The Unreal Engine 5 demo is a landmark within the gaming industry. The demo showcased the next-level features of the already powerful game engine and set benchmarks within the industry. In addition, it took several aspects vital to game development to the next level, particularly the visuals.
All the features of the engine are going to have a ripple effect within the industry. Better features mean better games and a better workflow for the game developers.
So, without further ado, we reveal four features that have the most potential to be game-changers within the industry:
For decades, game developers have wanted to import film-quality assets into games, to make their game world more vibrant and realistic. But the medium’s unique requirements have always hampered this wish.
Particularly real-time rendering. Because in games, all the visuals are rendered in real-time, meaning each frame is rendered and calculated by the CPU based on the input data from the player. This is not the case in movies where all the visuals are pre-rendered into a video format that does not change based on any input.
And real-time rendering is intensive on the hardware. The more detailed the models used in the game, the more the need for performance. For instance, movie assets have a high polygon count and are super realistic.
In games, however, developers have had to resort to two methods to overcome this issue: authoring LODs and normal mapping.
LOD (level of detail) authoring is creating two versions of the same asset – one with lower quality and one with higher quality. The scene switches between both versions based on the requirement. For instance, the system renders the low LOD version if the player is far from the object. The system renders the higher LOD version when the player comes closer to the object.
Likewise, normal mapping is another technique used to save performance, but with textures. This method maps a high-quality texture over a low-quality 3D model. So, the 3D model looks like it has a high level of detail when it doesn’t.
Nanite will remove all of this. It will support 3D models with a high-polygon count without negatively impacting performance. In addition, the developers won’t have to author LODs or do normal mapping.
Real-time lighting has been an elusive phenomenon for game developers because of its performance overhead. For example, the system has to calculate light data in every frame for the scene to be realistic and respond to the player’s inputs.
As a result, developers have been using a technique called light baking. Light baking is the process of pre-rendering lighting data into a texture and then using it on 3D models. It comes close to the lighting effect.
But it does not simulate natural light, especially bounce light. Bounce light is the effect light produces when it bounces off surfaces. It even has effects on other objects around it.
Lumen is Unreal Engine 5’s new dynamic lighting system that calculates bounce lighting in real time. It creates realistic lighting effects without needing the developers to bake the lighting. It also creates realistic shadows and reacts to movement.
Lumen seamlessly works together with Nanite to create immersive game scenes.
A lot of the games that are being released now are open-world games. Leaps in hardware and software technologies have finally allowed us to have games with massive open worlds filled with numerous characters and locations set in the backdrop of sprawling storylines.
However, the creation of open worlds remains a problem. The bigger the world, the harder it becomes for the developers to create and implement it. The more intensive it is on the hardware as well.
Unreal Engine 5’s World Partition System is going to change that. It intelligently loads the game world to minimize the load on the system resources. It separates the game world into multiple sections. Each section is loaded only when required.
Even in terms of workflow, it is going to bring a revolution. Because till now, only one developer could work on the game world at a time, which has hindered a lot of progress. World Partition System will allow editing of the world simultaneously by multiple agents. So, developers can create game worlds much faster than ever.
One aspect that takes the most time in game development services is the creation of 3D models. The artists have to spend a lot of time creating the model with the optimal level of detail according to the specifications.
Human characters also take more time because they require the artists to portray even more details accurately.
MetaHuman is the new Unreal Engine 5 feature that fastens up this process. It is a human character-creator tool that lets even those with no experience in modeling create characters. It works similarly to character customization screens in a lot of games, allowing the players to choose from multiple body types, hair colors, etc.
In addition, the characters come with a complete rig, and developers can animate them without much effort. The engine also allows easy import of the characters once created.
UE5 is a revolution in the gaming industry. It has many new features that help developers create games and push the boundaries of the medium to a whole new plateau. Some aspiring developers already demonstrate features like Lumen and Nanite.
We all have to wait and see where it will lead in the future.
Juego Studios is a top unreal engine game development company. We have a team of top game developers experienced in the game engine and the C++ language, creating games across multiple platforms.