Epic unveils "next generation" Unreal Engine tech

By on March 3, 2011, 9:30 AM
DICE's Frostbite 2.0-powered Battlefield 3 will be a tough act to follow in terms of visual quality, but today Epic is showing off the latest improvements to its Unreal Engine 3 calling it their proposal for what the next generation of gaming will look like. And the company is probably right considering the wide-range of games currently using its graphics engine, with licensees gaining access to these enhanced tools later in the month.

The footage shown at GDC wasn't any game in particular but rather a tech demo featuring several slick new visual-processing techniques such as image-based reflection, improved depth-of-field and anti-aliasing, dynamic tessellation and other DirectX 11 goodies. Epic says it has collaborated with Nvidia to make use of PhysX and APEX technologies, including destruction and clothing modules, which enable realistic character interactions with the environment.

Epic's Mark Rein noted that while this is an updated version of the current engine, the improvement is a bigger leap than the one between Unreal 2 and Unreal 3. You can check out some high-resolution images of Epic's Unreal Engine 3 tech demo here, while the video footage should be dropping on the general public next week. (Update: video posted below)





User Comments: 17

Got something to say? Post a comment
lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I saw the screens in the Gizmodo article, and to be honest, I can't really see THAT much of a difference. You'd think that with a statement such as "This is what next-gen should look like", the images would be amazing, but so far, the only engine that has amazed me this year has been precisely Frostbite 2 (Again, have you seen those lighting effects?!). Not that developers will incorporate this visual quality on their games to begin with, anyway... I don't know, maybe I'm just bitter because Epic is a horrible PC developer, just maybe...

Johny47 said:

Looks brilliant but CryEngine is still the best =P

princeton princeton said:

johny47 said:

Looks brilliant but CryEngine is still the best =P

I beg to differ. Frostbite 2 has shown superior graphical ability than CE3.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

It looks like developers are finally starting to catch up to CryEngine 2 levels of detail. Too bad for them as CryEngine 3 is already out.

Princeton said:

johny47 said:

Looks brilliant but CryEngine is still the best =P

I beg to differ. Frostbite 2 has shown superior graphical ability than CE3.

And I would beg to differ that statement. Frostbite 2 has only been "shown" in one video, and remains largely unproven. Don't get me wrong, I believe Frostbite 2 will be a great PC showcase engine, but until it's released, CryEngine 3 holds the crown.

herpaderp said:

CryEngine 3 holds no crown until we see it with the DX11 patch. Until then, CryEngine 2 still looks better.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

wagan8r said:

It looks like developers are finally starting to catch up to CryEngine 2 levels of detail. Too bad for them as CryEngine 3 is already out.

Princeton said:

johny47 said:

Looks brilliant but CryEngine is still the best =P

I beg to differ. Frostbite 2 has shown superior graphical ability than CE3.

And I would beg to differ that statement. Frostbite 2 has only been "shown" in one video, and remains largely unproven. Don't get me wrong, I believe Frostbite 2 will be a great PC showcase engine, but until it's released, CryEngine 3 holds the crown.

Wait, so you need to play to see the difference? I thought you only needed to see it to, you know, SEE the difference? One pre-alpha video of an still-in-development game has caused many to see the engine as superior in comparison to CE3; that says something. (Again, have you seen those lighting effects?!)

CryEngine 3 holds no crown. Anyone who looks past the overused motion blur, the increased density of object's textures, and the exaggerated lighting can clearly see CryEngine 2 is superior in overall detail.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

lawfer said:

Wait, so you need to play to see the difference, or don't you just need to see it to, you know, SEE the difference? One pre-alpha video of an still-in-development ame has caused many to see the engine as superior in comparison to CE3; that says something. (Again, have you seen those lighting effects?!)

CryEngine holds no crown. Anyone who looks past the overused motion blur, the increased density ob object's textures, and the exagerated lighting can clearly see CryEngine 2 is superior in overall detail.

Yes, I do need to play it. Playing it at full resolution is much different than watching a compressed video. I experienced the same thing with Crysis. Videos looked great, then playing it looked amazing, then watching those same videos again looked like crap. I need to SEE it on my computer.

Also, you can't take the Crysis 2 demo and knock the engine itself because of it. It's the implementation of the engine that makes the difference. CryEngine 3 has some sweet lighting effects too that we haven't seen fully utilized.

Andras said:

I'm sorry but unless the DX11 patch pulls something out of it's arse, Cryengine 2 or the 4A engine in Metro 2033 stomps Cryengine 3.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Metro 2033 has terrible optimisation. Terrible graphics yet lag? Yup, that's what everyone wants..

herpaderp said:

The lighting effects in Metro are amazing, but as far as character/world textures go, I feel that they're really lacking. It's like the proverbial lipstick on a pig :X

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

wagan8r said:

lawfer said:

Wait, so you need to play to see the difference, or don't you just need to see it to, you know, SEE the difference? One pre-alpha video of an still-in-development ame has caused many to see the engine as superior in comparison to CE3; that says something. (Again, have you seen those lighting effects?!)

CryEngine holds no crown. Anyone who looks past the overused motion blur, the increased density ob object's textures, and the exagerated lighting can clearly see CryEngine 2 is superior in overall detail.

Yes, I do need to play it. Playing it at full resolution is much different than watching a compressed video. I experienced the same thing with Crysis. Videos looked great, then playing it looked amazing, then watching those same videos again looked like crap. I need to SEE it on my computer.

Also, you can't take the Crysis 2 demo and knock the engine itself because of it. It's the implementation of the engine that makes the difference. CryEngine 3 has some sweet lighting effects too that we haven't seen fully utilized.

No, sir. Playing will only determine if it plays well, and if it will look well in your computer. We are not comparing how well it will look, but how well the actual engine LOOKS based on standards. The engine looks superior. You don't need a high definition video or the game to make that assessment...? Just like you don't need to play the game to SEE that, for example, Bulletstorm looks better than Duke Nukem Forever.

And the Crysis 2 demo IS the final product, graphic-wise, so yeah... Alternatively, it's DX9, and Frostbite 2 is DX11; that's a two version leap! Whether its later updated to DX10 or DX11, I doubt it will make much of a difference, given the fact that its widely KNOWN that CryEngine 2 looks better... Frostbite 2 looks even better than CryEngine 2, therefore, it nullifies your argument.

compu4 said:

To me, those graphics still look like crap. The quality of those visuals is light years behing that of the Cry Engine 2 and that of the 4A engine.

I also agree with some of the others here; the Cry Engine 3 is not at all impressive. In my opinion, the original Crysis smashes Crysis 2 in terms of overall visual quality, unless Crytek makes some major improvements before the game actually launches.

princeton princeton said:

wagan8r said:

lawfer said:

Wait, so you need to play to see the difference, or don't you just need to see it to, you know, SEE the difference? One pre-alpha video of an still-in-development ame has caused many to see the engine as superior in comparison to CE3; that says something. (Again, have you seen those lighting effects?!)

CryEngine holds no crown. Anyone who looks past the overused motion blur, the increased density ob object's textures, and the exagerated lighting can clearly see CryEngine 2 is superior in overall detail.

Yes, I do need to play it. Playing it at full resolution is much different than watching a compressed video. I experienced the same thing with Crysis. Videos looked great, then playing it looked amazing, then watching those same videos again looked like crap. I need to SEE it on my computer.

Also, you can't take the Crysis 2 demo and knock the engine itself because of it. It's the implementation of the engine that makes the difference. CryEngine 3 has some sweet lighting effects too that we haven't seen fully utilized.

How is it a compressed video? It's a 1080p video with an extremely high bitrate.

You're trying to salvage an argument that was flawed the instant you posted it.

princeton princeton said:

lawfer said:

No, sir. Playing will only determine if it plays well, and if it will look well in your computer. We are not comparing how well it will look, but how well the actual engine LOOKS based on standards. The engine looks superior. You don't need a high definition video or the game to make that assessment...? Just like you don't need to play the game to SEE that, for example, Bulletstorm looks better than Duke Nukem Forever.

And the Crysis 2 demo IS the final product, graphic-wise, so yeah... Alternatively, it's DX9, and Frostbite 2 is DX11; that's a two version leap! Whether its later updated to DX10 or DX11, I doubt it will make much of a difference, given the fact that its widely KNOWN that CryEngine 2 looks better... Frostbite 2 looks even better than CryEngine 2, therefore, it nullifies your argument.

Lawfer you'll have better luck teaching tommy wiseau how to speak English. Just leave him to his....unusual beliefs.

DokkRokken said:

If Arkham City gets DX11, then there'll be one heck of a Batarang in my denims.

Guest said:

Who cares what your character's face looks like...? We want a better plaform, a and better game world's... can't believe their bragging about next gen engine, when Epic's own engine (sold to an indie developer;Starvault) doesn't even work.

This developer is struggling to get their technology working & I find it rather embarrasing for Epic china. Yet nobody seems to care.

All i really see is them dazling people with PhysX and not game world technology. I am not sold until they can prove to make an effecient dx engine. I have a 6870 and it struggles with anything UNreal. BUt give them props... all the games I like, use their technology. Just wish I could play them un-fettered.

More is often too much... adding fluff to your engine does nothing, if the backbone isn't solid. I though Battlefield Bad Company 2's engine was/is remarkable. The fact that their engine's use of physics is cpu based and everyone benifits, is a bonus for all.

Given openCL and other non-proprietary solutions is a much better path for any game engine's dominance. AMd's FUSION technology later this summer means that BC2 won't reach massive frames, but you'll never drop below 30fps, because it steady, not erratic.

PhysX is a wrong choice here, as the final solution is just added fluff & marketing. I really don't think EPIC should be worried about bravado when DICE has been telling everyone for 9 years what their up to.

The most spartan, but visably apperant game play mechanics with BF2142 are supior to any arcade shoot'em up. You can't hide your flaws behind graphics forever...

Video games are not fhasion awards.

-metavision

Andras said:

st1ckm4n said:

Metro 2033 has terrible optimisation. Terrible graphics yet lag? Yup, that's what everyone wants..

I'm nowhere near as tech savvy as most of you guys are but I would think if the original Crysis and Metro 2033 had graphics on par with what is being shown with Crysis 2 right now(and I'm sure you could scale those games down enough to do so) they would not have the notable lag they are known for. The fact that when you crank all those setting all the way up to see their full potential while experiencing lag makes sense to me. If you don't have the hardware to run those settings, then you don't run them. You don't turn it all the way up then get dissapointed when your rig can't keep up.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.