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Oculus Unreal Engine 5 Branch Now Available, But Key Features Don't Work In VR

Oculus Unreal Engine 5 Branch Now Available, But Key Features Don't Work In VR

An Oculus branch of Unreal Engine 5 is now available, enabling development for Quest 2.

Unreal Engine 5 shipped earlier this month after launching in Early Access last year. On modern PCs and next-gen consoles its ‘Nanite’ geometry system brings a radical new way to how games are made & rendered. In previous engines, artists import reduced detail versions of the original assets they create. When you move far enough away from those assets, an even lower detail version generated in advance (either manually or automatically) is displayed instead. This is called LOD (Level of Detail).

Nanite upends this approach. Artists import the full movie-quality assets and the geometric detail is scaled automatically in real time based on your distance from the model. Virtual objects look incredibly detailed up close, and don’t “pop in” or “pop out” as you move away from them.

However, Nanite and its associated Lumen lighting system don’t work in VR on any platform, and aren’t even available on Android at all. VR developers have to use the legacy geometry and lighting systems, negating many of the advantages of the new engine.

If you’re migrating from Unreal Engine 4, Epic has an important guide on how to do this.

Meta notes the following features are not yet implemented:

  • passthrough or spatial anchors
  • late latching
  • Application SpaceWarp
  • mobile tonemap subpasses
  • UE5 ports of sample and showcase projects

As such, Meta still recommends sticking with Unreal Engine 4.27 for serious app development.

To access the Oculus UE5 branch you first need to register your GitHub ID with Epic – if you don’t do this you’ll get a 404 error when trying to access it.

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