Epic Games has released a new version of the Unreal Engine 4 to all developers. This latest version comes with DX12 support, and features improved Distance Field Ambient Occlusion, Ambient Occlusion Material Mask, Area Shadows for stationary lights, as well as Full Scene Particle Collision with Mesh Distance Fields.
As Epic Games noted, Microsoft’s engineers added support for DirectX 12 to UE4 and it has worked with them to integrate their changes into 4.9.
“The feature is still new and is considered experimental. DirectX 12 offers a much lower-level rendering API that is more efficient and allows for rendering commands to be submitted in parallel across many threads, a feature inspired by console rendering APIs. Going forward, we’ll continue to improve support for DirectX 12 and look for ways to leverage the new API in upcoming versions of the engine.”
Full Scene Particle Collision with Mesh Distance Fields allows particles to efficiently collide with the entire scene. This feature can be used for sparks colliding with surfaces, or for various effects such as snow that accumulates on surfaces.
The new Ambient Occlusion Material Mask feature lets you access Lightmass calculated AO in your material, which can be useful for procedural texturing, for example to add in aging effects and dirt in areas where it would accumulate.
REgarding the new Distance Field Ambient Occlusion, Epic Games had this to say:
“Sky occlusion gives nice soft shadows around objects lit by the sky, especially important in overcast lighting scenarios, a use case traditionally hard to render at high quality without precomputed lighting. Distance Field Ambient Occlusion solves this for fully dynamic games where both the time of day and environment can change at any time. We’ve put a lot of effort into improving the quality and performance of the technology for 4.9 and believe that it is now a shippable feature on medium spec PC and PlayStation 4 level hardware with a total GPU cost of under 4ms for a typical game scene.”