Julian Brill, MT-BC
Finding A Home With Unreal Engine 4
When determining what platform to use for development, it was important to identify needs. We wanted something accessible, powerful, scalable, and with a track record of excellent VR development. All signs quickly pointed to Epic's Unreal Engine, in it's 4th iteration (UE4).
UE4 boasts a powerful set of tools to help even beginners realize their own creative possibilities.
As Music Therapy Augmented has continued to develop various virtual reality applications within UE4, the ease of use, quick learning curve, and valuable community resources have proven to be critical in creating the vision of Music Therapy +.
Using Power for Good
VR development is always a give and take. Unlike its flat "2D" cousin which can utilize state-of-the-art graphics techniques, VR must walk a thin line of visual quality and performance. Essentially rendering two views, VR developer must pick and choose what graphical elements are most important in order to run an application at a desired 90 FPS.
For us, UE4 offers the right tools and scalability to develop visually appealing experiences without compromising on performance.
And while AAA gaming graphics are not the goal of VR-augmented music therapy, a high quality visual experience is an important variable to consider when focusing on clinical experience. A poor visual product can result in lower immersion, reduced attention, and consequently smaller clinical value.
We want users to wholly feel the virtual experience in conjunction with live music therapy. The fidelity of that experience, we believe, is what creates higher clinical value for the individual.
The image above shows a screenshot from our virtual drum circle experience. The sky and weather are adjustable in real-time. The fire reactive to the audio being played with the user. The drums all providing high-quality reflections of the lighting and shadows.
The realism of the environment is made possible with UE4 and helps place the user in a realistic environment for the drum circle experience, transporting them to a new reality for short time.
We are excited about the future development within UE4 and, further ahead, within UE5. We feel the current possibilities are just the beginning.