Unreal Engine 4.7 has been released recently adding a lot of interesting features. Full description can be found in the Epic’s blogpost.
Among all the features 3 of them attract special attention. Two of them are aimed at making object/component management easier and third one at asset management.
First feature allows creating empty Actor object and adding components on top of it right in the scene rather than creating complete class blueprint beforehand in the blueprint editor. Class blueprint can be created afterwards now, so the process is somewhat reversed. Second feature is about creating components out of blueprints so that they can easily be reused across other actors. Last feature called “automatic asset importing” enables auto asset reimport upon asset change if it resides in the Content folder of a project.
All these features are really handy, however what’s interesting is that these 3 have very similar counterparts in the Unity engine. First one corresponds to creating empty GameObject and adding Components on top of it right in the scene editor, one can create the Prefab (i.e. Blueprint in terms of UE4) using selected game object. This is actually the only way to create “template” objects in Unity scene editor as there is no prefab editor. Now creating modular components in the blueprints looks similar to creating MonoBehaviour components in Unity.
Automatic asset reimporting is also Unity feature. It’s very useful and save a lot of time during content development, can also guarantee that you have always the latest version of the asset imported in your project. Artists simply love this thing, as they only need to hit “Save” in the Photoshop and see their changes immediately in the editor without having to reimport anything manually. We can do the same in the UE4 now as well.
Of course this can be a simple coincidence, however it seems that Unity and Epic start to look at each other, analyzing feature set and closing weak spots in the engines. For example, in Unity 5 we will get PBR materials, which was the core feature of the Unreal Engine 4 from the start. It’s not a bad thing after all, because if the competition between the engines will arise then both engines will eventually become better and better for the users.