This week, Epic Games published an updated Unreal Engine 5.1 roadmap that is filled with exciting improvements coming to the popular game creation software.
To begin with, the engineers are attempting to fix those dreadful stuttering hitches that often plague Unreal Engine 4+ games. Unreal Engine 5.1 is getting an Automated PSO Gathering feature to help with this long-standing issue.
With the increasing emphasis in UE5 on DX12 and Vulkan, we're focusing attention on solving the problem of runtime hitches caused by Pipeline State Object creation, which is inherent to those RHIs. The previous solution required a PSO pre-caching process, which could be burdensome for large projects and still leave gaps in the cache leading to hitches.
Automated PSO Gathering replaces the manual work required to collect all possible PSO combinations for a project while at the same time keeping the number of PSOs as small as possible.
Of course, this fix won't be available for the many Unreal Engine 4 games still in development, but at least we can hope that future titles using Unreal Engine 5.1+ won't suffer from the issue any longer.
This is only one of many improvements planned by Epic for the new Unreal Engine 5 version. The engine's most exciting new features, Lumen and Nanite, will both receive various enhancements.
- Improved performance optimizations in High scalability mode with the goal of achieving 60 fps on consoles
- Improved support for foliage
- Reflections on Single Layer Water
- Support for high-quality mirror reflections on translucent surfaces
- Support for nDisplay (SWRT and HWRT)
- Initial support for split-screen (SWRT only); performance characteristics still TBD
- Experimental: Hardware Ray Tracing (HWRT) in Vulkan - Surface cache lighting only, no support yet for Hit Lighting
- Many stability, quality, and bug fixes
The primary focus of Nanite for Unreal Engine 5.1 is the addition of a programmable rasterization framework, opening the door to features such as masked materials, two-sided foliage, pixel depth offset, and world position offset. Please note that the exact feature list and expected stability and performance characteristics are still TBD.
Other updates include:
- Nanite material switch in the Material Editor
- Additional diagnostic and debug modes
- Many quality and performance improvements
There's more, including various improvements to GPU Lightmass, Path Tracing, Niagara, and Chaos Cloth. Unreal Engine 5.1 doesn't have a release date yet, nor do any of the games made with it (except Epic's own Fortnite), but in the meantime, you can watch this remake of the Unreal Engine 4 Elemental demo.