Calling all gamers – As we are enter the holiday season here in the U.S., the elves at Backtrace have been hard at work preparing a new batch of presents!
We’ll kick off this update with the announcement of beta support for our newest platform, the Unreal Engine 4 (UE4).
Unreal Engine 4 Overview
UE4 is a pure C++ engine designed for high performance visualizations. It provides a flexible renderer to support gaming, simulations, and other user interfaces. UE4 is primarily known for it’s use in the Video Game industry, as it provides a runtime engine for Windows/Mac, Gaming Consoles, Mobile & VR. But it is also popular for more “Enterprise” style applications, such as automotive user interfaces, architectural visualization, data presentations, and linear entertainment. Companies like IKEA, BMW, Toyota & NASA are highlighted by the Unreal team in their showcase.
With this release, Backtrace is pleased to announce a beta of native support of the Unreal Crash Reporter for games and applications running on Unreal Engine 4.
Benefits of Backtrace with UE4
Early adopters of Backtrace’s UE4 integration have had great success so far. They have been able to limit the number of crashes their users encounter, and quickly respond to high impact issues that do occur. Backtrace has allowed them to improve customer retention rates and reduce the rate of refunds.
There are three common scenarios we see Backtrace being used with UE4:
- Testing – Teams can reduce the amount of time it takes to identify root cause with Backtrace’s web debugger and no-hassle symbol management.
- Before rolling out production changes – Release engineers can review trends in crash occurrences to ensure stability of the proposed release version.
- Production – Development teams can quickly and accurately capture crashes that occur in the field, and help engineering managers prioritize those that impact the most number of their users.
How does it work?
Backtrace designed the crash capture system to be high performance with minimal impact to running code.
- Edit your games Config\DefaultEngine.ini file to tell it to submit crashes to your project in the Backtrace system. More details are available in our documentation.
- This is a cleaner method than other solutions that require the addition of third party dlls, and an override of the Unreal Engine crash reporter.
Once submitted, Backtrace will process the crash, and allow for querying with rich visualization in our Query Builder UI. This allows users to see patterns in crashes and identify priorities based on user impact.
Following is a step by step explanation of how crashes are processed by Backtrace:
- When a crash of the Unreal Engine 4 occurs, the engine will generate an archive. The game will be configured by the developer to send the crash archive to the Backtrace system. The archive will contain, at a minimum:
- A minidump formatted crash file.
- An xml file (CrashContext.runtime-xml) with some additional system information.
- Some log files.
- Backtrace will expand the crash archive that it receives, store and process the minidump file, and associate the attachments and attributes with the crash.
- Backtrace will process the crashcontext-runtime.xml file and extract attributes values that have been configured via Attributes for the project.
- Backtrace also allows developers to specify additional custom Attributes from within the game to send to the Backtrace system.
- Backtrace’s Query Builder interface allows developers to use those Attributes to summarize the impact and determine priorities of crashes. Common queries that our customers run with the Query Builder include:
- Find crashes that are occurring on startup (within the first 5 minutes of gameplay)
- Find crashes that occur with specific graphic cards or driver versions.
- Identify crashes that occur in certain game levels or when battling certain enemies.
We are excited to provide an easy to integrate and powerful crash management and debug solution for Unreal Engine 4. The Backtrace solution is available for beta testing by customers running UE4 on Windows and Mac computers. You can get started today by checking out our documentation at https://documentation.backtrace.io/product_integration_ue4/