Some of the hardest problems that face game developers as world builders is trying to build in-game objects and have lighting work realistically. UE5 announced today, and addresses this, spectacularly.
The first part of this is Nanite. Nanite is UE5’s tool that virtualizes geometry, using anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data as source material. It generates geometric material based on that for as far as the eye can see in the game, and makes it easy to bring in film-quality assets.
The second part of this is Lumen. As the name says, it’s about lighting. 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,? Epic says.
And the demo seems to prove this. This demo is on a PS5 with m.2 storage and other resources, which really show off how well-equipped the console is. The XBox Series X will also provide the power to let UE5 shine.
PS5’s SSD will be capable of reading 5.5GB a second, even faster than Xbox Series X. It also blows anything available on PC storage out of the water, for now.
“The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on anything on PC for any amount of money right now. It?s going to help drive future PCs.” says Epic’s Tim Sweeney.
But UE5 isn’t out yet – it’s coming in 2021. Big-name games take 3 years to develop. So why are we talking about this?
Epic has a transition path where games that have been developed under UE4 should be able to move to UE5 and take advantage of the new engine features. UE5 is going to run on PS5, XBox Series X, Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
UE5 licensing is based on a royalty model, and Epic is not collecting royalties until the game has reached $1 million in sales. All royalties for games sold through the Epic Game Store (their Steam competitor) are waived completely.