Unreal Engine 5 hosts several key features, but the most intriguing are its tools geared toward photorealistic graphics. Epic’s fully dynamic global illumination solution, Lumen, provides lighting that is closer to reality by allowing for dynamic light placement. Meanwhile, Nanite, “a new virtualized micropolygon geometry system,” gives developers the ability to create import film quality 3D assets to create properties with “massive amounts of geometric detail.” When combined, Nanite and Lumen are key players when it comes to the real-time rendering of highly detailed environments in Unreal Engine 5.
Looking at the tools that make developers’ lives a bit easier, Unreal Engine 5 hosts an Open World toolset. This toolset includes World Partition “changes how levels are managed and streamed, automatically dividing the world into a grid and streaming the necessary cells.” Another useful tool for developers is the One File Per Actor (OFPA), which allows developers to work in the same areas without stepping on each other’s work. Likewise, Data Layers make it so developers to create different versions of the same world as layers that occupy the same space. Epic’s example of this is daytime and nighttime versions of the same world. These tools may be used in the upcoming Witcher game, which is confirmed to be built on Unreal Engine 5 in partnership with Epic Games.
Unreal Engine 5 has already been out in the wild for some time now in one form or another. Fortnite was moved to the Unreal Engine 5 and The Matrix Awakens served as a glorified tech demo for the engine. But Epic is also releasing some sample projects for developers to get their sea legs on the new engine. The two titles are Lyra and City Sample, the latter of which showcases how The Matrix Awakens city was built.
“With this release, we aim to empower both large and small teams to really push the boundaries of what’s possible, visually and interactively,” said Epic.
Although the Unreal Engine 5 is just now getting a full release, plenty of studios are implementing the engine. Major studios include Obsidian, Rare, Ninja Theory, Devolver, Remedy, CD Projekt RED, Eidos Montreal, and more. Today, Crystal Dynamics revealed the next Tomb Raider entry would be built on Unreal Engine 5.
Unreal Engine 5 is available to download now. Those interested can find it in the Epic Games launcher. An update awaits those who have previously downloaded the engine.