Unreal Engine 5 impresses in latest technical demos

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,518   +132
Staff member
Bottom line: Gears of War developer The Coalition during the recent virtual Game Developers Conference showcased Alpha Point, a technical demo built using Unreal Engine 5. While stunning in its own right, a separate character rendering test is arguably even more breathtaking.

Whereas the Alpha Point demo features real-time lighting and reflections alongside more than 100 million triangles, the character rendering test features 170,000 triangles on the man’s body in addition to 31,000 triangles on the face and 3.5 million on the groom (hair and facial hair).

The test asset is absolutely ravishing and perfectly highlights what we can expect from the upcoming engine. Both the Alpha Point demo and the character rendering test were run on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X.

Epic announced Unreal Engine 5 in May 2020 before releasing it in early access a full year later. UE5 is comprised of two key components – Nanite and Lumen. The former is a virtualized micro polygon geometry system that lets artists create as much detail as the eye can see without compromising speed while the latter is a fully dynamic real-time global illumination solution that reacts to scene and light changes.

When combined, the two can generate photorealistic environments as seen in the Alpha Point demo.

Epic’s Unreal Engine 5 is expected to ship in early 2022.

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redhat

Posts: 170   +216
Personally, to date I have not seen a game that is more realistic than Tom Clancy The Division 1 (during the showcase of course)
 

Nobina

Posts: 3,348   +3,439
Almost indistinguishable from reality. Future generations won't be able to say past graphics look bad.
 

Kosmoz

Posts: 419   +749
Almost indistinguishable from reality. Future generations won't be able to say past graphics look bad.
Although I tend to agree with you in sentiment, I remember at least since 10 years ago, with each new generation of GPUs/consoles looking at these tech demons that we all said "this looks photo-realistic" or "so realistic". Yet it was proven with the next gen that came after them that it did not and we were not there yet...

So because of that, I expect we will be proven "wrong" again in 4-5 years time, if not sooner.

There is always another level of realism that can be achieved.

But I do agree we are a point that these kind of graphics don't look bad.
 

orbital

Posts: 41   +43
Although I tend to agree with you in sentiment, I remember at least since 10 years ago, with each new generation of GPUs/consoles looking at these tech demons that we all said "this looks photo-realistic" or "so realistic". Yet it was proven with the next gen that came after them that it did not and we were not there yet...

So because of that, I expect we will be proven "wrong" again in 4-5 years time, if not sooner.

There is always another level of realism that can be achieved.

But I do agree we are a point that these kind of graphics don't look bad.

I totally agree. It is how it actually runs in games, not in one-minute presentations. Most facial animations, even in some AAA-titles, still look almost cartoonish and with lip-syncing issues and these are not the only problems. Without playing down progress it will be many years before we get this feeling of almost taking part in the real world yet being virtual. It's many steps, all properly and simultaneously implemented, so they can reach the end user.
 

Danny101

Posts: 1,865   +797
I will always lean towards smooth animations before visual acuity. By that measure, 720p is still my current choice. I just can't stand the stuttering. Although, developers have been really good getting performance out of 1080p and 1440p in the past several years.
 

Michiel

Posts: 84   +50
Although I tend to agree with you in sentiment, I remember at least since 10 years ago, with each new generation of GPUs/consoles looking at these tech demons that we all said "this looks photo-realistic" or "so realistic". Yet it was proven with the next gen that came after them that it did not and we were not there yet...

So because of that, I expect we will be proven "wrong" again in 4-5 years time, if not sooner.

There is always another level of realism that can be achieved.

But I do agree we are a point that these kind of graphics don't look bad.

Yeah, we're only just getting to being able to do actual physically realistic simulations of light (raytracing, global illumination) and materials (physically based rendering) but these things are still in relative infancy (for real-time rendering anyway), which is really the key to making things look realistic. Now we'll see these techniques become more and more refined (less noise, more accuracy, more extensive implementation) over the coming years.
 

Markoni35

Posts: 1,303   +521
Almost indistinguishable from reality. Future generations won't be able to say past graphics look bad.

Until you try digging, breaking, exploding things, or doing anything that requires physics. I'm totally not afraid of computer graphics become indistinguishable from reality in the next 50 years. Reality is very hard to simulate.