Today, Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, announced the next release to their game development engine, Unreal Engine 5. Not only did they announce the new engine, they also showed a demo of the engine running on a PlayStation 5... and it is beautiful!
Unreal Engine is a popular gaming engine that is used by many game developers. You can find it being used in games such as PlayerUnknown's Battleground, Gears of War, Fortnite, Borderlands, and many more. With this announcement, I bet we will be seeing games that are a lot more photorealistic and just downright gorgeous.
Why? You may ask, well, here is why...
As you can see in the demo video, Epic Games really takes the "Unreal" in the name to all new heights! With the addition of what Epic Games calls Nanite and Lumen, game developers will be able to step their "game" up! Not sorry for the bad pun. Here are the descriptions of what each of them does according to a blog post over at the Unreal Engine Blog.
Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see. Nanite virtualized geometry means that film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine—anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works. Nanite geometry is streamed and scaled in real-time so there are no more polygon count budgets, polygon memory budgets, or draw count budgets; there is no need to bake details to normal maps or manually author LODs; and there is no loss in quality.
Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes. The system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters. Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly. Lumen erases the need to wait for lightmap bakes to finish and to author light map UVs—a huge time savings when an artist can move a light inside the Unreal Editor and lighting looks the same as when the game is run on console.
Unreal Engine 5 uses the Quixel Megascan Library, which includes "film-quality objects" that are rendered with "up to hundreds of millions of polygons." As you can see in the tech demo, the power of Nanite allows for these objects to be visualized with little to no performance impact.
I mean heck, the room of statues the showed would probably melt most computers if it was made with an older engine, but, on the PS5, it was able to run perfectly!
The engine will be available for preview in early 2021, with the full release scheduled for later in the year. I honestly can not wait to see what type of games this game engine will allow developers to make in the near future!