We got our first look at Unreal Engine 5 with an exciting PlayStation 5 demo that looked – and felt – absolutely stunning. With ready-to-go film asset insertion and industry-breaking new technologies, Unreal Engine 5 is much more than a simple engine upgrade, this is a total game-changer for gamers, for developers, and even movie buffs.
What you need to know about Unreal Engine 5
The Unreal Engine 5 aims to change the nature of games in more than just stunning visuals. This latest breakthrough in gaming technology is a huge resource for all types of devs, from indie to AAA, and a resource that is available for free! Even better, Epic Games is waving royalties for all studios that use this technology until their game reaches over 1 million dollars in revenue, a move that is unprecedented and largely positive for the industry-side of game creation.
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If you’ve been following gaming news over the past several years, crunch in game development has been a huge conversation. Mistreatment, almost abusive-like work demands, and fast-paced deadlines have called a lot about dev culture out and drug the uglier parts into a much-needed spotlight. While many studios have addressed their own part in Crunch Culture and have made changes, there is still a long way to go in order to make the development scene friendlier for our beloved devs. That, and believe it or not, the Unreal Engine 5 will actually be a huge resource in that area as well.
The use of this technology eliminates the need to count BGs and cuts downtime spent in the more technical areas of creation a ton. After speaking with several developers over at Epic Games, the common consensus is that the features available thanks to this new engine will be widely positive because it will increase efficiency in the more technical areas, which can have a helpful impact on delivery times, time spent on the more intricate processes such as polygon counts, and more. More efficiency could potentially leave a lot of room for a more breathable outline of completion, which is a piece to the overall bigger Crunch Culture puzzle and how to solve it.
But what are these glorious Unreal Engine 5 features that will help make the gaming experience better for all? Let’s dive in!
Unreal Engine 5 is confirmed to work on both next-generation consoles and high-end PCs, according to Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney. Nanite was the first feature showcased during the recent presentation and its virtualized micropolygon geometry, which means that artists and technical directors are given an opportunity to pack a whole lot more into these incredible environments, more so than ever before. The Nanite technology is also the feature of Unreal Engine 5 that will give so many future games their movie-like quality thanks to the ability to manipulate billions of polygons. As mentioned previously, this technology will also make the process infinitely more efficient in terms of overall polygon budgets.
The main objective for the Nanite technology is for film-like assets, taking the already stunning graphics and animations of today and making them even better.
According to Epic Games, the Lumen technology “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.” The Lumen tech is a component that offers a major alteration to in-game lighting and the ability to translate realistic graphics on all included platforms by controlling exactly what that user perception is. This also bridges the gap even more in terms of PC and consoles, meaning the end of the “platform wars” could be in-sight in the much bigger picture of gaming.
Unreal Engine 5 is an evolution that is a collaborative effort to bring gaming to a level of quality previously untouched. This new step in technological advancement also makes productivity more mainlined in a way that will benefit developers while also taking their visions of impressive world creation to ‘unreal’ heights.
In the video above, you can also see the Chaos physics and ambisonics rendering that all play a part in what makes the next evolutionary jump for Unreal all the more interesting. So what is our the current timeline?
Unreal Engine 4.25 is currently functional with the next-generation platforms at this time, Epic Games confirms. With the next step, however, Unreal Engine 5 will be available early 2021, though the team over at Epic Games didn’t reveal an exact date at this time. Epic did mention that Unreal 5 will support next-gen consoles, this-gen consoles, high-end PCs, and mobile devices, which is important to note since many seem confused that it’s not a PlayStation-exclusive feature despite being a Sony-exclusive showcase.
Unreal Engine 5 is a huge leap in technology, one that the gamer in me from 30 years ago couldn’t even have imagined even when thinking so far beyond my wildest dreams. The next iteration of Unreal is going to do what Half-Life: Alyx did for VR; it’s going to turn how we approach development and perceive progression on its head and this is just one more phase in the industry that is going to bring this media to the level of recognition it deserves alongside TV and film.
You can learn even more about this technology with the official blog post here!
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Liana Ruppert is wildly passionate about all things in the gaming community, with an arguably unhealthy obsession with Dragon Age and Mass Effect. From shooters to RPGs, if it’s out – she’s playing it. A medically retired US Sailor and now full-time hoarder of gaming collectibles, Liana’s passion for everything in the gaming industry is palpable. Also, if you lose her in a crowd, just casually mention any BioWare game and the crazy pterodactyl screech will without a doubt follow. You can follow her on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy.