What makes Unreal Engine 5 so important to SkyReal (and to the 3D world)?
Unreal Engine 5 release is scheduled in the first half of 2022; in May 2021 an “early access” version was released and we enjoyed downloading and testing.
This version already shows us how Unreal Engine 5 will profoundly change the way 3D is handled and will probably launch a new era in its use.
In concrete terms, what will change? What are the new features of this new version of the famous engine?
Epic Games is delivering a new version with 3 major technological evolutions; they are soberly named Nanite, Lumen and Chaos.
Nanite is the heart of the engine from a technical point of view and it is a massive evolution from a scientific point of view! In a few words, it is an element of the engine which manages differently the display of the objects. Until now UE displays objects in LOD (Level of details) and from now on Nanite will display objects according to a mathematical object that will describe them. The idea is thus to “degrade” the quality of the objects according to the need for display by associating a mathematical function with polygons. Then Nanite will make the Graphic Card execute the calculations of this function at runtime and will thus offer exceptional performances that we can begin to identify with the UE5 pre-release.
Moreover, always with a desire for maximum optimization, Nanite will define the precise display needs, for this it is based on the definition of the screen that displays the data and associates each pixel with the number of polygons taken into account in the mathematical function that describes the objects.
In short, Nanite makes it possible to work on a virtualized geometry of micropolygons to give the best possible result and above all to facilitate the work of developers to create quality environments in less time.
Lumen is also a revolution because it brings a GI (Global Illumination) system to Unreal Engine 5. Lumen allows you to create fully dynamic lighting in real time, a feature that existed in some 3D graphics software but not in Unreal.
In a few words, this new feature means that the light in a 3D scene will be much better managed according to its different sources and intensities without affecting the loading time. It will take into account light bounces, indirect reflections to present an inter-reflection on objects allowing for example to see the light bending behind obstacles and this in huge and very detailed environments.
In current engines with static light sources, it is difficult to bend the light behind obstacles and it often takes a lot of time to do so; Lumen will deeply change the way to integrate lighting in 3D scenes, again without decreasing performance.
Chaos is an important element in Unreal Engine 5 that replaces PhysX with performance improvements.
Chaos provides UE5 with major new features, such as simulation and the networking of asynchronous physics, a robust destruction system and physics fields. This approach applies the principles of deterministic physics.
Among these features Chaos Destruction is integrated, it is a collection of tools that can be used to obtain high quality destruction levels of objects in real time.
The system is optimized, easy to use and gives artists and designers more control over content creation.
With these three key elements of the new Unreal Engine (UE5), Nanite, Lumen and Chaos, we can clearly see that Epic Games wants to push the possibilities offered by its 3D engine even further.
The perspectives offered by these 3 elements in terms of rendering are simply extraordinary.
At the same time, these evolutions contribute to make the engine accessible and respond to the needs of its users on specific points that are currently obstacles to the use of 3D.