Working in 3D and immersive visuals is now more than ever about finding the most expressive, efficient integration. Now is a perfect time to check out TouchDesigner’s integration with Unreal Engine, as it’s steadily advanced – including a significant milestone this summer.
Numbers time: the latest TouchDesigner release – 2022.33910 – now works alongside the latest GitHub build of the TouchEngine-UE plugin (1.2.0) for support for the current Unreal Engine version, 5.2.1.
One key point: “TouchEngine does not work with Non-Commercial licenses.” The non-commercial license remains a great way to play with TouchDesigner, and that means you can work with Unreal Engine and TouchDesigner for free on their own, but the integration here is going to require a paid license. (It should also earn you some money, so – go get some!) If you just want to toy around with the two, there are other ways – like video streaming with Spout or using OSC (or instancing data), depending on exactly what it is you’re trying to do. But what’s exciting here is really the ability to work with TouchDesigner workflows inside the UE Editor.
UE 5.2.1 is the stable UE you want these days, though, if you’re following Unreal like wine vintages, so this is great news. But let’s get to the non-numeric reasons this is exciting:
Editor mode. Don’t hit play. Don’t package the game. Fast prototyping means you can run TouchEngine Components inside the Unreal Engine Editor. Let’s read that again, because to me that’s mind blowing. That really is TouchDesigner inside Unreal. And furthermore:
CHOPs in Unreal work more like CHOPs in TouchDesigner. The devs say they’ve “massively reworked” the CHOP workflows, so you’re not sacrificing your CHOP chops when you go from Touch to UE. That means you can “work with samples, channels, by names or indices and CHOP objects directly.”
Parameter nodes are available. Set or get TouchEngine Parameter, Set / Get TouchEngine Input / Output. That’s all there is to it. (This replaces a previous sort of strange prefix scheme they had.)
New events. Working with Unreal is all about working with events – those have also been updated and expanded.
More and better organized samples and documentation. Now is also a great time to get going with this, as they’ve done a lot to clean up the docs.
And yeah, now is the time to migrate to UE5.2+. They’ve got upcoming work on nDisplay and DATs plus overall stability with sync modes.
The docs are really great, too – plus you’ll find the samples you want, as well (like first-person template, texture generator, etc.). Start with the main repo for the walkthrough, then hit samples for your code:
I’m really interested to see what work people are making this. Feel free to advertise to us here on CDM. Create Digital Motion forever – because who doesn’t want to play with both 1970s synths and futuristic 3D stuff, honestly? We know what you’re here for.
Blog notes by Michel Didier (JETXS):