A new generation of gaming is about to kick off, but so far, we haven’t really seen much in the way of truly next-gen graphics...until now. Epic Games has just released “Lumen in the Land of Nanite,” a truly breathtaking demo of what Unreal Engine 5 will be capable of, running on the PlayStation 5. Yes, that's right -- we've got first PS5 gameplay, right here.
The demo is designed to show off two new technologies available to UE5 developers – Lumen, a new dynamic global illumination solution that will make for much more realistic lighting, and Nanite, a “virtualized micropolygon geometry” system that essentially allows developers to import film-quality models and assets into games. Basically, these two techs should help devs deliver the truly photorealistic graphics we’ve all been waiting for. But enough of my yapping, check out the Unreal Engine 5 demo for yourself, below.
- 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.
- 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.
According to Epic, Unreal Engine 5 will release in the latter half of 2021. What do you think? A little more excited for the future of gaming now that you’ve seen UE5 in action?