Epic has released a new real-time demo to showcase just what Unreal Engine 5 can do on the PlayStation 5, and let’s just say it really is Epic.
The demo goes by the name Lumen in the Land of Nanite, and the name is more than just a name, as it describes exactly what the demo is focused on – two new technologies Epic is calling Nanite and Lumen. Nanite technology is something that helps artists create more advanced geometric deatil. As Epic put it:
“[Nanite technology is] virtualized micropolygon geometry [that] frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see.”
In other words, this could represent the maximum level of detail games will ever be able to achieve, and least in terms of geometric detail. In the same press release, Epic went on to explain that “film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine—anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works.” So, we’re talking about life-like graphics here beyond anything we’ve seen in games so far. That’s why the environments in the video look so photorealistic.
On the other end of the spectrum, Lumen is a technology that’s focused on in-game lighting that will help make indirect lighting more realistic than ever. “Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly.” On the development front, this means that during the game design phase, artists can move lighting around inside the Unreal Editor and the lighting will look the same on the console.
Now, this might just be a tech demo, but it’s the closest thing we’ve seen to something tangible in regard to the PlayStation 5. If this is the level of graphics that the PlayStation 5 will be able to deliver on Unreal Engine 5 then the next few years of gaming will be quite interesting. Can other studios develop similar technology? Will Unreal Engine 5 be the dominating game and physics engine for the next generation of consoles? We’re certainly curious to find out.