Unreal Engine 5: An Interview With One of Our VR Developers

September 29, 2023
-min read

Behind every VR experience is a team of skilled developers. A team that paves the road to the metaverse or, in our case, one that creates photorealistic, like-for-like builds that show people exactly what their dream homes will look like before they exist. 

Whether you build properties in VR or using brick and mortar, every craftsman needs their tools. At View Studios, our tool of choice is Unreal Engine 5. But even that comes with its challenges.

Our lead VR developer, Terence Moore, answers your most prominent questions about Unreal Engine 5 and shares his thoughts on UE’s place in VR’s future.

1. Can you walk us through your typical workflow when starting a new VR project in Unreal Engine 5?

What gives us our competitive edge is that our artists are constantly building assets, and our developers are constantly testing new interactions for our environments. When we are ready to start a new project, we can create a branch from our existing templates, import the structure of the building we are working on, and immediately start utilizing all the high-quality assets we have available.

2. Unreal Engine 5 promises high-fidelity graphics; how does this level of detail affect VR development in terms of both opportunities and challenges?

Unreal enables us to deliver stunning photorealism in VR thanks to it offering such accurate in-engine physics. While this level of granularity grants the user a great deal of creative freedom to create immersive environments, it also means there is a fairly steep learning curve for perfecting and developing accurate lighting in your projects.

3. What best practices in Unreal Engine 5 would you recommend for someone new to VR development?

Learn from as many resources as possible. Epic offers a lot of free courses and seminars, YouTube is great for collaborative learning. Primarily, it's important to get stuck into the software, make mistakes, and learn. The most useful advice I could give is to first plan what you'd like to create, gather references, and then start in unreal so that you have a focused goal in mind.

4. How would you describe the development experience for VR in Unreal Engine 5 compared to its predecessors?

UE 5 brought with it not only incredible performance and machine learning improvements but also UI improvements compared to 4.27. With the addition of lumen and nanite, smaller teams like ourselves can compete with global studios.

5. As Unreal Engine 5 becomes more widely adopted, how do you see it shaping the future of VR development?

With all of the resources and learnings offered by Epic Games, it will be increasingly easier for Indie teams and solo developers to get started in VR development and actually produce fantastic projects as the barriers to entry finally begin to lower. It's less necessary to have massive teams of specialists and more useful to have one or a few generalists who are creative and passionate.