They want to be in that space."

You can (and should) read the rest of Sweeney's comments over on Re/code for more insight into how Epic is adapting to tackle VR and where it perceives itself in the market relative to competitors like Unity.

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