Originally developed as a game engine for Epic Game’s Unreal back in 1998, the modern Unreal Engine is one of the world’s leading 3D creation tools for various purposes, from games and cinema to engineering and fitness.
The current generation of the technology — Unreal Engine 4 — has kind of an issue with the positioning. For small game projects, developers prefer Unity. It’s easier, has a lower entry barrier, and more mobile-friendly. For big projects, big studios prefer developing their own engines, like Red Engine by CDPR or RAGE by Rockstar. It helps to avoid sharing revenue with Epic Games and to specify their engines for their needs.
Of course, UE4 has its audience and niche, but Epic Games are not happy with it now. To change this, Unreal Engine needs to offer some revolutionary and unique technology that will make using their engine better than developing a custom engine. Epic Games have a chance to do it with Unreal Engine 5.
Promised to be fully released in 2021, the 5th edition of Unreal Engine will bring change to all the digital entertainment world for sure. In this article, we will take a look at the promised functionality and predict how exactly it can influence the game development industry.
The majority of graphic evolution breakthrough examples for the last decade were mostly connected with the development of graphic cards: shader water, shader plants, realistic illumination, prominent textures, etc.
Things related to 3D modeling used to develop much slower because it relates to processor productivity. This is the reason why even the biggest games have not that many objects, not that much interactivity, and still poor physics, compared to reality.
Mesh Shading by Nvidia tried to fix that. But it was too hard to implement into games due to the need to integrate Mesh Shading deeply into the game’s engine.
Epic Games implemented several similar features to Unreal Engine 5 — the next generation of the popular game creation tools.
Let’s take a closer look at what features Epic Games will bet on to convince developers to build game with Unreal Engine 5:
- Lumen technology
Lumen is a global voxel illumination system for Unreal Engine. It’s special because of how fast it reacts to the dynamic changes in light and scene, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters.
Nvidia had a similar technology on PS4/Xbox One and UE4, but it wasn’t widely used by the developers because of hard implementation, a lot of visual bugs, and image artifacts.
Lumen doesn’t allow you to get rid of artifacts completely though. But still, having this kind of technology in the engine “from a box” will help to decrease the load on artists. Light from a bullet hole or a fire playing on the cave walls and characters will be much easier to create, and an artist will only need an Unreal Editor for it.
With good implementation, Lumen may become a great alternative to an expensive and resource-consuming ray tracing technology. And Epic Games promise that the light will look the same on all the supported platforms. This may become a solid reason for developers to make game with Unreal Engine 5.