Software developer Epic Games, the company behind "Fortnite," just released the first look at Unreal Engine 5, the next generation of its popular game engine — and it looks genuinely spectacular.
Epic Games' flashy new demo, "Lumen in the Land of Nanite," runs in real-time on a PlayStation 5 and looks extraordinarily impressive. The company claims it could "achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life."
The demo offers a tantalizing glimpse of the fidelity that next-gen consoles — the long-awaited PlayStation 5 and Xbox One Series X — could offer.
Epic highlighted two new technologies in an official blog post.
First off, "Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry" gives artists the ability to create art "comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons" that can be directly imported into Unreal Engine.
Second, "Lumen" offers developers a "fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes." That means individual rays of light can bounce many times from surfaces, creating "indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters."
Of course, it's easy to be taken in by a showy new demo. Back in 2016, we were wowed by a demo of Unreal Engine 4 that now looks — well, not that impressive.
Still, this latest version, at first bluff, is majestic — a step along the way to games that could be almost indistinguishable from reality.
A preview of the new engine will be available in early 2021 and will support both next-gen and current-gen consoles, as well as PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
READ MORE: A first look at Unreal Engine 5 [Epic Games]
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