Epic Games revealed a demo video on May 13th that shows the next level of their Unreal Engine. This is one of the most common engines in gaming, powering titles like Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and The Outer Worlds. Epic Games has been hard at work developing Unreal Engine 5 for the next-generation systems, but the engine will also be used for mobile and PC gaming.
The tech demo released was using a dev kit PS5 and displayed photo-realistic environments, never before seen detail quality, and seamless movement. The features the Unreal Engine 5 bring to the table are:
Nanite – Virtualized Geometry
Film-quality assets with billions of triangles. This new tech will remove the current polygon budgets. This means a creator can take an asset, like from a film project, and import it directly into UE 5.
Lumen – Fully Dynamic Real-Time Global Illumination
Lighting is directional and from many sources. Lighting can cycle and create all-new shading effects.
Niagara – Advanced Simulations with Particle Intercommunication
Objects interact with each other to create a living world. The example given is beetles scurrying away from the shine of a flashlight.
Predictive foot placement for high-resolution environments
The character will naturally walk depending on the environment and rigging of the character. Climbing and cliff or walking on uneven ground will feel natural as the character appropriately places their foot.
Intelligent Flocking with Spatial Awareness
The example for this was a flock of bats that responded to the approaching character then fluttered away with an understanding of the boundaries of the cave. Once past the cave, they spread to account for the expanding space.
Seamless Contextual Interactions
The character will natural interact with the environment, much like the Predictive foot placement. The example here was the character placing their hand on the door as the passed. It’s may feel like a minor effect but goes a long way to immerse a player
We will learn more as Epic Games continues their testing. They are currently running all testing through Fortnite. Fortnite runs on UE 4 but will be upgraded to 5 when the engine is released in 2021.