26 April 2022

Unreal Engine 5 – more real than ever!

We hardly have to tell you what happened on the 5th April just gone, do we. Yep, it was the launch of Unreal Engine 5 

This beaut from Epic Games has capabilities that put it in a whole different ballpark to Unreal Engine 4, and this is great news for everyone in the CGI industry from game developers to movie makers.  

Epic Games announced that they expect UE5 “to empower both large and small teams to really push the boundaries of what’s possible, visually and interactively”. 

And having had a good close-up look at its features, we can’t contradict them. Just have a read of this: 

  1. Lumen 

The dynamic Lumen lighting system is frankly awesome. Any changes in direct light source, like moving a torch, opening a door, or closing a window blind, will automatically, and in real-time, alter how that light source would bounce off other objects.  

    2. Nanite 

UE5’s Nanite geometry system is next on the list of hot features. This takes the focus off polygon budgets, so developers can concentrate on hyper-detailed models and environments. So, many more higher-poly objects can be placed in a scene, while the engine takes care of high performance and the level of detail on individual objects. 

UE5 also adds Virtual Shadow Maps (very high-resolution shadow maps, in actual fact) which ensures that Nanite’s richly detailed textures get the shadow quality to match.  

    3. Megascans 

We love this. It’s the mythical Alexandra library for CGI. Over 16,000 objects have been scanned from real life, making them not only photorealistic, but ready to use. The library contains everything from twigs and rocks to wooden stools and dented metal buckets with rust spots. These are built into UE5 by default, so the only limits are your own imagination. 

    4. Metahumans 

These are always one of the most expensive parts of any production. And let’s face it, up until now, sometimes one of the most disappointing. UE5 comes with a range of preset humans that will bring out the Victor Frankenstein in you. Don’t like the cheekbones? Change them. Face a bit too well proportioned? Enlarge the nose to “noticeable dimensions”. And all without having to visit a graveyard. 

    5. Its linked to Unreal Engine 4 

One of the best things about UE5 is that you can easily convert all of your UE4 projects into UE5. That’s right – all of the 10,000 asset packs we’ve been using in UE4 schmooze with UE5, and new free content is still being created every month.  

With this bag of goodies, it’s no surprise that Unreal Engine 5 is expected to receive widespread adoption. 

Already signed up are CD Projekt RED, the studio behind the Witcher series, and Crystal Dynamics who are masterminding the Tomb Raider reboot. Both developers will use Unreal Engine 5 for their next Witcher and Tomb Raider releases.  

To help developers Epic have created Lyra, a starter game that unfolds the new features in Unreal Engine 5. The good news is that Lyra and UE5 are free to download and use. And in return for this leg-up, Epic will take a royalty fee of 5%, but only after your project earns over $1 million.  

Does that sound tempting? Yes, we thought so. If you’d like to take a look right now, Unreal Sensei has produced a video (that we’ve watched a few times now) which shows you all of these features in action 

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