Epic has published a video that shows off the capabilities of its new Unreal Engine 5 running in real-time on a Sony PlayStation 5. The games engine and publishing company says it designed UE5 "to achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life." Two key technologies have enabled what appears to be a leap forward in this full version number upgrade to Unreal Engine - Epic's 'Nanite' and 'Lumen'.
I've embedded the Unreal Engine 5 reveal video directly above for your convenience. It is nine minutes long but is definitely worth watching through. The visuals and audio are captivating and Epic Technical Director of Graphics Brian Karis and Special Projects Art Director Jerome Platteaux talk you through the video, explaining the achievements of the UE5 team during pertinent moments / scenes.
Remember, the 'Lumen in the Land of Nanite' video is showcasing real-time rendering of a next-gen videogame like environment. As well as Epic's new 'Nanite' and 'Lumen' tech, UE5 uses next-gen features already available in UE 4.25, including; Niagara VFX improvements, Chaos physics and destruction, animation system enhancements, and several audio advancements.
This is Epic's tech for virtualized micropolygon geometry. According to the developers Nanite lifts restrictions upon designers as it allows them to directly bring in "anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works". During the video commentary you will hear Brian Kamris mention the triangle counts in various scenes. "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," asserts Epic.
To demonstrate the tech prowess of UE5 on a PS5, the video shows a scene with a Z-Brush created statue with 33 million triangles and 8K textures. Shortly after that the game character enters a room with nearly 500 of these same statues situated in the environment, all at max quality.
Lumen is a "fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes". In the video you will see light sources in complex scenes manipulated, the effects on the environment, and even things like cockroaches running for cover out of the beam of a torch.
HEXUS recently wrote about Unreal Engine 4.25 ray-tracing features on PC, and that engine becoming ready for next gen consoles like the aforementioned PlayStation 5, as well as Microsoft's Xbox Series X. UE5 isn't going to knock UE 4.25 off its perch before it has even got comfortable. The next major point version of the Unreal Engine will only start to become available in preview from early 2021, with a full release later in the year. However, Epic is wisely designing with forward compatibility, so you can get started with next-gen development now in UE4 and move your projects to UE5 when ready.
Some people might have been disappointed with Microsoft's 20/20 real-time gaming demo showcase, showing upcoming titles running on the Xbox Series X, but the UE5 demo instils new hope for the next-gen consoles.