Nearly two years after it was first announced, Epic Games has released its next-generation game engine. As part of a State of Unreal event today, the company revealed that Unreal Engine 5 is now available for download.
The updated engine has a number of improvements for developers – including improved performance and an improved user interface – but the main changes come from a handful of technologies designed for more photo-realistic visuals. These include Lumen, “a fully dynamic global lighting solution” for more lifelike lighting, and Nanite, which according to Epic “allows you to create games and experiences with massive amounts of geometric detail.” There are also more practical tools, such as the ability to screen off parts of an open world to make it easier for teams to work on areas independently. All in all, these tools are expected to make it easier to create large-scale games with high fidelity; CD Projekt Red has already confirmed it will use the tool to build the next one witcher†
While this is the first time the engine has been made generally available to game developers, a few major UE5 projects have already been released to the public through Epic itself. last Dec, Fortnite switched to Unreal 5 and at the same time Epic released The matrix awakensan impressive tech demo that fused the likenesses of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss with a large open world populated by the developer’s Metahuman characters.
“It’s great that we can experiment with user experience flows way before anyone else does,” said Epic CTO Kim Libreri. The edge† “So actually it’s really valuable to our customers because they don’t have to go through that. We don’t end up proposing super ill-considered workflows to all users. From that perspective, it’s great, especially with something as big as the Matrix demo and as big as Fortnite†
As part of today’s launch of UE5, Epic is also previewing The matrix awakens‘ city – without the Hollywood stars – available for game developers to build on. “I think we’re going to see some great things,” says Libreri. Epic also releases a sample multiplayer shooter called Lyrabuilt in UE5, which is very similar to Unreal Tournament and is something the developer says can be a “hands-on learning tool” for game makers.
Outside of gaming, engines like Unreal have also become increasingly popular for other uses, most notably film and television. The Mandalorian, for example, used Unreal for its virtual sets. With tools like UE5 and a new generation of gaming hardware, Libreri believes we’ll see more of this kind of crossover between mediums. In the past, he says, creators built “movie-quality assets” that then had to be scaled down to be used in a game. Now those lines are starting to fade, opening up all kinds of possibilities.
“It really means that you go beyond the boundaries of the media, whether you’re making a movie, making a TV show, or even creating a business application, you don’t have to think so much about making that choice,” he explains. from. “Obviously if you’re going to ship on lower platforms, you still have to think about how many triangles are in the scene. But on the new generation of hardware, it’s definitely a game-changer. It’s entirely possible that a scene shot for a streaming show at Netflix or Disney – where they basically used the highest resolution assets – now has a chance that things could appear in a game or, if we go into the future. , showing in some metaverse experience.”