Unreal Engine 5 Running on PS5 Promises Cinematic-like Advances in Gaming Graphics
Epic’s video showcases some of the new capabilities of the Unreal Engine 5. The demo shown is running on a PlayStation 5 console. Along with the PS5 hardware comes a suite of advances in the Unreal Engine. These reward us with new and quite startling levels of photo-realistic images.
New tech promises cinematic experience potential
As noted, the demo video is run via a PlayStation 5 and gives some indication of what the graphics capabilities of that beast may be.
However, there is a lot to mention about the new Unreal Engine 5. Two pieces of this new version are emphasized in the demo video.
Lumen is a “fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes.” Boiled down, Lumen enhances the way light is handled in the displayed image. It simulates the way light falls on and bounces off of displayed objects, and lights the surrounding artifacts in the image.
Nanite is a new technology that allows the graphic artist wide freedom to create. Constraints that have been placed on graphic artists in the past are eliminated. Using Nanite, artists will not compromise by limiting resolution and polygon count to not over-tax the graphics engine. Unreal Engine 5 eliminates the past limitations on polygon counts and memory budgets that graphics artists had to grapple with.
Realize that demo videos are just that – demonstrations of what may be POSSIBLE. We don’t know if this is what any particular game is going to look like. However, this was produced with the Unreal Engine 5, so the potential is certainly there.
Seeing is believing…
Watch the approximately 9-minute video below, entitled Lumen in the Land of Nanite. Before you do so, take heed of this recommendation. If available- a PC/Mac and discrete graphics do this the most justice. You can watch this on your phone if you must, but that hardly does it justice. Therefore, if you can, playback at the max resolution you can handle to really get a full appreciation.
After watching the video, I found a few things particularly striking. Around 1:45, the falling rocks in the cave exhibit excellent physics characteristics. The light and shadows are crisp and clear, with light from surrounding rocks bouncing realistically into the shadowed spaced. The bounce lighting effect is very impressive when the light source is moving around.
The texture and movement of the clothes on the avatar are believable and feel natural. Around 3:50, and again at 4:25 when the avatar is crouching and climbing, clothing movement appears fluid. This can be a real challenge to get right. The clothing moves as expected with the jumping, crouching, and other movements. In the past, clothing could appear “glued” to the avatar. It would stretch rather than act as if an independent object from the body which it was worn on. (The Witcher 3, in particular, comes to mind.)
It will be fascinating to see what game developers come up with building their graphics with the Unreal Engine 5. This demo showcases many of the possibilities that we will see in the next-gen consoles and PC games.