| V2.0 | 22/03/2021 |
DCS Unreal Engine plugin has been designed to stream live focus, iris and zoom information from the LDT range direct into Unreal Engine. Below are the step-by-step instructions on how to set-up the LDT hardware and the DCS live link in Unreal Engine on Windows 10.
In order to pass the lens data to Unreal Engine the following hardware is required:
• A Preston Follow Focus System and or,
• A Smart lens.
For the purpose of tests and troubleshooting, sample lens data can be generated without hardware using the "DCS LDT Emulator" application. Further information about the emulator can be found here: DCS Unreal Engine Plugin.
• If using a Preston: Connect the MDR to the LDT-V1 MDR port with the MDRP (blue) cable
• If using a smart lens: Connect the lens to the LDT-V1 MDR port using the SML (yellow) cable
• Power the LDT-V1 with the PWRA or PWRC cable to a 2-pin or Dtap power source
Push the joystick in to enter the menu, use the back button to go back.
If using a Preston choose: Menu > Settings > Advanced > Data Source > Local Table.
If using a smart lens choose: Menu > Settings > Advanced > Data Source > Pull from Lens.
Choose: Menu > Settings > MODE > Virtual Production
In order to inject live lens data into Unreal Engine, a Preston (or other follow focus system) must be connected to the LDT-R2.
The Preston MDR 3 or MDR 4 must be running the most recent firmware.
Set up the Focus/Iris/Zoom direction for normal use on the Preston. If a separate Iris handset is being used, this should be connected now, and the direction of the Preston Motors is correct. The same should be done for Zoom demand.
Creation of a lens table is essential to ensure the streaming process. To do this, the relevant lens information (lens name, brand, serial number etc.) should be entered into the LDT-V1, along with all of the values from each axis (focus, iris, zoom) marking for each lens.
Detailed instructions on how to do this can found in the LDT-R2 Manual (the process is the same on the LDT-R2 and LDT-V1).
The DCS Plugin must be copied to the following location:
C:/Program Files/Epic Games/EU_4.26/Engine/Plugins.
Ensure that the IP address of Unreal Engine is set to the standard IP address.
Install the Unreal Engine DCS Plugin by first opening the Unreal Engine Launcher:
Click the Marketplace tab:
Search for the DCS plugin by typing “DCS Plugin” into the search field and pressing “Enter”:
The following will be displayed after a short time. Click on the DCS v1.1 Plugin:
A dialog may pop up with Free and Add to Cart buttons. If this is the case, click the Free button and continue.
Click the Install to Engine button:
When Install is clicked, a tab is created. This is where the plugin installation location within the Unreal Engine is selected. Leave everything as it is and click the install button to start the installation process:
The installation process can be monitored in the downloads tab on the left vertical menu bar.
Once the installation has completed, verify that the plugin has installed correctly by clicking the “Library” tab and clicking the “Installed Plugins” text:
There may be a button that says “install to Engine” next to the DCS plugin. This is here to allow an installation into a different version of the Engine (if the workstation has more than one version).
Click the “Installed Plugins” text beneath the Unreal Engine version number to verify that the plugin has been installed correctly:
This section will create the most basic set up so that the DCS plugin can be tested.
Start the Unreal Engine by running the Epic Games launcher and selecting “Launch”. If more than one version of the Unreal Engine is installed, choose the version to be used.
The Select or Create New Project window will pop up. The category of the new project should be chosen here, for example, choose Film, Television and Live Events. When selected, hit the Next button:
The Select Template window will open. From here the template to be used can be chosen. For this example, a blank project will be perfect for demonstration purposes.
This also shows that higher level dependencies are not required when working with the DCS Plugin. When the right template has been selected, click the Next button:
In the next window, project settings can be set. For the purpose of this demonstration, leave everything as it is. Choose a folder and a name for the project, and enter these into the relevant spaces at the bottom of the window:
The blank project will now load.
Before the workspace can be used, the DCS Plugin will need to be enabled.
Go to “Edit > Plugins”:
Verify that the “Live Link” plugin is enabled. If it isn’t, enable it now. If the plugin cannot be found, utilise the search bar by typing the Plugin name. The list of plugins will change as the plugin name is typed:
At this point, the DCS Plugin should also be searched for and enabled:
When these Plugins are enabled, the Unreal Engine should be closed and restarted.
For now, 2 panels will be used. First of all, enable the Live Link panel by going to
Window > Live Link:
Next, click the “Source” button. This will show the Live Link sources. Add a “DCS Live Link Source” which will communicate with external devices:
Click on the “Cinematic” item in the “Place Actors” pane and drag the “Cine Camera Actor” onto the scene.
In order to make the camera available to other Live Link subjects, select the newly created Cine Camera and click the “Add Component” button. Search for “Live Link Controller” and click on it to add it to the camera.
Use the DCS Emulator to simulate a connected camera device. Click the Start button and notice that a camera subject has already been added and it is active (it will have a green indicator).
In order to connect an external device and the internal scene camera, select the recently created Live Link Component Controller at the Cine Camera actor and select “Subject Representations”. It will list all the available Live Link devices, and the emulated device will be selectable.
Make sure that the “World Transform” property is disabled. This can be found in the Live Link Component Controller settings menu, under “Transform Role > Live Link“:
Following the Quick Start tutorial, a new minimal virtual production has been created. The scene view to the camera has been set, Live Link sources and subjects have been automatically assigned and finally, package the Unreal project to an executable.
First save the added devices/subjects and the source as a Live Link Preset, by pressing “Presets > Save As Preset:
This is an important step. All devices should be connected, and the configuration saved as a preset so they can work in the package project (.exe).
Choose a name for the Preset and click “Save”.
Open the level Blueprints by clicking on the “Open Level Blueprint” button in the “Blueprints” menu:
Drag the Camera actor that has been assigned the Live Link external device to the Blueprints menu:
Right click inside the Graph editor (checkerboard pattern) and search and add the “Get Player Controller” function:
Right click and search for the “Set View Target with Blend” function and add it to the Graph Editor. This function won’t show until the “Context Sensitive” option is disabled:
Connect the boxes in the following way. This function will execute right after the “Begin Play” event (when the map has been loaded). Target the Cine Camera Actor and assign the starting view instead of the player (First-person) to the camera. Doing this will show everything from the camera’s view.
Next, create a new variable on the left of the Blueprint editor:
Select the recently created variable. It isn’t necessary to change its name, however, it is necessary to select a new variable type for it. Search for the “Live Link Preset” object and add it:
Compile the Level Blueprints by pressing the “Compile” button. This will take a few seconds:
The Live Link Preset the was created earlier can be found in the Content Browser inside the Unreal Engine editor. Drag it to the Blueprint editor and set it as the recently created variable’s “Default Value”:
The variable is now set. Create it by dragging it to the scene and pressing the “Get variable code”.
Add the “Apply to Client” function to the Event Graph. This can only be found if the “Context Sensitive” option is disabled.
At the end, the Level Blueprint’s Event Graph should look like this:
Don’t forget to make the connections between the newly added components.
Connecting the Preset is an important step. This tells the program what devices it should assign to the Client at the start of a packaged project.
It is important that the Cine Camera Actor’s “Packaging Mode” is set to “Internal”. This can be found by clicking on the Camera Actor object and scrolling down to the “Actor” settings. The settings menu may need to be expanded in order to see the “Packaging Mode” setting.
Also make sure that the “Game Default Map” is set to “Main” (or the custom map where the camera was placed). This can be found in “Edit > Project Settings” and search for “Map” in the searching bar.
In order to package the project, click on File > Package Project > Windows (64-bit). Select the target folder. The packaging might take a few minutes depending on the hardware used. After the process, the executable can be found in the folder that has previously been selected. All the devices that were saved by the Live Link Preset should work after running the .exe.
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