Epic Games Officially Announces Unreal Engine 5

The wait is over – we are very excited to announce that Unreal Engine 5 is now available for download! With this release, we want to empower teams of all sizes to really push the boundaries of what’s possible, visually and interactively. With UE5, you can realize next-generation real-time 3D content and experiences with more freedom, reliability and flexibility than ever before. As you may have seen, the new features and workflows are already production proven for game development in Fortnite and The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience demo.

Meanwhile, while some key new features like Lumen and Nanite have not yet been validated for non-game workflows (this is an ongoing goal for future releases), all creators can continue to use workflows supported in UE 4.27. But they’ll also benefit from a redesigned Unreal Editor, better performance, artist-friendly animation tools, an expanded mesh creation and editing toolset, improved path tracing, and much more. See the documentation for full details.

Next-generation real-time display

Unreal Engine 5 introduces a collection of groundbreaking features for rendering real-time worlds in incredible hi-fi detail.

First up is Lumen, a fully dynamic global lighting solution that allows you to create believable scenes where indirect lighting instantly adapts to changes in direct lighting or geometry, for example by changing the angle of the sun with the time of day, a flashlight or opening an outside door. With Lumen, you no longer have to write lightmap UVs, wait for the lightmaps to bake, or shoot reflections; you can easily create and edit lights in the Unreal Editor and see the same final lighting that your players will see when the game or experience runs on the target platform.

Not to be outdone, UE5’s new virtualized micropolygon geometry system, Nanite, gives you the power to create games and experiences with massive amounts of geometric detail. Directly import movie-quality source art made up of millions of polygons – everything from ZBrush sculptures to photogrammetry scans – and place them millions of times, all while maintaining a real-time frame rate and with no noticeable loss of fidelity.

Specifically designed to work well with Lumen and Nanite, Virtual Shadow Maps (VSMs) provide plausible soft shadows with reasonable, manageable performance costs. Nanite and VSMs intelligently stream and process only the details you can observe, largely removing the limitations of poly counting and drawing calls, and time-consuming work such as baking details to normal maps and manually drafting LODs so you can focus on creativity.

Next generation consoles have the expectations of next generation players. Players are demanding frame rates of 60 FPS or more on high-resolution displays, which puts a huge strain on rendering resources. With Temporal Super Resolution (TSR), a built-in, cross-platform, high-performance upsampling system, the engine can render at a much lower resolution, but with the same pixel fidelity as frames rendered at a higher resolution. The result? Better performance.

New open world toolset

One of our ongoing goals is to make creating open worlds faster, easier and more collaborative for teams of all sizes. With Unreal Engine 5, a new World Partition system changes the way levels are managed and streamed, automatically dividing the world into a grid and streaming the necessary cells.

Thanks to a new One File Per Actor (OFPA) system, team members can now work simultaneously on the same region of the same world without stepping on each other’s toes, while Data Layers allow you to create different variations of the same world, such as day and night versions , or intact and broken geometry – as layers that exist in the same space.

And finally, we’ve laid the groundwork for creating absolutely massive worlds in UE5 – without the need for rebasing or other tricks – with initial support for Large World Coordinates (LWC), which uses double-precision values ​​under the hood.

Built-in character and animation tools

Constantly traveling back and forth with a DCC pack to adjust and loop animations is time consuming, tedious and inefficient. With Unreal Engine 5 you can animate in context, reuse existing animations and adapt animations to game conditions at runtime.

For creating animations, there’s a powerful new set of artist-friendly tools that let you work directly in the Unreal Editor. Highlights include the ability to quickly and easily create rigs and share them with multiple characters with the enhanced, production-ready Control Rig, then animate them in Sequencer, where you can save and apply the poses with the new Pose Browser, and apply mixed keys. under or overrun using the Tween tool.

If time is of the essence, why reinvent the wheel? In UE5, an all-new retargeting toolset makes it quick and easy to reuse and extend existing animations. IK Retargeter allows you to transfer animations between characters with different skeletons and proportions – you could even retarget a human’s animation to a wolf, for example. Meanwhile, IK Rig lets you do things like additively modify a character’s animation, like make sure a moving character is always looking at a target.

There are also a number of new features that you can use to adjust animations at runtime to compensate for different gameplay scenarios, such as different speeds or terrains, for enhanced believability and immersion. Motion Warping allows you to dynamically adjust a character’s basic movement for different objectives, such as jumping over walls of different heights, with a single animation. Meanwhile, you can use Distance Matching to control an animation’s playback speed, and/or Pose Warping to dynamically match the pose to the movement of the in-game character.

Modeling in the editor, UV editing and baking

Animation isn’t the only area where you can spend less time on the round trip with a DCC package. UE5 sees a significantly expanded and improved toolset for mesh modelling, UV editing and baking; they combine to form a powerful workflow that allows artists to develop and refine assets right in the Unreal Editor. These tools are especially useful when working with dense meshes, such as those generated with photogrammetry tools like RealityCapture or by kitbashing Quixel Megascans.

Improved user interface and workflow for editors

It’s time for a makeover! Unreal Engine 5 has a modernized look, streamlined workflows and optimized use of screen space, making it easier, faster and more enjoyable to use.

With Quixel Bridge now fully integrated, you have instant drag-and-drop access to the entire Megascans library, without separate download steps. It’s part of the new Create menu that provides a single location for getting content and creating and posting actors, with easy drag-and-drop workflows and one-click access to recently used actors, making it much faster and easier. becomes to fill your scene.

There is a huge range of new and improved tools for creating and editing mesh, which represents a fundamental leap forward. These updates, which also include multiple improvements to core modeling, sculpting, and reeshing and simplification, are supported by architectural improvements that provide the framework for future tools. Check out this space!

Equally importantly, we have significantly updated and expanded the range of UV editing tools. A new UV editor panel provides support for formatting, selecting, transforming, and cutting and stitching UVs in 2D space; view, copy, add and delete UV channels; automatic unpacking; and preview in 3D with a checker or custom texture. There are also improvements to Project UV and Auto UV.

Last but not least, the tool set for baking and mesh attributes has been expanded significantly. The new baking tools offer improvements in normal, AO and vertex baking, while multi-sampling, texture filtering, UV layers and N in 1 baking are also key features of the updated toolset.

To free up more space for viewport interactions while still keeping tools and content at your fingertips, we’ve added the ability to easily access and store the content browser via a keyboard shortcut or button, and attach each editor tab to a collapsible sidebar. to link.

Plus, there’s faster access to the properties you’re looking for in the Details pane, with both a favorites system that keeps commonly used properties at the top of the pane, and a new section bar for one-click access to groups of related properties.

And finally, there’s a faster, easier workflow for creating new projects from a single screen.

Fully procedural audio engine

With UE5 we introduce a fundamentally new way of making audio. MetaSounds is a powerful system that provides complete control over the generation of audio DSP graphs from sound sources, allowing you to manage all aspects of audio reproduction to drive the next generation of procedural audio experiences.

MetaSounds is analogous to a fully programmable material and rendering pipeline, bringing all the benefits of procedural content creation to audio that the Material Editor brings to shaders: dynamic data-driven assets, the ability to map game parameters to sound playback, massive workflow improvements, and much more.

Stunning images from the last pixel

Introduced in Unreal Engine 4.27, the Path Tracer is a DXR-accelerated, physically accurate progressive display mode that requires no additional settings. For those creating still images or linear content, it allows you to produce renderer-quality images offline, directly from Unreal Engine, and in a fraction of the time.

In Unreal Engine 5, the Path Tracer delivers improvements in stability, performance, and feature completeness, including support for hair primitives and the eye shader model, and improvements in sampling, BRDF models, light transport, supported geometries, and more.

Release Notes

The full release notes for Unreal Engine 5 can be found here.

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