Epic Games has unveiled Unreal Engine 5 with a stunning tech demo running on the upcoming PlayStation 5.
The demo was hosted by Brian Karis, Epic’s technical director of graphics, and Jerome Platteaux, art director of special objects.
One of the two key features that Unreal Engine 5 brings to the table is a system called Lumen, which provides “dynamic global illumination” and “beautiful bounce lighting, instantaneously” Karis said.
“I don’t have to be constrained to do a world where the game has to be static,” Platteaux added, “and I’m able to iterate it a lot faster.”
The other big feature is “truly virtualized geometry.”
“The artists wouldn’t have to be concerned over poly counts, draw calls, or memory” Karis explained. “We could directly use film-quality assets and bring them straight into the engine.”
To demonstrate the power of these new features, Karis and Platteaux ran through a demo called Lumen in the Land of Nanite, which begins with a young girl spelunking through some gorgeous caves.
Karis pointed out there were “over a billion triangles of source geometry in each frame,” giving every rock in the cave an astounding level of detail.
As the player character explores the cave, the demo also shows off the engine’s acoustics, including reverb that emulates what one would hear in real-life spaces.
The rest of the demo shows off the uncannily lifelike animations as the player character climbs a rock wall, explores an ancient temple, and flies out of a collapsing city. It’s a stunning showcase of the new technology, and if game developers can harness its potential, the next generation of games will look mighty great.