🎓Try This At Home: Quick VR in Unreal Engine

Want to know how to ‘Matrix’ yourself into a project as quick as possible? Please read on… 💊

Following on from our previous post on Unreal’s Datasmith which looked at importing BIM and 3D information via typical AEC software at the click of a button, we’re now going to turn this 3D information into 3D virtual reality. Let’s get started.

The First Jump

Firstly, ensure you have installed your VR headset software on your computer. If you have an Oculus Rift or Quest for example, this would be in the form of Oculus Link. Ensure that the latest drivers are installed. Run the program!


Open up the project we created with the Datasmith import, or create a new project and import data.

Now check you have plugins installed for your selected VR headset by finding “Plugins” under the project settings dropdown. Under “Virtual Reality” you’ll find a list of enabled plugins. Most likely, your headset will be supported in UE4 and will be built-in and enabled already. For example: “Oculus VR” for Rift/Quest; “Gear VR” for Samsung Gear; and “SteamVR” for those with HTC Vive or Valve Index.

Once you have confirmed the plugins are installed/activated make sure your VR device is connected with its software E.g. For the Oculus Quest, check that Oculus Link is running on the device.

Enter the Virtual Reality

Now the moment you’ve been waiting for, experiencing your project in VR!

It’s worth noting before we go ahead that there are endless tweaks and additions to be made, ranging from basic to advanced level, to improve the resulting VR experience. Furthermore, this is not a “built app” as such, you are still interacting with the game engine itself, just you are doing it in VR! You might be pleased to know we will be exploring these things in future blog posts, for now let’s just get you in the virtual world A.S.A.P for an idea of how things look and feel. You could think of this as something similar to initial concept stage compared with final developed design; you don’t want to start applying the polish at the beginning!

So, if your device is correctly set up, you’ll now see a button in the top menu of the UI called “VR Mode” click it and voilà.

“Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix virtual reality is. You have to see it for yourself.” — MorpheusThe Matrix

What you will see is that there are various tools available to you in VR Mode, this is because you are essentially still working on the project in VR. The means you can modify, scale, add or remove project assets amongst other things; very handy if you are still in design phase.

The standard VR navigation controls in Unreal are a little tricky at first, be sure to check out their guide for navigation.

💡Handy tip – If you go to Edit → Editor Prefs. → General → VR Mode and select “Enable VR Mode Auto-Entry” you can enable or disable VR Mode by putting on or taking of your headset. Useful if you are trying to make quick adjustments when working between desktop and VR.

Next year we will be going beyond the basics and into greater depth on developing in Unreal for VR. For now, be sure to check out Alex’s post on preparing VR-ready 3D models from Sketchup to Unity.

That’s all for 2020 folks. Merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year to all our readers present and future! 🎄🎉🥂

The MAVRiC Team

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