Onboarding Guide for Games Licensees

Steps to getting started with Unreal Engine.

Choose your operating system:

Windows

macOS

Linux

Hardware and Software Requirements

This page covers the hardware and software requirements for Unreal Engine 5. It also describes what is installed by the pre-requisites installer included in the Unreal Engine installer.

Recommended Hardware

Operating System

Windows 10 64-bit

Processor

Quad-core Intel or AMD, 2.5 GHz or faster

Memory

8 GB RAM

Graphics Card

DirectX 11 or 12 compatible graphics card

RHI Version

  • DirectX 11: Latest drivers

  • DirectX 12: Latest drivers

  • Vulkan: AMD (21.11.3+) and NVIDIA (496.76+)

Operating System

Latest MacOS Monterey

Processor

Quad-core Intel, 2.5 GHz or faster

Memory

8 GB RAM

Video Card

Metal 1.2 Compatible Graphics Card

As of Unreal Engine 5.0, Ubuntu 22.04 is not compatible with Unreal Engine. This will be fixed in a future release. In the meantime, we recommend that you use Ubuntu 20.04 instead of upgrading to 22.04.

Operating System

Ubuntu 20.04

Processor

Quad-core Intel or AMD, 2.5 GHz or faster

Memory

32 GB RAM

Video Card

NVIDIA GeForce 960 GTX or Higher with latest NVIDIA binary drivers

Video RAM

8 GB or more

RHI Version

  • DirectX 11: Latest Binary Drivers

  • Vulkan: AMD (21.11.3+) and NVIDIA (496.76+)

To get the most out of rendering features of Unreal Engine 5 such Nanite and Lumen, see the Requirements for UE5 Rendering Features section of this page.

Minimum Software Requirements

Minimum requirements for running the engine or editor are listed below.

Running the Engine

Operating System

Windows 10

DirectX Runtime

DirectX End-User Runtimes (June 2010)

Running the Engine

Operating System

macOS latest Monterey

Running the Engine

Operating System

Any reasonable new Linux distro from CentOS 7.x and up

Linux Kernel Version

kernel 3.x or newer

Additional Dependencies

glibc 2.17 or newer

The requirements for programmers developing with the engine are listed below.

Developing with the Engine

All 'Running the Engine' requirements (automatically installed)

Visual Studio Version

  • Visual Studio 2019 v16.11.5 or later (recommended)

  • Visual Studio 2022

iOS App Development

iTunes Version

iTunes 12 or higher

Developing with the Engine

Xcode Version

12.4

Developing with the Engine

Operating System

Ubuntu 20.04

Compiler

clang 11.0.1

Optional

IDE

Visual Studio Code, CLion, QtCreator

Software Installed by the Prerequisite Installer

The Unreal Engine includes a prerequisite installer that installs everything needed to run the editor and engine, including several DirectX components and Visual C++ redistributables. When you install Unreal Engine through the Epic Games Launcher, the Launcher automatically installs these prerequisites for you. However, you may need to run the prerequisite installer yourself if you build Unreal Engine from source, or if you need to prepare a computer with all the Unreal Engine prerequisites for a specific purpose—for example, if you are setting up a fresh computer to act as a Swarm Agent.

You can find the installer in the Engine/Extras/Redist/en-us folder under your Unreal Engine installation location.

Support for 32-bit platforms has been removed in Unreal Engine 5.

If you use Perforce to get the Unreal Engine source code, you'll also find precompiled binaries in the same Engine/Extras/Redist/en-us folder of the Perforce repository. The source for the installer is under Engine/Source/Programs/PrereqInstaller.

The following table lists the software that is installed by the prerequisite installer.

DirectX Components

Visual C++ Redists

XInput 1.3 (April 2007)

Visual C++ 2010 CRT

X3DAudio 1.7 (February 2010)

Visual C++ 2010 OpenMP library

XAudio 2.7 (June 2010)

Visual C++ 2012 CRT

D3D Compiler 4.3 (June 2010)

Visual C++ 2013 CRT

D3DCSX 4.3 (June 2010)

Visual C++ 2015 CRT

D3DX9 4.3 (June 2010)

Visual Studio 2019 redistributable

D3DX10 4.3 (June 2010)

D3DX11 4.3 (June 2010)

The most important DirectX components from that list are the XInput, X3DAudio, and XAudio dependencies. These aren't included in standard installations of DirectX (and aren't distributed with Windows by default), so they have to be installed manually or distributed with the application.

Graphics Card Drivers

We currently recommend using the latest stable releases from each card manufacturer:

Performance Notes

This list represents a typical system used at Epic, providing a reasonable guideline for developing games with Unreal Engine 5:

  • Windows 10 64-bit

  • 64 GB RAM

  • 256 GB SSD (OS Drive)

  • 2 TB SSD (Data Drive)

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER

  • Xoreax Incredibuild (Dev Tools Package)

  • Six-Core Xeon E5-2643 @ 3.4GHz

If you don't have access to Xoreax Incredibuild (Dev Tools Package), we recommend compiling with a machine having 12 to 16 cores.

Requirements for UE5 Rendering Features

Some rendering features of Unreal Engine 5 have different requirements than the minimum specifications.

UE5 Feature

System Requirements

Lumen Global Illumination and Reflections

Software Ray Tracing:

  • Video cards using DirectX 11 with support for Shader Model 5

Hardware Ray Tracing:

  • Windows 10 with DirectX 12 support

  • Video cards must be NVIDIA RTX-2000 series and higher, or AMD RX-6000 series and higher

Nanite Virtualized Geometry

  • All newer version of Windows 10 (newer than version 1909.1350) and Windows 11 with support for DirectX 12 Agility SDK are supported.

    • Windows 10 version 1909 — The revision number should exceed or be equal to .1350.

    • Windows 10 version 2004 and 20H2 — The revision number should exceed or be equal to .789.

    • DirectX 12 (with Shader Model 6.6 atomics), or Vulkan (VK_KHR_shader_atomic_int64)

  • Latest Graphics Drivers

Virtual Shadow Maps

  • All newer version of Windows 10 (newer than version 1909.1350) and Windows 11 with support for DirectX 12 Agility SDK are supported.

    • Windows 10 version 1909 — The revision number should exceed or be equal to .1350.

    • Windows 10 version 2004 and 20H2 — The revision number should exceed or be equal to .789.

    • DirectX 12 (with Shader Model 6.6 atomics), or Vulkan (VK_KHR_shader_atomic_int64)

  • Latest Graphics Drivers

Temporal Super Resolution

Runs on any video card that supports Shader Model 5, but the limit of 8UAVs per shader has performance implications. Temporal Super Resolution shaders compile with 16bit types enabled on D3D12 that supports Shader Model 6.

Acquiring Unreal Engine

Source Code Branches

You'll notice that we've published UE5's source code in several branches.

Branches whose names contain dev, staging, and test are typically for internal Epic processes, and are rarely useful for end users Other short-lived branches may pop-up from time to time as we stabilize new releases or hotfixes.

Release Branch

The Release branch reflects the current official release. These are extensively tested by our QA team, and make a great starting point for learning Unreal Engine or making your own games. We work hard to make releases stable and reliable and aim to publish a new release on this branch every few months.

Main Branch

Most active development on UE5 happens in the ue5-main branch. This branch reflects the latest release of the engine and may be buggy or it may not compile. We make it available for developers who are eager to test new features or work in lock-step development with us.

If you choose to work in this branch, be aware that it is likely to be ahead of the branches for the current official release and the next upcoming release. Therefore, content and code that you create to work with the ue5-main branch may not be compatible with public releases until we create a new branch directly from ue5-main for a future official release.

Downloading the Source Code

Please follow these instructions to download the Unreal Engine source code.

Please make sure you are running Visual Studio 2019 or higher for Windows Desktop installed before proceeding.

  1. Install GitHub for Windows then fork and clone our repository.

    To use Git from the command line, see the Setting up Git and Fork a Repo articles.

    If you'd prefer not to use Git, you can get the source with the 'Download ZIP' button on the right. The built-in Windows zip utility will mark the contents of zip files downloaded from the Internet as unsafe to execute, so right-click the zip file and select 'Properties...' and 'Unblock' before decompressing it. Third-party zip utilities don't normally do this.

  2. Install Visual Studio 2019.

    All desktop editions of Visual Studio 2019 can build UE5, including Visual Studio Community 2019, which is free for small teams and individual developers. Be sure to include C++ support as part of the install, which is disabled by default.

  3. Open your source folder in Explorer and run Setup.bat.

    This will download binary content for the engine, as well as installing prerequisites and setting up Unreal file associations. On Windows, a warning from SmartScreen may appear. Click More info, then Run anyway to continue.

    A clean download of the engine binaries may take some time to complete. Subsequent checkouts only require incremental downloads and will be much quicker.

  4. Run GenerateProjectFiles.bat to create project files for the engine. It should take less than a minute to complete.

  5. Load the project into Visual Studio by double-clicking on the UE5.sln file. Set your solution configuration to Development Editor and your solution platform to Win64, then right click on the UE target and select Build. It may take anywhere between 10 and 40 minutes to finish compiling, depending on your system specs.

  6. After compiling finishes, you can load the editor from Visual Studio by setting your startup project to UE5 and pressing F5 to debug.

  1. Install a Git client like GitHub for Mac, then fork and clone our repository.

    To use Git from the Terminal, see the Setting up Git and Fork a Repo articles. If you'd rather not use Git, use the 'Download ZIP' button on the right to get the source directly.

  2. Install the latest version of Xcode.

  3. Open your source folder in Finder and double-click on Setup.command to download binary content for the engine. You can close the Terminal window afterwards.

    If you downloaded the source as a .zip file, you may see a warning about it being from an unidentified developer (because .zip files on GitHub aren't digitally signed). To work around it, right-click on Setup.command, select Open, then click the Open button.

  4. In the same folder, double-click GenerateProjectFiles.command. It should take less than a minute to complete.

  5. Load the project into Xcode by double-clicking on the UE5.xcworkspace file. Select the ShaderCompileWorker for My Mac target in the title bar, then select the 'Product > Build' menu item. When Xcode finishes building, do the same for the UE5 for My Mac target. Compiling may take anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes, depending on your system specs.

  6. After compiling finishes, select the 'Product > Run' menu item to load the editor.

Our developers and support teams currently use the latest version of Ubuntu; as a result, we may not be able to provide support for other Linux distributions (including other versions of Ubuntu).

  1. Install a visual Git client and fork our repository. If you'd prefer not to use Git, use the Download ZIP button on the right to get the source as a zip file.

  2. Open your source folder and run Setup.sh to download binary content for the engine.

  3. Both cross-compiling and native builds are supported.

Cross-compiling is handy when you are a Windows (Mac support planned too) developer who wants to package your game for Linux with minimal hassle, and it requires a cross-compiler toolchain to be installed (refer to the Linux cross-compiling page).

Native compilation is discussed in a separate README.

This page shows Licensees how to download and build Unreal Engine from our source code repository on GitHub. If you'd like to download the binary version of Unreal Engine, read our Installing Unreal Engine documentation to learn how to Get Unreal.

Additional target platforms

  • Android support will be downloaded by the setup script if you have the Android NDK installed. See the Android Quick Start guide.

  • iOS development requires a Mac. Instructions are in the iOS Quick Start guide.

  • Development for consoles and other platforms with restricted access, like Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo Switch, is only possible if you have a registered developer account with those third-party vendors.

Depending on the platform, additional documentation or guidance may be available in the Unreal Developer Network support site, or as a downloadable archive in the section of the Unreal Engine Forums that is dedicated to your platform.

If you don't have access to these resources, first register a developer account with the third party vendor. Then contact your Epic Games account manager if you have one, or fill out and submit the Console Development Request form for Unreal Engine if you don't. Epic will contact you with a formal agreement to digitally sign. Once this is approved, you will receive instructions on how to access source code, binaries, and additional instructions for your platform.

Licensing and Contribution

Your access to and use of Unreal Engine on GitHub is governed by the Unreal Engine End User License Agreement. If you don't agree to those terms, as amended from time to time, you are not permitted to access or use Unreal Engine.

We welcome any contributions to Unreal Engine development through pull requests on GitHub. Most of our active development is in the master branch, so we prefer to take pull requests there (particularly for new features). We try to make sure that all new code adheres to the Epic coding standards. All contributions are governed by the terms of the EULA.

Next Steps

Now that you've downloaded and set-up Unreal Engine, you're ready to build the engine from source.

Footnotes

The first time you start the editor from a fresh source build, you may experience long load times. The engine is optimizing content for your platform to the derived data cache, and it should only happen once.

Your private forks of the Unreal Engine code are associated with your GitHub account permissions. If you unsubscribe or switch GitHub user names, you'll need to re-fork and upload your changes from a local copy.

Building Unreal Engine from Source

Read about Hardware and Software Specifications, and make sure that Microsoft Visual Studio is installed prior to building Unreal Engine from source. Also, depending on your system's specifications, it may take between 10 and 40 minutes to compile the engine.

  1. Inside the root directory, run GenerateProjectFiles.bat to set-up your project files.

    All project files are intermediate ([UE4Root]\Engine\Intermediate\ProjectFiles). You must generate project files each time you sync a new build to ensure they are up to date. If you delete your Intermediate folder, you must regenerate project files using the GenerateProjectFiles batch file.

  2. Load the project into Visual Studio by double-clicking UE.sln.

  3. Set your solution configuration to Development Editor.

    configMenu_updated.png

  4. Set your solution platform to Win64.

    platform_menu_updated.png

  5. Right-click the UE target and select Build.

    BuildUE4.png

For instructions on building the engine and creating executables on platforms other than Windows, please see Building Unreal Engine from Source.

Launching the Editor

The process of running the editor requires passing the name of the project to run as an argument to the executable.

You can add the -debug switch to force the executable to load the debug version of the modules for your project, which contain all of the debugging symbols. This is necessary even when debugging through Xcode with the configuration set to Debug because the main executable is always compiled using the Development configuration. Of course, you must first compile your modules using the Debug configuration so they exist for the executable to load.

The process of running the editor requires passing the name of the project to run as an argument to the executable.

You can add the -debug switch to force the executable to load the debug version of the modules for your project, which contain all of the debugging symbols. This is necessary even when debugging through Visual Studio with the configuration set to Debug because the main executable is always compiled using the Development configuration. Of course, you must first compile your modules using the Debug configuration so they exist for the executable to load.

Running the Editor from the Command Line

  1. From a command prompt, navigate to your [LauncherInstall]/[VersionNumber]/Engine/Binaries/Mac directory.

  2. Run the UEEditor.app passing it the path to your project:

    open UEEditor.app --args "[ProjectPath]/[ProjectName].uproject"
  1. From a command prompt, navigate to your [LauncherInstall][VersionNumber]\Engine\Binaries\Win64 directory.

  2. Run the UEEditor.exe, passing it the path to your project.

    UEEditor.exe "[ProjectPath][ProjectName].uproject"

Running the Editor from the Executable

  1. Navigate to your [LauncherInstall][VersionNumber]\Engine\Binaries\Win64 directory.

  2. Right-click on the UEEditor.exe executable and choose Create shortcut.

  3. Rename the shortcut to something like MyProject - Editor.exe as this reflect that this shortcut runs the MyProject game editor. 

  4. Right-click on the newly created shortcut and choose Properties.

  5. Add the name of the game to run as an argument at the end of the Target property:

    [LauncherInstall][VersionNumber]\Engine\Binaries\Win64\UEEditor.exe "[ProjectPath][ProjectName].uproject"   
  6. Press OK to save the changes.

  7. Double-click the shortcut to launch the editor.

The editor must be run from the command prompt to load a specific project directly or with no arguments to access the Project Browser.

Running the Editor with No Arguments (Stand-alone)

If the editor is not set to open the most recent project at startup, running the editor executable without any arguments will launch the Project Browser. From here, you can create a new project , open your existing projects , or open content examples and sample games .

Creating Your First Project

When you open Unreal Editor, the Project Browser will appear. The Project Browser provides a jumping off point from which you can create projects, open your existing projects, or open sample content like sample games and Showcases.

When you launch Unreal Engine, the Unreal Project Browser opens automatically. This is where you can:

  • Create a new project.

  • Open an existing project.

  • Manage existing projects.

The diagram below illustrates the steps to create a new project in Unreal Engine.

Creating a new project in Unreal Engine

Creating a new project in Unreal Engine from the Project Browser window.

To create a new project, follow these steps:

  1. Select the development category (1) that best matches your industry and project goals.

    You can select from the following categories:

    • Games

    • Film, Television, and Live Events

    • Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)

    • Automotive, Product Design, and Manufacturing (APM)

  2. Select a template (2) for your project. The templates you can choose from are based on the category you selected in step 1.

    Unreal Engine contains a number of project templates you can use as a starting point for your own projects. To learn more about the different project templates available, refer to the Templates Reference page.

  3. Configure the Project Defaults (3). In this section, you can select your target platform (that is, the hardware where your game or application will run, like a computer or a mobile device), configure quality and ray tracing settings, and more.

    Some of the settings below may not be available for certain templates. For example, the Handheld AR template can only use Blueprint implementation.

    You can configure the following settings:

    Setting

    Description

    Implementation

    Select how you want to implement your project's logic, such as character movement, level transitions, and so on.

    You can choose from the following options:

    • Blueprint, if you want to build your project in the Unreal Editor, and use the Blueprint Visual Scripting system to create interactions and behavior.

    • C++, if you want to build your project by programming with C++ in Visual Studio.

    For more information about these implementation methods, refer to the following pages:

    Target Platform

    Select the kind of platform your project is intended for:

    • Desktop

    • Mobile

    Quality Preset

    Select the maximum quality level, based on which platform your project targets. We recommend that you choose:

    • Maximum, if you are developing your project for a computer or game console.

    • Scalable, if you are developing your project for mobile devices.

    Starter Content

    Select whether you want your new project to include starter content. Starter content includes some simple Static Meshes with basic textures and Materials. It is useful if you want to start learning and experimenting straight away, without worrying about sourcing and importing custom content.

    Ray Tracing

    Select whether to enable or disable ray tracing for your project.

    For more information about ray tracing in Unreal Engine, refer to the Hardware Ray Tracing and Path Tracing Features page.

  4. Select where you want to store your project, and give your project a name (4).

  5. Click Create (5) to finish creating your new project.

Result

Unreal Engine creates a new project with the settings you configured, and then automatically opens the project.

Compiling Code Projects

If you create a project with the Blank template, or any of the Blueprints Only templates, you can immediately begin working with your project in Unreal Editor. When working with any game or engine C++ code, however, you will need to compile your code in order to see any changes reflected in the game.

Unreal Engine (UE) uses a custom building method using the Unreal Build Tool which handles all the complex aspects of compiling the project and linking it with the engine. This process occurs transparently allowing you to simply build the project through the standard Visual Studio build workflow.

Unreal Build Tool uses the .Build.cs and .Target.cs files to build the game project. These are automatically generated when a project is created using a C++ template, or when the CPP Class Wizard is used to add code to a project created from a Blueprints Only template.

Build Configuration

Unreal projects have multiple targets (Editor, Client, Game, and Server) described by *.target.cs files, each of which can be built to different configurations. In Visual Studio, this manifests as a Visual Studio *.vcxproj file with different configurations for each target. The solution configurations are named as [Configuration][Target Type] (for example, "DevelopmentEditor" for the default editor target, and "Development" for the default standalone game target). The configuration you use will be determined by the purposes of the build you want to create.

Every build configuration contains two keywords, and the first keyword indicates the state of the engine and your game project. For instance, if you compile using a Debug configuration, you will be able to debug your game's code. The second keyword indicates the target you are building for. For example, if you want to open a project in Unreal, you need to build with the Editor target keyword.

Build Configuration - State

Description

Debug

This configuration contains symbols for debugging. This configuration builds both engine and game code in debug configuration. If you compile your project using the Debug configuration and want to open the project with the Unreal Editor, you must use the "-debug" flag in order to see your code changes reflected in your project.

DebugGame

This configuration builds the engine as optimized, but leaves the game code debuggable. This configuration is ideal for debugging only game modules.

Development

This configuration enables all but the most time-consuming engine and game code optimizations, which makes it ideal for development and performance reasons. Unreal Editor uses the Development configuration by default. Compiling your project using the Development configuration enables you to see code changes made to your project reflected in the editor.

Shipping

This is the configuration for optimal performance and shipping your game. This configuration strips out console commands, stats, and profiling tools.

Test

This configuration is the Shipping configuration, but with some console commands, stats, and profiling tools enabled.

Build Configuration - Target

Description

[empty]

This configuration builds a stand-alone executable version of your project, but requires cooked content specific to the platform. Please refer to our Packaging Projects Reference page to learn more about cooked content.

Editor

To be able to open a project in Unreal Editor and see all code changes reflected, the project must be built in an Editor configuration.

Client

If you're working on a multiplayer project using UE networking features, this target designates the specified project as being a Client in UE's client-server model for multiplayer games. If there is a <Game>Client.Target.cs file, the Client build configurations will be valid.

Server

If you're working on a multiplayer project using UE networking features, this target designates the specified project as being a Server in UE's client-server model for multiplayer games. If there is a <Game>Server.Target.cs file, the Server build configurations will be valid.

This page was written for a previous version of Unreal Engine and has not been updated for the current Unreal Engine 5.0 release.