Once in 2013, Epic games shocked everyone with Inflitrator demo of Unreal Engine 4. Today sci-fi vignette doesn’t impress anymore. Suddenly, even astonishing things become a routine.
Now a similar situation is happening. Unreal Engine 5 is releasing next year. Epic Games has a new PlayStation 5 tech demo called Lumen in the Land of Nanite to impress with.
With UE5, developers will no longer have to worry about polygon counts, says Epic. They can import 3D assets made of hundreds of millions or even billions of polygons and the engine will handle the rest, streaming that ultra-complex geometry at the highest level of detail. Also, according to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, polygon counts really over as a measure of graphical fidelity.
No matter how clever this rendering tech is, polycounts were already on the way out as a limitation for game assets—it sounds awesome that billions of polygons can be used, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to be able to render film-quality environment scans with ease. Anyway, to get results like you see in the tech demo the player needs some good hardware, but it is within reach of today’s gaming PCs.
According to Librery, you will get an amazing performance even on a PC with a RTX 2070.
Regarding loading and streaming, Sweeney says that the PlayStation 5’s SSD architecture is “god-tier” and “pretty far ahead of PCs,” but that a player should still get “awesome performance” with an NVMe SSD.
New lighting tech is called Lumen. It is a neat particle system that can mimic the behavior of bat swarms and roaches. The Chaos physics system, and ambisonics rendering, were also presented in the demo. All of these will play nice with Nvidia’s RTX ray tracing. Although, there are no specific details. It is unclear what kind of performance Nvidia’s DLSS can potentially bring to UE5 games.
Players will get to start playing with the engine next year. A preview of Unreal Engine 5 will be out in 2021. A full release will be coming later. Games made in the current version of Unreal Engine will be able to get moved to UE5 , and Epic will be doing that with Fortnite.
The Unreal Engine remains free to use, and Epic is also changing its policy. Starting now and retroactive to January 1 of this year, Epic will no longer take any royalties on the first $1M of revenue from a game made with Unreal Engine.