In a surprising and unexpected reveal, Epic Games has released the very first PS5 tech demo, built on their very own Unreal Engine 5.
About the new key features in the PS5 Tech Demo:
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.
The newly updated engine will support both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and will supply developers with a whole new development toolset. It will support a number of “next-gen” features, including ray-tracing, improved lighting and visuals, and other exciting new features. Unreal Engine 5 should be available later next year for developers to use for commercial releases. In the meantime, Unreal Engine 4.25 is set to be releasing within the months and will be adding initial support for next-gen consoles so developers can get a head-start on development. Once developers have access to UE5, they will be able to easily backport their projects from any early versions of the engine.
With Unreal Engine being such a widely used engine, and most recently used in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, expect to see a large number of developers to move on to the next-gen version. We’ll be sure to keep you all posted on any new announcements in the meantime.