Back to the Main page
The OptiTrack Unreal Engine 4 Plugin allows real-time streaming of live rigid body tracking data from Motive into Unreal Engine 4 (abbreviated as UE4). The plugin also features HMD tracking integration for virtual reality applications. Once the plugins are added to the Unreal Engine directory, OptiTrack – NatNet Streaming Client and OptiTrack – Oculus Rift plugins will be available within the UE4 project. This article focuses on the streaming workflow as well as setting up the HMD in UE4 using the plugin. For general instructions on setting up the system, please refer to the Getting Started guide.
The NatNet Streaming Client plugin will allow you to stream rigid body tracking data from Motive onto Unreal Engine, and the Oculus Rift plugin will allow you to implement HMD tracking onto your scene. Once the plugins are enabled, OptiTrack Client Origin object can be called, and it connects the project to the server application (i.e. Motive) via NatNet protocol. Position and orientation of the Client Origin object reconciles the global origin in Motive, and all streamed tracking data will be referenced against to it. This origin can be placed anywhere in the scene and scaled to different sizes. Once the project is connected to the server application, imported tracking data can be used to instantiate the HMD and animate the objects in virtual reality applications.
Virtual Reality Experience
OptiTrack motion capture systems provide motion tracking with outstanding accuracy, and all of which can be accomplished with extremely low latency. Utilizing its tracking capability, an OptiTrack system can be used to provide fully immersive virtual reality experience by integrating head-mounted display (HMD) device. From this combined setup, even tiny movements can be precisely captured and reflected in the virtual scene.
As of OptiTrack Unreal Engine 4 Plugin 1.3.0, Oculus DK2, CV1, and Gear VR HMD models are supported
To stream the rigid body data, follow the general data streaming workflow provided from the Data Streaming page. Make sure appropriate network interface is defined and the Stream Rigid Bodies is enabled under the streaming settings.
When streaming the data over a wifi network, Unicast transmission must be used.
This section includes instructions on installing and configuring the Unreal Engine plugin to receive tracking data from Motive.
C:\Program Files\Epic Games\4.##\Engine\Plugins
Note: When using the Oculus Plugin, make sure to disable the built-in Oculus Rift (or the Gear VR) and Stream VR HMD plugins under virtual reality plugins category. Otherwise, the editor may crash, or they may end up having a higher priority than the OptiTrack Oculus Plugin, and if enabled, will be used in preference to it.
The OptiTrack Client Origin enables the Unreal Engine (client) to communicate with the NatNet server where Motive’s rigid body and HMD tracking data is obtained. In the client object, both the communication address and the rigid body ID for the HMD are configured. Add this object simply dragging and dropping the OptiTrack Client Origin from the Modes panel into the scene.
Once the OptiTrack Client Origin is placed, position and orientation of this object will reconcile the global origin of Motive in Unreal Engine. In other words, the tracking data will be represented according to where this Client Origin object is placed and how it is oriented.
Global Origin: Both position and orientation of the OptiTrackClientOrigin will represent the global origin of the tracking volume within Motive.
Version 1.8: Advance settings: Auto-initialize
Integrating skeleton tracking in Unreal Engine requires a 3D retargeting process. This can be accomplished through a third party software that retargets the 3D data to produce realistic motion in a scene. For more information, contact us.
Notes for IKinema LiveAction for UE 4.18.
C:\Program Files\Epic Games\UE_4.18\Engine\Plugins\UE_4.18\OptiTrack\OptitrackNatNet\ThirdParty\NatNetSDK\lib
C:\Program Files\Epic Games\UE_4.18\Engine\Plugins\LiveAction\Source\ThirdParty\NatNet\NatNetSDK\lib\
First of all, make sure the OptiTrack – OculusVR is enabled in your project in the plugins panel in order to integrate the HMD. Once the Client Origin object is called into the project, input the streaming ID for the HMD rigid body to the HMD Rigid Body ID section under the OptiTrack Client Origin. Then within the project World Settings, set the Default Pawn Class to be the OptiTrackHMDPawn class. Once this is set up, follow the HMD setup steps in the next section to prepare your HMD object in Motive.
Gear VR devices can also be integrated and the tracking information can be streamed via wifi connections using a router with sufficient bandwidth. The required bandwidth will vary depending on many factors (e.g. router type, the number of tracked object, etc.). The following settings must be configured in addition to the above HMD settings for developing Gear VR experiences using the plugin. For more information on developing Gear VR applications in Unreal Engine, refer to UE 4 documentations.
First of all, setup and optimize the motion capture volume as explained in the Getting Started guide or the Hardware Setup documentation. If you plan to install any obstacles (e.g. walls) within the capture volume, make sure they are non-reflective, and place and orient the cameras so that every corner is thoroughly captured by multiple cameras. For typical rigid body tracking, attach the rigid body markers as instructed in the Rigid Body Tracking page.
General Setup Steps
There are two different types of markers that can be used to track an object with OptiTrack systems: Passive markers and Active markers. Passive markers are retroreflective markers that reflect infrared light emitted from the IR LEDs on the camera. On the other hand, the active markers are LED markers that emit the IR light. Either type of markers can be used to track HMDs.
Use appropriate adhesives and marker posts to securely attach the markers to the HMD. For active markers, the active Tag must be attached also in order to synchronize and power the LEDs also. Oculus CV1 HMDs can use the active CV1 clip enclosure to easily place 8 active markers over the HMD. Depending on which marker you are using to track the HMD, the setup instructions will vary slightly.
With the HMD bracket, simply attach the active marker bracket onto an CV1 HMD and use the active markers on it to define a rigid body.
When using the active markers, the markers are actively labeled individually from each of their own unique illumination patterns, and only the matching active markers get contributed to the rigid body solve. The biggest benefit from the individual labeling is that markers can be placed in perfectly symmetrical placements among multiple rigid body assets.
When attaching retroreflective markers, make sure markers are securely attached and readily captured by the cameras. For attaching the markers, we recommend using our 20 mm wide and 30 mm tall M4 threaded plastic marker bases with Acrylic adhesives, available at the webstore, to attach the markers onto the HMD.
A markered HMD will be defined as a rigid body in Motive. When placing markers, make sure the placement asymmetry is respected in the arrangement within the HMD. Also, the marker arrangements between multiple HMDs must be incongruent. For more details, read about marker placement from the Rigid Body Tracking page.
Creating Active Clip HMD
This feature can be used only with HMDs that have the OptiTrack Active HMD clips mounted.
For using OptiTrack system for VR applications, it is important that the pivot point of HMD rigid body gets placed at the appropriate location, which is at the root of the nose in between the eyes. When using the HMD clips, you can utilize the HMD creation tools in the Builder pane to have Motive estimate this spot and place the pivot point accordingly. It utilizes known marker configurations on the clip to precisely positions the pivot point and sets the desired orientation.
HMDs with passive markers can utilize the External Pivot Alignment tool to calibrate the pivot point.
Creating HMD from the markers
In Motive, select the markers that are attached to the HMD and create a rigid body (Hotkey: CTRL + T) as you would do for other rigid bodies. Once this is set up, use the External Pivot Alignment tool in the Builder pane (rigid body → Edit) to calibrate the pivot point of the created rigid body:
For using OptiTrack system for VR applications, it is important that the pivot point of HMD rigid body gets placed at the appropriate location, which is at the root of the nose in between the eyes. External Pivot Alignment tool utilizes both the OptiTrack mocap system and the HMD's own tracking system (Oculus Tracker / Vive Base Stations) for precisely calculating the location of the pivot point of an HMD. When using this feature, both systems must be tracking the HMD simultaneously.
HMD Compatibility Notes:
External Pivot Calibration Tips:
Once the rigid body is created, select the asset and open the Properties pane. The following settings need to be configured for HMD tracking.
Deflection setting is the tolerable distance, in millimeters, that a rigid body marker may deviate from its expected position before it is unlabeled and unassociated with the rigid body. The deflection is set to 4 mm by default. For HMD tracking applications, we recommended lowering this value to 3 or 2. This will reduce the amount of computation required for labeling, and overall latency may be reduced.
The User Data value for each rigid body is used as an identification number to reference the rigid body in external applications. Log this value for each rigid body (including the HMD(s)) in the scene. This number will be used to associate the assets in the client applications using the plugin devices.
This setting may need to be modified when tracking HMDs with passive markers. To prevent the swapping of the rigid body definition, set this setting to 4. When tracking multiple HMDs, there could be limitations to a variety of unique marker arrangements that could be achieved. If this value is set to a lower value, a set of three markers on an HMD may be congruent to another set in a different HMD, and the rigid body definitions may be switched in Motive.
After the rigid body definition have been created for the HMD, the position and orientation of the rigid body pivot point should get placed precisely on the root of the player's nose with the respective orientation axis pointing the forward direction. If needed, you can use the Builder pane edit tools to recalibrate the HMD pivot point positions.
In most cases, you will be utilizing the previously described calibration tool for precisely positioning and orienting the HMD rigid body. However, if, for some reason, you want to manually position the pivot point without using the HMD Calibration feature, follow the instruction on this page: Manually Calibrating the HMD Pivot Point.
Tip: Once you have the rigid body asset for the HMD configured, you can export the asset into a TRA file for future uses. Importing the TRA file (e.g. CV1.tra) will load the rigid body (HMD) asset and make it available for use; however, the marker placement must remain unchanged in order to re-load previously created rigid bodies.
Once you have connected the client object and configured the script components on the assets from the scene. Play the scene, and if the properties are correctly configured, the assets in the game scene will be animated according to the position and orientation of the rigid bodies and the HMD in Motive. When playing the scene, the HMD and the assigned actor objects will be placed in respect to their location in Motive’s coordinate system disregards to their position in the editor.
When setting up multiplayer games on wireless clients, it is more beneficial for each client to make direct connection to both the tracking-server (Motive) and the game-server, rather than rebroadcasting the streamed tracking data through the game-server. Then, any of the game related actions that interacts with the tracking data can be processed on the game-server, and this server can send out the corresponding updates to the wireless clients. This allows the wireless clients to only receive both the tracking data or updates without having to send back any information; in other words, minimizing the number of data transfers needed. If wireless clients are sending data there will be a minimum of two transfers on the wireless network, and each transfer of data through wireless network is at risk of latency or lost packets.