Non-Games Custom License Getting Started Guide

Onboarding guide for non-games licensees

Windows
MacOS
Linux

This document is intended only for Unreal Engine developers whose business has executed a custom license agreement or is currently under evaluation for a custom license. If you are a developer operating under the standard EULA and are interested in custom terms or premium Epic support, please contact us .

Term Definitions

Learn the following terms before proceeding.

Term

Definition

Unreal Developer Network (UDN)

Our private site for dedicated custom license support.

Unreal Engine

A complete suite of tools for creating interactive experiences.

UE4

Acronym for Unreal Engine 4.

Unreal Editor

The interface used to develop with Unreal Engine.

Epic Games Launcher

A platform for installing Unreal Engine, including managing user projects and downloaded content.

Datasmith

A feature in Unreal Engine that provides import capabilities for data from a wide variety of CAD, BIM, and 3D content creation tools.

Section 1: Quickstart

For the best experience in getting started with your Unreal Engine license, follow these steps in order, skipping any that you have already completed. For more detailed information on a given topic, click the links with the label "Find out more".

1. Set up UDN access

If you are just starting with your Unreal Engine license, your first step is to sign into the Unreal Developer Network. Technical administrators are granted the initial access, and given the ability to set up additional access for their staff members.

2. Install Unreal Engine

The next step is to install Unreal Engine. For most non-game developers, the recommended method is via the Epic Games Launcher, which you can download here . If you intend to customize the source code, or require standalone installers or distributed installation, you can find out more about your options in our detailed guide, where you can also learn about managing different installations side by side.

3. Install Datasmith (optional)

Datasmith is a default feature in Unreal Engine versions 4.24 and later, however if you're using an earlier engine version and are interested in Datasmith, you will need to install the Datasmith plugin from the Unreal Engine Marketplace via the Epic Games Launcher. Some formats, such as 3ds Max, SketchUp Pro, and Revit, also require exporter plugins to be installed in the source application.

4. Launch the Unreal Engine

You're now ready to get started and launch the Unreal Editor. If you installed Unreal Engine via the Launcher, log in, click the Unreal Engine text, and click the yellow Launch button in the upper right corner. You can also launch the editor from the Library page, where you can select from multiple engine installations or load directly into your specific projects. Refer to our detailed guide for information about launching a custom or offline build of Unreal Editor.

5. Create a project

When you first open Unreal Editor, the Project Browser will appear. You can create a new project from a template here. You can also load one of the fully fleshed-out example projects from the Learn tab of the Launcher.

6. Start your learning journey

There's a wealth of learning resources that you can draw upon to quickly get up to speed, including our Online Learning Platform . There's also lots of help available from the Unreal Engine Documentation .

7. Get Help

Are you stuck? Are you experiencing any problems? Do you have a burning question? Reach out to the Unreal Developer Network . You can also engage with our public community, or contact us directly if you still need help.

Section 2: Accessing and Managing Accounts

The first step towards getting yourself and your staff up and running with Unreal Engine license is to set up everyone's access. This section is recommended for technical administrators, and provides more details than the information offered in the Quick Start guide.

Your Epic account

Your gateway to the majority of features and services related to Unreal Engine is your Epic Games account, which is associated with your specific email address. You may have previously created an Epic account using your current professional email address, but if not, then you will need to sign up for an account .

All staff in your organization will also require their own Epic accounts in order to access all features and services for Unreal Engine. They will need to create the accounts themselves from www.unrealengine.com in order to log in.

UDN access for you and your team

Epic staff will grant the initial UDN access to the primary technical contact who was identified during the license signing process. This individual will be granted administrative permissions and have the ability to extend UDN access to additional staff.

Look for an email message titled "Welcome to the Unreal Developer Network (UDN) community!" which is sent automatically once your access has been enabled.

Follow the link in the email to log into the UDN with your Epic account credentials related to your professional email address. You may experience login issues if you are already logged into the Epic ecosystem with a different Epic account which does not have UDN access.

Upon first login, complete the onboarding process to set up your profile and notification settings, and then your access is complete. You can now review knowledge articles, search for posts submitted by other developers, or post your own support requests.

To grant UDN access to additional members of your team, the primary technical contact who has been granted administrative permissions will need to follow the steps outlined in the UDN Administrator Guide .

Epic account security

For your account's security, we recommend that you enable Two-Factor Authentication. To do so, go into your Account Settings and click on the Password & Security tab. Scroll to the bottom and first click the Send email verification link to confirm your email address, and then click choose either Enable Authenticator App or Enable Email Authentication based on your preference.

Section 3: Installing Unreal Engine

A core part of your Unreal Engine license is access to the software tools it includes. This section will guide you through your options and methods for installing them.

Unreal Engine hardware and software requirements

Before installing the Unreal Engine, make sure your system will be able to run it. Recommended system specifications for Unreal Engine use on Windows, Mac, and Linux are available here .

We typically recommend using the latest stable releases for your Graphics Card Driver.

If you experience performance issues, VTune can be an extremely useful tool for finding problems; however, it only works on Intel CPUs. One of the most common bottlenecks is disk I/O, so getting a RAID 0 disk array and extra RAM can help.

Acquiring Unreal Engine

The Unreal Engine is available through a variety of sources depending on your needs and use case. Use the following flow diagram to determine which is right for you, and then read the associated lettered paragraphs below to proceed.

UEP0.png

State(s)

Definition

A

Do your staff need source code access to modify the engine's standard functionality?

B

Epic Games Launcher

C

GitHub

D

Perforce (by request)

D/E

Distributed Installation or Unreal Engine Standalong Installer (by request)

A: Binary vs. source code

Most software that you are familiar with is provided as an executable program stored in binary (computer-readable) files. The Unreal Engine is available in a binary format, which is the easiest to get started with, but comes with the limitation that each release is provided "as-is", meaning that it cannot be modified except with plugins or when Epic releases an updated version.

The alternate approach is Source Code, which is also provided for the Unreal Engine. Anyone can download the engine source code, make any changes, updates, or improvements they want, and then compile the code into a usable build. This approach grants a lot of control, but is also more complicated to get started with and requires programming experience.

The binary build of the Unreal Engine is freely available to everyone to download via the Epic Games Launcher, and the source code build is freely available to everyone via GitHub. These options are recommended to you as well, however as a custom licensee, alternate options are also available if required.

B: UE4 via the Epic Games Launcher

Accessing the binary build of the Unreal Engine via the Epic Games Launcher is the recommended approach for most non-game customers. The Launcher will manage your downloads, notify you of updates, and handle the installation of plugins and other downloadable content. The only drawbacks may be presented for organizations who do not allow internet access or enforce restrictive software policies for their staff.

If you do not already have the Epic Games Launcher installed, then you can download it from here . This specific download link enables a setting for non-game customers that will hide the navigation options for various video games that are normally available on the Launcher. These can be re-enabled in the Launcher settings if desired. The Launcher is also always available from the Download button on www.unrealengine.com .

Once you have installed the Epic Games Launcher, you can log into it with your Epic Account credentials. While on the Unreal Engine tab, you can click the yellow button on the right to install the latest version of the Unreal Engine 4, or you can navigate to the Library page for more control over the version you wish to install.

It is important to note that new versions of the Unreal Engine 4 are regularly released (multiple times a year), and that each of these major version releases are separate installations, and not updates to the previous version. For example, if you have UE 4.19 installed, and UE 4.20 is released and you choose to install it, then you will keep the previous 4.19 installation, and add 4.20 as a separate new installation. This is represented on the Epic Games Launcher's Library page as different engine slots, where new slots can be added by clicking the + button.

UEP1.png

Each major version is likely to receive smaller hotfix updates (represented by the .2 and .3 seen above). The Launcher will provide notification when a hotfix is available, and the update for these will apply directly to the existing installation. Whenever you install an engine version, it will always install the latest available version with any hotfixes applied.

When installing the Unreal Engine, it is helpful to note that you can choose where it installs to (this can be important since the file size for the Unreal Engine can be multiple gigabytes), and that you also are provided installation options. The Options enable you to configure what you need to download, such as code required to develop for particular platforms.

UEP2.png

Once an engine version has been installed and the installation has been verified, click Launch to open the Unreal Editor.

See Section 4: Getting Started for information on using the Editor.

While on the Epic Games Launcher, don't forget to explore the Community, Learn, and Marketplace pages to discover additional resources.

C: UE4 via GitHub

If you require the ability to modify source code for Unreal Engine, downloading the source code via GitHub is the default recommendation.

For GitHub access, you need to successfully link your Epic Games account with your GitHub account. Once you have done so, you will be able to access Unreal Engine 4 source code through GitHub. More details can be found below:

  1. Link your GitHub account.

  2. Download Unreal Engine source code.

  3. Build Unreal Engine source code.

D: UE4 via alternate options for non-game custom licensees

If neither of the above options meet your business needs, then Epic may be able to provide alternatives that work for you.

  • For businesses where the Unreal Engine is used on computers without an internet connection, we can provide an offline solution with a standalone version of the Unreal Engine.

  • For businesses who require source code access but whose needs are not met by GitHub, we can provide access to Epic's Perforce repository for Unreal Engine development.

If you have already been granted alternate access, additional documents are provided to explain how to get started. If you require access, reach out to your Epic Business Development Manager.

E: UE4 distributed installation

The traditional installation workflow for the Unreal Engine is that the end-user directly downloads and either installs or compiles the engine on their own local computer; however, we are aware that this workflow is not appropriate for all organizations.

It is possible to download the Engine to a single computer, and then mirror the installation out to other computers. We have prepared a document to provide more information regarding this installation process here . The document was written specifically for academic institutions, but the installation information is applicable for other organizations.

Optional setup for Datasmith

With Unreal Engine version 4.24 and later, Datasmith is included as a core part of the engine and is immediately available for use by creating a new project from the categories of either Film, Television, and Live Events or Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (see the �Creating your first project' section below for more details). If you are working with a project of a different category or from an older engine version and want to enable Datasmith, you can navigate to Edit > Plugins > Importers, and from here enable the required Datasmith components and restart Unreal Editor.

If using Unreal Engine version 4.23 or earlier, you will need to install Datasmith as a plugin, which is available for download from the Unreal Engine Marketplace.

Regardless of the version of Unreal Engine, some formats, such as 3ds Max, SketchUp Pro, and Revit, also require plug-ins to be installed in the source application. If you intend to export your assets from these applications, follow the link to get the Exporter Plugins and install them.

Section 4: Getting Started

The Unreal Engine offers a wealth of resources to help you and your staff succeed with your projects—everything from getting up to speed with the Unreal Editor, to becoming proficient with advanced development techniques. This section will guide you through the information you need along that journey, and we recommend you share it with all staff who will be using the Unreal Engine.

Getting started

Launching the Unreal Editor

If you have used the Epic Games Launcher to install the Unreal Engine, you can launch the Unreal Editor by logging into the Launcher, and clicking the yellow Launch button on the left side panel. Alternatively, you can launch the editor from the Library page, where you can also manage your engine installations or load directly into your specific projects.

If you have installed the Unreal Engine via compiled source code or a standalone offline build, navigate to the directory where the Unreal Engine was saved and locate the executable in the following path:

Platform

Path

Windows

\Engine\Binaries\Win64\UE4Editor.exe

macOS

/Engine/Binaries/Mac/UE4Editor.app

You may wish to create a desktop shortcut from this for easier future access.

Creating your first project

When you first open Unreal Editor, the Project Browser will appear. The Project Browser provides a starting point from which you can create projects, open your existing projects, or open any downloaded sample projects.

When creating a new project, different templates are available depending on the project category you select. The Blank template creates a completely empty project, while the others provide a foundation of content and functionality.

UEP3.png

Some templates require the installation of Visual Studio to compile components of the project or optional C++ code.

When you first create a project, you can optionally include Starter Content to add some basic assets to your levels. Starter Content is only intended for early development; when you are ready to replace it with production-quality assets, you can either shop the Unreal Engine Marketplace , or import your own assets from other applications.

Once you have created your project, you can reload it when launching Unreal Editor either by selecting it on the Launcher from the My Projects section, or by creating a desktop shortcut with the target properties such as:

Platform

Path

Windows

[UE4Directory]\Engine\Binaries\Win64\UE4Editor.exe "[ProjectPath][ProjectName].uproject"

macOS

[UE4Directory]/Engine/Binaries/Mac/UE4Editor.app "[ProjectPath][ProjectName].uproject"

Sample projects

Working from a blank project may be intimidating at first if you are intending to build interactive functionality, and templates are still only starting points. Sometimes it's easiest to have a fully fleshed-out example that you can learn from, and customize to your own requirements.

We offer a large range of example projects, accessible from the Learn tab of the Launcher.

UEP4.png

To use one of these sample projects, click on it to open its details page, select Free, then Create Project. After the project installs, you can open it from the Project Browser or the Library page.

Section 5: Learning

Whether you're just finding your feet, or looking to extend your knowledge to include advanced techniques, we have everything you need to learn the ropes.

Documentation

Our extensive Unreal Engine Documentation features Quick Start guides, reference manuals, scripting and programming guides, release notes, and more.

From here, you can Get Started with UE4 , which will take you through the basics of using the Unreal Editor.

Once you're starting to find your feet, you can search for information on specific topics in the complete Unreal Editor Manual , and make sure you are familiar with all of the Engine Features .

For information about using Datasmith, check out the Datasmith import documentation .

Learning videos

If you prefer to absorb information in video format, our Online Learning Platform offers a great range of on-demand video tutorials.

Once you've mastered the basics, you can filter the content by topics such as Architecture/Construction, Automotive, Game Development and more to find the learning path that's right for you.

Section 6: Support Resources

Unreal Developer Network

Unreal Engine custom licensees can access premium support through the Unreal Developer Network . This is an exclusive support website where you can ask questions, get answers from Epic Games staff, and learn from the interactions of other developers with our staff.

Although Epic provides many different support channels to accommodate our variety of users, we ask that you please log all of your questions, issues, and feedback to the UDN. This way we can ensure that we are are able to provide the assistance you require.

To learn more about how to make best use of our support site and grant access to additional staff, take a look at the various knowledge base articles which have been prepared.

Community resources

While we recommend that you bring your specific questions or issues to UDN, you may also find it helpful to engage with our public community for discussions with other developers and to quickly search for known solutions.

Reaching out

Still have questions or issues? Get in touch, and we'll get you up and running as quickly as possible.

  • Contact your Business Development Manager for any questions around your license or to activate additional benefits.

  • Email us at developer-access@unrealengine.com for general account or onboarding help.

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