Unreal Engine 5 early access now available

The last time Unreal Engine 5 was in the HEXUS news was about a year ago when Epic Games released a video demo of UE5 content being run in real-time on a Sony PlayStation 5. Epic says that it created UE5 to “achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life,” and instrumental to this goal are two key technologies within it – dubbed ‘Nanite’ and ‘Lumen’. On Wednesday Epic announced that Early Access to Unreal Engine 5 had become available to developers. To mark the occasion it provided a recap on Nanite and Lumen technologies, as well as discussions on using UE5 for developing open worlds, in context animations, metasounds, plus a look at the new enhanced editor UI & workflow.

A presentation on UE5 hosted by Chance Ivey and Galen Davis of Epic Games is embedded above. The tech execs show you around the Valley of the Ancient sample project, as well as providing a first hands-on look at some of the new tools and workflows available in UE5. The video and blog both provide a recap on Nanite, a virtualized micropolygon geometry system, and Lumen, a fully dynamic global illumination solution.

Later, the blog and video go on to describe how users can use World Partition for auto-dividing game maps. Other tools highlighted include One File Per Actor for easy collaboration, and Data layers for creating variations on the same world (night & day, for example).

Details about using the new UE5 editor and UI then follows. In particular, Epic has seen fit to expand and enhance the animation toolset within the UE editor, so users don’t have to keep switching to other apps. There is a general UI makeover here too, and the video shows collapsible tabs, drawers, and other stage-space saving UI elements to let creators focus on the content yet still have easy access to all the resources they want at hand.

If you want further details about UE5, beyond the scope of the blog or videos from Epic, now that the early access is available there is specific getting started and new feature documentation available too.

Both AMD and Nvidia have published blog posts about their involvement / collaboration in creating UE5.

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