Unreal Engine 5 is here
We do not remember the last time there has been so much buzz around the announcement of a game engine as with Unreal Engine 5. However, we can understand the hype. In this new version, Epic Games’ engine promises a giant leap for the gaming industry in terms of realism. It will give every developer enough resources to create even more realistic, ambitious games in the upcoming years.
It has already been confirmed that huge blockbusters such as Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, Kingdom Hearts 4 or the next The Witcher game will benefit from the new features provided by Unreal Engine 5. Trust us; they will not be the only ones using UE5.
What does Unreal Engine 5 bring to the table?
Both triple-A companies and indie studios should be excited about everything this new version has to offer. Large studios will bring us even more enormous, hyper-realistic worlds thanks to tools like MetaHuman and the World Partition Tool. For independent developers or solo devs, Unreal Engine 5 will allow them to reach new heights. Thanks to features like Lumen, any game will be able to implement GOTY-worthy dynamic lighting.
Here you have a summary of everything new in Unreal Engine 5. You will find several features that will make your life easier regardless of the dimensions of your project. This article might help you if you have doubts about which engine you should use in future projects, for example. Let’s see why everyone is so hyped about UE5!
Lumen Dynamic Global Illumination
Lumen is a dynamic lighting tool included in Unreal Engine 5. To keep it short, it allows the creation of even more immersive environments. Thanks to this feature, the game’s world will react in real-time to any changes in lighting. The movement of the sun or actions like turning on a flashlight to see in the dark will affect the lights, shadows and reflections.
Coupled with integrated ray tracing, the level of detail and the way the light interacts with the environment will be dramatically increased. Forget about placing reflection captures!
Nanite Geometry is one of the most interesting features of Unreal Engine 5. This micro polygon geometry system will break any polygon limits in your games. Really, you will be able to import the highest quality assets with ease. Things like photogrammetric scans with millions of polygons will not affect the frame rate of your games. Even if you include them millions of times in your project!
How is it possible? Well, Nanite is an intelligent system and only processes the details you can perceive. What does not appear on the screen does not consume the same resources and therefore does not affect the frame rate or the quality of the rest of the elements in the environment. Modellers and level designers can take a well-deserved break!
Virtual Shadow Maps
Virtual Shadow Maps (VSM) is the ideal complement for Nanite and Lumen. This is a new method for creating high-resolution shadows to match the extensive geometric detail of Unreal Engine. It not only offers more realistic shading but is also more efficient. Thanks to VSM, developers will be able to implement shadows and modify its impact on performance in a more agile, intuitive way.
World Partition Tour
The video game industry tends to create larger and more realistic open worlds each day. It is hard to even imagine the proportions of the map in the upcoming The Witcher game, for example. The only thing clear is that CD Projekt Red will benefit from the World Partition Tour to offer a terrific world.
Until now, larger open worlds required subdividing levels into more manageable zones. While that made loading and managing the set easier, it meant handling and sharing multiple files, with the associated logistic issues. The most remarkable thing about World Partition Tour is that it fits the entire map in a single file divided into a grid. Only the necessary cells are activated at the same time, so it doesn’t matter how big the stage is. In addition, teammates can work on the same map without hindering each other thanks to the One File Per Actor (OFPA) system, which allows variations of the same area using a layering system. This is ideal for maps with weather variations or that change at different points in the game.
The addition of MetaHuman to Unreal Engine 5 will facilitate easier to create hyper-realistic characters for your game. This character editor includes nearly infinite variations of facial expressions, complexions, hairstyles, and skin tones, among other bodily features.
Using MetaHuman is as simple as grabbing a premade model from its database and starting to tweak it. Some of them are even fully animated! There is no doubt that MetaHuman is ideal as a base to inspire artists or to create convincing NPCs without investing too many resources.
Physics systems are a fundamental feature to achieve realistic environments in video games. Especially in action and adventure titles, where the interaction with the setting and the subsequent effects are an essential part of the fun. A giant wall demolishing in front of us, a bridge falling under our feet, an explosion destroying everything… The better physics, the more fun.
Epic Games knows this and that’s why they have implemented Chaos Destruction in Unreal Engine 5. Chaos is a next-generation physics system that allows you to destroy the environment with a degree of realism and control never seen before.
What do you need to start using these features?
Taking advantage of these features is very simple. You just have to download Unreal Engine 5 completely free and you will have access to all the tools from the beginning. That makes it a powerful, cheap and accessible alternative for video game studios of all sizes.
If you have an idea that you would like to try on Unreal Engine 5, feel free to contact us. Catness Games can develop a game from scratch using all the utilities of Unreal Engine 5 and thus materialize the project of your dreams. We are waiting for your ideas!