Summer Game Fest dropped a huge bomb as it announced in a world premiere the new Unreal Engine 5, new technology that is meant to make the worlds of the next generation games as dynamic as can be. This reveal was accompanied by a tech demo entitled “Lumen in the Land of Nanite”, a stunning demo that you can view in its entirety below.
Best thing about the demo? It was running live on a PlayStation 5.
You can check out the full tech demo below:
For more technical feature runthrough of the new engine, take a peek at the video below:
It has to be said… THAT DEFINITELY LOOKS LIKE THE NEXT GENERATION.
Here is the overview of the 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.
Numerous teams and technologies have come together to enable this leap in quality. To build large scenes with Nanite geometry technology, the team made heavy use of the Quixel Megascans library, which provides film-quality objects up to hundreds of millions of polygons. To support vastly larger and more detailed scenes than previous generations, PlayStation 5 provides a dramatic increase in storage bandwidth.
The demo also showcases existing engine systems such as Chaos physics and destruction, Niagara VFX, convolution reverb, and ambisonics rendering.
If this is a sign of things to come, then you can count on the next generation of games looking… well, Unreal.