After its game-change was revealed on the PlayStation 5 and following the initial access period, Unreal Engine 5 is finally available for general download. In conjunction with the release, Epic releases the cut-down, Keenu-free rendition of the notable The Matrix Awakens demo, with a sample game program called Lyra, to experiment with. The release of the UE5 takes center stage at today’s State of Unreal Virtual event, and we look forward to the introduction of the engine and the many technological in-depth dives surrounding the technology.
The UE5 installed Unreal Engine takes 4.27 and adds full support to many key next-generation technologies. Of course, we have already seen these in operation. Lumen is Epic’s full-time universal lighting solution, eliminating the need to rely on fixed, pre-calculated ‘packed’ lights, leaning on hardware-accelerated beam tracing where appropriate. Nanite is UE5’s virtualized micro-polygon technology that provides incredibly detailed details from the properties of motion picture quality and ‘pop-in’ removal of geometry.
The requirements of these systems are that native rendering in 4K resolution is not possible on today’s game consoles and is connected with another key feature: Temporal Super Resolution. Recently viewed for the first time on a non-UE5 topic – Ghostwire: Tokyo – TSR is the best software-based temporal upscaling solution we’ve seen to date. Raising it from a native 1080p to 4K – 2x resolution increase on both axes – the quality is comparable to Nvidia’s DLSS.
Another interesting new feature is a fully functional audio engine called MetaSounds, which “is fully programmable and compatible with rendering pipelines, bringing to the audio all the benefits of the process content creation that material editor shaders bring: dynamic data-to-play as well as audio-to-play properties , Major workflow improvements and more. “
Released in December by The Matrix Awakens, The Matrix Awakens today effectively unveiled Epic-speaking features – including a global sharing system for optimal open world streaming, data layers for different world variations, and more technologies, including practical development tools that help make this environment more resource-rich. -Controlled contexts are a continuation of the epic’s stated mission of democratizing high-level Triple-A features and making them available to all developers. Animation and editing options have also been improved in UE5, while the Quixel Bridge feature allows you to easily integrate full-size assets from the Quixel Megascans library.
Epic promises UE5 content to come to its market, but it’s going to be the arrival of the Lyra model game and The Matrix Awakens, which will be the hub of the digital foundry. Days. However, for the end user who wants to download UE5 and compile the demo, we have to point out that this is not the full experience as seen on the consoles. As predicted, all Warner Bros Matrix assets have been removed, meaning we have the practically created city at the end of the console release.
There is no guarantee of this, but we hope to revisit the old UE5 demo – Valley of Antiquity – in the hope that early access will get some visibility in upgrade updates from UE5 compared to this new release. The demo had some widespread stuttering issues due to CPU challenges in processing large areas of nanotechnology – which was greatly improved in The Matrix Awakens.
Another thing to emphasize is that while this is the first full release of Unreal Engine 5 (with games already in development), the engine is constantly evolving and there are still major challenges to be solved. As discussed in a recent article on CD Projekt RED’s move to UE5, it is clear that the next Witcher game will benefit from workflow and features – for example, Nanite and Lumen could revolutionize the open world. However, nanite support for opaque materials – e.g. Green – and skin geometry are even more on the ‘to do’ list. There are building blocks to create unique game worlds very easily, but we are still far from the finished article.
Despite this, Epic still deserves credit – UE5 is the first flagship engine to provide a comprehensive vision for the future of ‘next-generation’ graphics, supporting core rendering technology with in-depth improvements in workflows – and games are large and complex. Epic’s vision is not only to democratize Triple-A features and make them available to all developers, but also to provide basic assets and practical generation techniques to accelerate the creation of game worlds. In order to tap into full games in Lumen and Night, we have to be patient – it will take some time for emerging technologies to come into big budget games. However, in the short term, you can find some small projects based on the Matrix Awakens city and the Lyra game model, which developers are free to customize. Expect our closer look at UE5 coming soon.