As we teeter on the brink of modern virtual reality, developers are hard at work coding the imaginary worlds we’ll one day step foot in. Ironically enough, they’ve largely been building virtual experiences using traditional tools – you know, a mouse and keyboard.
For the past year, Epic Games has been working on bring its Unreal Editor inside the virtual world. Instead of developers building games the traditional way, Epic’s new approach allows them to strap on an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and build the game fromwithin the game.
Epic founder Tim Sweeney told The Verge that things like a sense of scale don’t translate well between flat screens and VR. Props, for example, may feel normal in a traditional PC game but may look overly large or small in an immersive environment.
The VR Unreal Editor looks and acts much like its flatscreen counterpart but with the ability to roam free and edit on-the-fly using hand motions and gestures. For example, one can physically “grab” an object and move it around or use a two-handed pinch-and-zoom technique like on a mobile device to adjust its size. For more complicated tasks, developers can bring up a handheld version of the flatscreen interface which is kind of like having a tablet with you at all times.
Epic says it’ll showcase its VR Unreal Editor in greater detail at the Game Developers Conference on March 16. We’ll also learn more about Unreal’s release plans at that time.