Bringing hands into virtual reality just got a major upgrade. Now officially integrated in Unreal Engine 4.11, getnamo’s independent plugin for Leap Motion makes it faster and easier than ever to integrate Leap Motion Orion into your VR projects!

unreal_gif1 This popular community plugin is now the official plugin and brings new features like rigged character hands, Image Hands, passthrough, and built-in support for the Oculus Rift. Visit developer.leapmotion.com/unreal to get started.

The new plugin is also fully compatible with the radically new tracking capabilities of our Orion software. “It’s amazing to see the Leap Motion Controller improve over time in an engine where you have full control,” says getnamo, aka Jan Kaniewski.

“You could see hints of what it could be early on, but it was at times frustrating. Now with Orion that frustration is gone and you can just reach out and touch things. You know they’re not there, but in your mind and in your hands, phantom sensations give you momentary feelings of their solid realness.”

From Aerospace Engineer to VR Dreamsmith

How an indie #LeapMotion project became part of #UE4: http://bit.ly/1pSVeoQ Click To TweetJan started his career as an aerospace engineer, but found the industry “glacial” and boring. After the launch of the first iPhone, he dove into the fledgling iPhone OS, creating a teaching app for quick mental mathematics. “The small audience that used it, loved it. It was an empowering opportunity. You could now build small, simple apps and they would affect thousands, potentially millions of people around the world. I was hooked.”

After ordering the Rift in 2013, Jan released several VR experiments, starting with Rift Mountain in the first Oculus VR Jam. This continued with Skycall: Rook Island, a “hilariously exhausting real bird flapping experience using Hydras in UDK. Around this time it hit me: dreamsmith. A childhood dream of mine was now real, just as I imagined it when I was young, running with outstretched hands with eyes fixed on an invisible horizon.”

“There is no return from that.”

Unreal Engine 4 and Open Source

With the release of UE4 as an open-source C++ game engine, getnamo catapulted into building input plugins, culminating with his Leap Motion project. Originally forked from Marc Weiser’s UE4 plugin, it’s evolved a lot over two years.

“UE4’s open source nature has started paying dividends and we’re getting a lot of really cool community projects and plugins all with a simple goal of being there in the future, together. This a core tenet for me. We’re all in this journey together, and you don’t know how wide your wings are until you take flight and then show others how to fly.”

Next Up: NexusVR.io

Jan’s next major project is one that he started with a small demo for the 2015 3D Jam – NexusVR. It lets you move between social spaces like VRChat, Convrge, Altspace, or JanusVR without having to drop out of VR. Multiplayer support is up next.

“We want to visit all places, see all things, so why not build a bridge and make the crossing a bit easier? It will be a cool place, one where you can play, socialize, or just see the wonders of the metaverse. Always bring your towel.”

nexusvr

Alex is the head writer and blog editor at Leap Motion, where he stands as the final bulwark against bad grammar. Want to share your Leap Motion project? Email acolgan@leapmotion.com or PM leapmotion_alex on Reddit.

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