Early this morning, the team behind Epic Games’ Unreal Engine unveiled their vision for the future—one where they’re working closely with Sony and PlayStation 5.
Unreal Engine is a suite of design tools that is behind some of the biggest games and franchises, think Gears of War. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney and his team showed off what they’re calling Nanite and Lumen. Epic’s goal is to provide photo-realistic assets to real-time game rendering, assets usually reserved for Hollywood post-production houses.
Nanite and Lumen will allow super-dense mesh geometry on a scale never seen before in a game engine. In addition to the advances in geometry, the engine contains a full implementation of global illumination—basically, light acting like the real thing. Traditionally, developers have had to bake-in their lighting or use tricks to create the illusion of light behaving realistically.
The demo showcased this morning was just that—a technological representation of what’s possible in the future. Specifically on PlayStation 5—however, Unreal Engine 5 will run Xbox Series X, PC, iOS and Android. For Unreal Engine 5, Epic Games and Sony are working more closely together than ever before, optimizing the way the engine works with the PlayStation 5’s advanced storage management system and custom SSD. Allowing the system to stream data at rates previously never seen before, even on high-end PC hardware.
“We’ve been working super-closely with Sony for quite a long time on the storage architecture and other elements. It’s been our primary focus,” Sweeney said to Venture Beat.
The quality of these engines is growing every generation and we’re starting to see their use in different industries, furthering Epic’s presence as provider of virtual tools and not just a game developer. Recently, Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian used Unreal Engine 4 to provide virtual backgrounds on a giant 75-foot LED wall that was synced to the cameras on set, allowing producers to virtually build their sets with the talent in real-time—a virtual mixed reality set.
The only downside to all of this is that these things take time. Unreal Engine 5 wont be out till 2021, and we probably wont see games using the tech till the Fall of 2021 or even 2022 at the earliest.
This is what we’ve been waiting for.
Takahashi, Dean (2020, May 13) How Epic Games moved closer to Sony with the design of the PlayStation 5. Retrieved from https://venturebeat.com/2020/05/13/how-epic-games-moved-closer-to-sony-with-the-design-of-the-playstation-5/