Scene by Epic Games

Substance Source Flows Directly Into Unity and Unreal Engine 4

Nicolas Paulhac on September 20 2017 | Technology, Substance Source, Integrations

As announced during Substance Days Hollywood this past summer, the entire Substance Source PBR material library is accessible directly in Unity and Unreal Engine 4 with just one click! Get a behind-the-scenes look at creating these plugins with the developers at Allegorithmic’s Cleveland-based Integrations team.

Hi, guys! This is the first time we’ve featured our Integrations team in a blogpost :) Could you briefly introduce yourselves and give us some background on the Substance Source – engines integration project?

What were your main goals in designing both integrations?

LL: We wanted to keep these integrations as familiar as possible for our current Substance Source users while also matching the usability of the website. When designing all of the Substance Source integrations, our goal was to keep the design as similar to the Substance Source website as possible.

Which use cases did you address for Unity? For UE4?

WM: We addressed every use case that the Substance Source website provides. This ensures that no functionality is lost going from the website to the various integrations. We also added a use case of our own: when a Source asset is downloaded inside the plugin, it automatically gets imported into your game project. This is handled natively by the plugins and allows for a streamlined user experience. You can see demonstration of the pipeline in action during the Substance Days keynote announcement.



What is your favorite feature in the Source in Unity/UE4 plugin?

TEAM: As a team, we’re unanimous about our favorite feature: we love having the ability to download Source assets directly into a project with at the click of a button.

How did you work with Unity and Unreal Engine development teams to create these plugins?

JC: Most of our collaboration was actually with the Substance Source team. We worked closely with Clément Jacob, our lead web and dev ops engineer at Allegorithmic, in order to create a framework that would work alongside our current Source platform.

Could you share the key features you designed to achieve good usability?

JG: The source integrations model the Substance Source website, which set a high bar with its usability. For example, you will find the same large thumbnails for easier browsing and review of materials, and the materials are organized by the same categories as on the site. Even though we wanted to match the website as much as possible, we also wanted the UI to still maintain the look and feel of the host software.


What motivated you to work on the integration of Substance Source in Unity and UE4?

DS: Most of the members on the integrations team have a background in gaming. These integrations combined two areas that we are very passionate about here: our own tools and some amazing game engines.

Another big motivation was that this is something different, something new, and something that would be incredibly useful for designers, artists and developers alike. These are tools we all would use. All of these reasons made working on these integrations a rewarding and fun experience.

Could you describe the different steps and timelines of both projects?

JC: The first step we took in developing these integrations was creating the backend framework. This process took one month and the framework is currently used within each of our Source integrations. The Unity and Unreal Engine 4 plugins were created with a 3-month development cycle.

What were the main obstacles on each project and how did you overcome them?

JC: The largest obstacle that arose while working on these integrations was adapting to the tools we needed to integrate within. Software development can be a difficult process but adding limitations of third-party tools can make the development process exponentially more difficult. These integrations are the first of their kind so we each had to research and learn how to use each software in new ways in order to achieve the final products.

What does this integration bring to Substance users? And to Unity and UE4 users?

KG: The Substance Source integrations provide users the ability to iterate on designs at incredible speeds. By using these plugins, you can completely change a scene in countless ways within mere minutes. Having the power to iterate was already possible with the procedural generation of substances, but the Source integrations add another level to this by allowing for rapid iteration from a top-level design perspective.

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