The gaming industry is now showing its cards together with the upcoming next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Epic Games has just announced and previewed Unreal Engine 5, the next big iteration of the Unreal Engine, showcasing high-level graphics and detail.
While the preview is, without a doubt, a definite eye-candy, what goes behind the scenes is that we can expect a major jump in terms of graphical fidelity in upcoming games. It also shows that next-gen consoles the PS5 and the Xbox Series X are both capable of running graphically impressive games in real-time. It’s also not weird to say that PC-users can also expect a major leap in graphics with this coming generation as games are usually launched for the 3 systems with consoles sort of acting as a base for PC releases.
Available for the Switch and Mobile Devices
Another thing worth noting is that Unreal Engine 5 will also be available for the Nintendo Switch, Apple iOS, and Android. This may mean that we can expect a visual improvement on games under Unreal Engine 5 on the said devices, though probably not on par to those of the PC and consoles.
Fortnite In Unreal Engine 5
Epic Games has also stated that they will use their new engine to run Fortnite on the new consoles. This could open to more possibilities and probably more bombastic events for the ever popular Battle Royale game.
For more information, check out the official Press Release below:
Official Press Release:
Epic Games today announced a first look at Unreal Engine 5. One of Epic’s goals in this next generation is to achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life, and put it within practical reach of development teams of all sizes through highly productive tools and content libraries.
The reveal was introduced with “Lumen in the Land of Nanite,” a real-time demo running live on PlayStation 5, to showcase Unreal Engine technologies that will free creators to reach the highest level of real-time rendering detail in the next generation of games and beyond.
This demo previews two of the new core technologies that will debut in Unreal Engine 5:
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.
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.
Numerous teams and technologies have come together to enable this leap in quality. To build large scenes with Nanite geometry technology, Epic’s team made heavy use of the Quixel Megascans library, which provides film-quality objects up to hundreds of millions of polygons. To support vastly larger and more detailed scenes than previous generations, PlayStation 5 provides a dramatic increase in storage bandwidth.
The demo also showcases existing engine systems such as Chaos physics and destruction, Niagara VFX, convolution reverb, and ambisonics rendering.
Unreal Engine 4 & 5 timeline
Unreal Engine 4.25 already supports next-generation console platforms from Sony and Microsoft, and Epic is working closely with console manufacturers and dozens of game developers and publishers using Unreal Engine 4 to build next-gen games.
Unreal Engine 5 will be available in preview in early 2021, and in full release late in 2021, supporting next-generation consoles, current-generation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Epic is designing for forward compatibility, so developers can get started with next-gen development now in UE4 and move projects to UE5 when ready.
Epic will release Fortnite, built with UE4, on next-gen consoles at launch and, in keeping with the team’s commitment to prove out industry-leading features through internal production, migrate the game to UE5 in mid-2021.
Unreal Engine royalties waived on first $1 million in game revenue
Starting today, game developers can download and use Unreal Engine for free as always, except now royalties are waived on the first $1 million in gross revenue per title. The new Unreal Engine license terms, which are retroactive to January 1, 2020, give game developers an unprecedented advantage over other engine license models. For more information, visit the FAQ.
Epic Online Services have launched!
Friends, matchmaking, lobbies, achievements, leaderboards, and accounts: Epic built these services for Fortnite, and launched them across seven major platforms – PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Now Epic Online Services are opened up to all developers for free in a simple multiplatform SDK.
Developers can mix and match these services together with their own account services, platform accounts, or Epic Games accounts, which reach the world’s largest social graph with over 350 million players and their 2.2 billion friend connections across half a billion devices.