The Future Is Now
If you’ve been clamoring for details on the next version of the Unreal Engine, then you’ve found the right spot. We’ve finally been given a glimpse into what we can expect from the new version of what’s arguably been the most popular engine amongst developers for the past twenty years.
A demo was released showcasing two of the new core technologies behind Unreal Engine 5, Nanite virtualized micro polygon geometry, and Lumen, a fully dynamic global illumination system. The developers behind Unreal Engine 5 wrote on their website:
“Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see. Nanite virtualized geometry means that film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine—anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works. 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.”
“Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes. The system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters. Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly. Lumen erases the need to wait for lightmap bakes to finish and to author light map UVs—a huge time savings when an artist can move a light inside the Unreal Editor and lighting looks the same as when the game is run on console.”
They went on to specify that the goal of this generation is photorealism, looking to bring the visuals of games up to par with that of cinema CG:
“One of our goals in this next generation is to achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life, and put it within practical reach of development teams of all sizes through highly productive tools and content libraries.”
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