Unreal Engine 5 Announced with New Tech Demo

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Epic Games, today, revealed the Unreal Engine 5, their newest game engine for the next generation with features designed to make game worlds more detailed and dynamic. To show off the capabilities of the engine, they released a real-time tech demo called “Lumen in the Land of Nanite”, which runs on the Playstation 5.

The demo is a fully playable title that is comprised of the engine’s two new tools: Lumens, a dynamic gloabl illumination tool, and Nanite, a virtualized geometry that lets artists import film-quality art and assets into the engine.

The demo shows a woman venture into a rocky cavern where she uncovers a hidden temple. The demo makes an effort to show how light and objects react dynamically, and it ends with a fight through a crumbling canyon. Everything in the demo is reacting in real-time, meaning that the Playstation 5 is processing the demo as it happens.

“I think a lot of people [will ask], ‘Oh is [the demo] real?’ But you know that demo was grabbed from the back of a PlayStation 5 development kit,” says Epic Games CTO, Kim Libreri,  “An HDMI cable went into a disc recorder and played out real-time — no editing, no tricks, that’s what comes off the box.”

Libreri says that the goal of the engine is to make game worlds as immersive and realistic as modern movies, but where that differs from previous generations is how interactive that realism is.

While environments in this generation, and older, are detailed and realistic, they are static. With Unreal Engine 5, player actions can affect the world and the engine can process those things in real-time. When a rock crumbles, it is not a preset thing, but a reaction to the player’s actions and the engine is capable of rendering that as it happens.

Epic Games also announced that they are waiving royalties on the first $1 million in game revenue starting today. This means that any developer using the Unreal Engine will keep more of their profits.

Unreal Engine 5 will be available in preview in early 2021, with a full release later that year. It will support current and next-gen consoles, PC, Mac, Android, and iOS.

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