Unreal Engine 4.24 was just released by Epic Games, although the biggest new feature is actually outside of the engine. Last month Epic Games announced they acquired Quixel and in this release you can now use your Epic credentials to download over 11K high quality textures completely free, as long as you use them in Unreal Engine. You can either access the textures in Unreal Marketplace as packs, or using Quixel Bridge. Another major feature of this release is that Unreal Studio has been folded into Unreal Engine, with that functionality, including Datasmith, available for free.
Details of the release from the Unreal blog:
There’s a host of new features and improvements across the board, with something for everyone. You can now create even more convincing interior and exterior scenes for games and visualization with new tools for nondestructively creating and editing open-world landscapes that adapt to other scene elements; gorgeous atmospheric skies; and Screen Space Global Illumination that scales across console and desktop platforms.
For those looking to create more believable characters, creatures, and virtual beings, we’re proud to offer a first look at our new strand-based hair and fur system that enables you to simulate and render hundreds of thousands of photoreal hairs at up to real time speeds.
Formerly part of Unreal Studio, Datasmith—the toolkit for converting entire scenes at high fidelity from 3ds Max, SketchUp Pro, Cinema 4D, and a host of CAD and BIM formats—is now available for free as part of 4.24 and all future versions of Unreal Engine going forward. Add to that new Visual Dataprep for streamlined, easy-to-use, automated data preparation, and getting data from any source real-time ready is faster and easier.
That’s not to mention the first-class USD support that enables modelers and layout artists to work in parallel; enhancements to multi-display rendering that make it much easier to use out of the box, even on existing projects; and a new task-based wizard to give you a better starting point when creating new projects.