Unreal Engine 5 has been announced with a real-time demo running live on PlayStation 5 dubbed “Lumen in the Land of Nanite”.
The demo was streamed online and showcased two of the new core technologies that will debut in Unreal Engine 5 which is expected to be released as a preview build in early 2021. The stable release should be out in late 2021.
The demo features Nanite, a virtualized micropolygon geometry that generally allows the artists to create as much geometric detail in film quality levels.
This means that hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine, be it detailed sculptures, photogrammetry scans such as those from Quixel Megascans library, to CAD data.
Nanite geometry is streamed and scaled in real time. This eliminates the need to bake details to normal maps or manually author LODs; and there is no loss in quality. This technology eliminates polygon count budgets, polygon memory budgets, or draw count budgets.
Lumen, the other technology showcased in Unreal Engine 5 is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes.
The Lumen system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments. This can be anything from mere millimeters to worlds covering several kilometers.
Artists and designers get the freedom to have dynamic lighting in scenes such as turning lights on and off, Sun positioning throught the day, opening curtains etc. Lumen erases the need to wait for lightmap bakes to finish and to author light map UVs resulting in huge time savings.
Other technologies showcased in the demo are the existing Chaos physics and destruction, Niagara VFX, convolution reverb, and ambisonics rendering.
Check out the reveal here by Epic Games and check out some of the new features coming in Unreal Engine 5.