Why it matters: Everybody loves a good explosion (at least, if the popularity of Michael Bay's movies is anything to go by), and with explosions usually comes a whole lot of adrenaline-pumping destruction: billboards topple, cars burst into thousands of pieces, and entire buildings collapse. However, while movies seem to have the whole destruction thing down pat, video games have had a much tougher time recreating the effect.
There are undoubtedly gameplay-related justifications for why players can't, say, knock down skyscrapers in GTA V but some of the main reasons for these limitations are likely technical in nature.
After all, not many engines support believable free-form destruction systems. EA's proprietary Frostbite engine seems to handle it well enough, but few third-party alternatives can say the same.
That could be changing soon, fortunately. At GDC 2019, Epic unveiled an all-new tech demo for Unreal Engine. The demo, appropriately dubbed "Chaos," is intended to show off the engine's upcoming "high-performance physics and destruction system."
We've embedded the demo above for your convenience. In the video, we see everything from pillars to entire buildings come crashing to the ground as robots shoot high-caliber bullets into them and set off massive explosions.
Even from this demo, though, it's clear that Epic's new technology isn't perfect. Some pieces of rubble don't appear to have much weight to them, for example. However, for a first attempt, it's tough to ask for more and the kinks will probably be worked out eventually, anyway.
If you're a developer, you'll be able to take advantage of Unreal's new destruction capabilities with the "early access" launch of the engine's upcoming 4.23 update. Never used the engine before? You can download it right here to give it a whirl.