Thanks to Geoff Keighley's Summer Games Fest, we've got our first look at live PS5 Unreal Engine 5 gameplay and it is a total game-changer in terms of game development and perception. With hardware support that will take the next generation of gaming to the next level, games are entering the next phase of film-like quality and this will alter how the community functions in terms of development and enjoyment forever, especially so in the next two years. 

 

Nanite

The Unreal Engine 5 will work on all next-generation consoles in addition to high-end PCs, according to Epic Games' Tim Sweeney. The first feature that the live gameplay showcased was about the Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry, which means that artists and technical directors will be able to put more detail into these incredible environments than ever before. This is what will give games their movie-like quality with being able to manipulate billions of polygons in the Engine and will also make the process more efficent in terms of polygon budgets. 

The main objective for the Nanite technology is for film-like assets, a point the Epic Games team drove home during multiple points throughout the showcase. 

(Image credit: Eurogamer)

Lumen

According to Epic Games, the Lumen technology "is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes. The system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters. Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly." This is a major alteration to in-game lighting and being able to translate realistic graphics on all included platforms by controlling exactly what the perception is. This also bridges the gap even more in terms of PC and consoles, meaning the end of the "platform wars" could be in sight on a broader scale. 

The next generation of Engine evolution is a collaborative effort to bring gaming to a level of quality we've been working towards for so long. Making productivity more mainlined in a way that will benefit developers while also taking their visions of world creation to 'unreal' heights. 

The demo above also shows off the Chaos physics and ambisonics rendering that all play a part to build a much bigger picture. So what is the current timeline? 

Unreal Engine 4.25 is already functional with the next-generation platforms. As for Unreal Engine 5, it will be available early 2021, though an exact date hasn't been revealed. Epic did mention that Unreal 5 will support next-gen consoles, this-gen consoles, high-end PCs, and iOS/Android devices. 

This is a huge leap in technology, one that the gamer in me from 30 years ago couldn't even have imagined in her wildest dreams. This is going to do what Alyx did for VR: it's going to turn how we approach development and perceive progression on its head and this is just one more phase in the industry that is going to bring this media to the level of recognition it deserves alongside TV and film. 

You can learn even more about this technology with the official blog post here!