One of the highlights coming out of the Unreal Engine 5 demo was Epic’s new next-gen lighting system, Lumen, which supplied fully dynamic global illumination. While we are still a bit ways away from the full release of Unreal Engine 5, Epic has confirmed that Lumen is currently running at 30FPS (frames-per-second) on next-gen consoles with plans of optimizing it to reach 60FPS.
This news was confirmed during a UE5 session as part of the Unreal Fest Online event the company is currently holding. Nick Penwarden, the vice president of engineering at Epic Games opened up a bit about the tech behind Lumen, outlining what the team is currently working on in terms of improvements and what they hope to have by the time nextgen consoles launch.
Lumen is an early ambitious technology and is currently running at a 30FPS budget on next-gen console. The team is hard at work on optimizing and we are aiming for a 60 hertz budget on release. Also while Lumen is great on rougher reflective objects, we currently don’t support mirror reflections on smooth objects. We are also still working on detail tracing to reduce light leaking and achieve better results in architectural settings. Lastly, we are investigating more options for calling, so you can choose where you want to make your trade-offs between quality and performance for your projects.
In summary, Lumen is working today on next-gen consoles, has a great feature set, and gives amazing results for runtime dynamic lighting as you can see here and in other examples of the demo. All in all, we are incredibly excited to see what content creators can achieve with the power unlocked by Nanite and Lumen working in tandem.