Unreal Engine 4 is considered to be one of the most powerful free game engines out there for students and indie developers alike. It was developed and released by epic games in 2012 and powers the worlds of quite a few successful games like Fortnite, Dragon Ball Fighter Z, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Epic games constantly updates the engine with bug fixes, efficiency improvements, and new features on a frequent basis. They also take good care of the community by providing informative tutorials and a marketplace full of free and premium assets, plugins, etc. Every feature of the engine is well documented in the documentation section of the Unreal Engine website.
This article will help beginners explore the engine and will cover the following:
- Installing Epic Games Store
- Accessing Unreal Engine and installing the appropriate version
This article will be followed by more articles going deeper into the features of the engine. We may or may not end up making a game in the process.
Unreal Engine 4 has specific minimum hardware and software requirements. While these minimum requirements let you run the editor, I recommend using a beefier PC for more serious development. Bear in mind that these specifications are recommended by Epic Games for their latest version of Unreal Engine 4.
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit|
|Processor||Quad-Core Intel Or AMD|
|Memory||8 GB RAM|
|Video Card/DirectX version||DirectX 11 or 12 compatible graphics card|
Game developers using code-based programming to develop their games will require the installation of Visual Studio 2017 or 2019. You can use either one for your purposes as both are equally good for UE4. The rest of the prerequisites will be installed during the UE4 installation process. The full list of hardware and software specifications can be found here.
Installing UE4 – The Epic Way
The Epic Games store often receives a lot of flak from “gamers” for creating a platform that rivals steam in more ways than one. If you are one of those people: Suck it up because we are going to use the Epic games store to install the engine and look around to see what else it has to offer from a development perspective. If you are still being stubborn. then go ahead and download the full source code from GitHub and have fun manually compiling it from scratch. Since none of you are willing to do that, let’s create an Epic Games account and install the epic games store!
Setting up the Epic Games Store
- Let us begin by heading over to the Epic Games website and signing up for an Epic Games account. You can click here to go straight to the Sign Up page.
- After you have finished the sign-up process, you can go ahead and install the epic store on your PC using this link.
- Once you have downloaded the setup file, go ahead and carry out the installation process. Once done, launch your Epic Games Store and log in with your credentials.
Unreal Engine on Epic Games Store
Epic games store has a separate section for unreal engine 4. Apart from the engine itself, the section offers tutorials and content useful for both beginners and professionals alike. You can find the Unreal Engine section as the last tab on the main menu.
The Unreal Engine section houses multiple Sub-sections, each housing the blog, tutorials, marketplace and library. Those will be discussed in depth in another article. Let us now begin the process of installing Unreal Engine 4!
- Go to the “Library” sub-section. This sub-section contains local files related to unreal engine 4. “Engine Versions” section lists all installed UE4 versions. The “My Projects” section contains any and all projects (games, virtual production, Archviz etc) that you may have created in UE4.
- You can begin by clicking on the “Install Engine” button on the top right corner of the library section. This button will replace the “Launch” button that you can see in the image above.
- Once initiated, you will be prompted to choose a download location for the engine. I recommend installing the engine and any projects in local drive C or the fastest drive you have on your PC. If you have an SSD, even better.
- This goes without saying but I am going to say it anyway. Click the “Install” button!
The engine will now begin the download and installation of the latest version of UE4. That might take a while, depending on your internet speeds and PC’s performance specs. Now turn off the screen and go make a cup of Coffee!
The next article will introduce you to Unreal Engine 4. We will go over the different Project templates available for a quick start, create a project, and then explore the basic user interface of the engine.