Unreal Engine 5 Demo Shows the Stunning Future of Video Game Graphics

Epic Games announced its new Unreal Engine 5 today and we finally have an idea of what graphics will look like on next generation hardware. The first gameplay footage from Microsoft's Xbox Series X was underwhelming, but the first run of games on new hardware typically is. The nine minutes of footage from Epic, which is running a tech demo on PlayStation 5 hardware, offered our first real glimpse of what may be the future of video game visuals.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/y3zzng/unreal-engine-5-demo-shows-the-stunning-future-of-video-game-graphics
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Can I get this flying magical Tomb Raider game for real, pls? It would be nice to have one of those that isn’t so dreary.

I mean, the walls and shadows look nice, but I just want a Lara Croft that’s having fun.

Meanwhile I’m over here making stuff in Source 1 and hoping Valve will one day push an update so mods can compile in 64bit

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It obviously looks good, great even. I’ve longed for good realtime global illumination for so long.

Yet now that it’s here, I feel less interested than ever in it. Games nowadays … also look good. Probably relatively better than ever on the cusp of a new generation of consoles. If this engine makes it easier for small teams to achieve their vision, then I’ll be there for that at least.

I’m more interested in what smaller game teams can do with this tech available. Yeah it can create realistic and detailed worlds, but not everyone can afford to do that, and some are gonna try and do some wild things with that power given to them.

I’ve been working in Unreal nearly every day for a while working on small personal projects for a couple years now. As someone with absolutely no programming skills it has been invaluable in me finally reaching my goals of making my own games.

I’ve worked in the game industry for a long time, but not in any capacity where I was involved with deciding the direction of the design. I had input and sometimes helped change small directions, but more often than not I felt a lot of what I did was perfunctory. Even though I am good at it, I take little pride in it.

Working in Unreal on my own stuff has reinvigorated me and reminded me why I wanted to do this in the first place.

I don’t see much in these new features that will impact how I make games in Unreal. It’ll be a bit before I get access to it, and even when it does come out if I’m still working on my current game I’ll keep it at the current version. But still, some neat stuff in and there and I look forward to seeing what people do with it! (2-3 years after its release)

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I really feel like people do not give blueprints the credit they deserve. It’s such a smart system to get people who don’t know C++ or programming in general the ability to create game logic.

Epic has done an amazing job at making the barrier to entry low between that and all the learning material they put out and help fund.

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So it obviously looks great. And it’s still early yet, so it remains to be seen how things like ray-tracing and SSDs will affect game design.

But also

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the exciting future of videos game: looking exactly the same as every video game for the last 10 years

also lmao that in the TECH DEMO the character still has to shimmy through a tight spot. fuckin amazing

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Just want to see an Arc System Works demo on this engine.

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Another big deal that was announced today: Royalties are now waived on the first million dollars of gross revenue, making Unreal Engine even more attractive to small teams and hobby devs. I’ve come around on Epic. I think they are doing good things for indie sector.

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Blueprints are the first visual programming system I’ve used that I honestly don’t mind using: even as a software dev with a ton of experience. They are so good I haven’t really been tempted to convert my projects to C++ yet.

Bigger News IMO

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damn… the future of videogames looks exactly the same as the present of videogames… capitalism marches on

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The bit at the end when she starts flying makes me want a Gravity Rush 3 on PS5.

Or maybe I just always want a Gravity Rush 3. Sigh.

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Honestly, I’d be more interested in a lesser next gen demo that has been well optimized for a lower hardware requirement. You can show me all those triangles and all I think is “new graphics card.”

I look forward to a few games going all in on this technology, everyone realize that only the triplest of AAA has the everything to actually go all in, and then deciding “you know what, games were already pretty enough. We’ll settle for Control pretty. Control without ray-tracing pretty even.”

Also, all that and still no one renders or animates for actual hand or footholds when the PC is Uncharting a rock wall. Sure your predictive foot placement and motion warping makes your fake climbing look less fake but it doesn’t matter when the character’s technique is still borderline impossible (For God’s sake, when will you learn about hugging the wall!?) and their hands and feet are rarely actually on anything.

@Protome
Sees character going downward through the air and desert ruins

Sigh… Journey.

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I’m not going to act like that cave doesn’t look absolutely stunning, but I’m also not going to act like I give half a heck about 20 million triangles.

I don’t own anything that would be able to render this, nor do I really have any strong desire to. Every time I happen to play or watch a new Triple-A title, I constantly think to myself, “Why do games need to look even better than this?” Yet the bar is always raising.

I sometimes think the people who are really excited by these advancements are the people who are making them. All I can see is diminishing returns.

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I mean keep in mind that Unreal Engine is no longer just for video games they’re starting to use it in film as well which is probably where being able to have really high fidelity assets will come in handy.

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I think people are downplaying the triangles thing a lot. Being able to use raw, high poly photogrammetry/laser scan models without any post processing is actually very exciting, probably even more so for indie and hobby developers.

Photogrammetry is a very easy way to get good looking assets, all you really need is a camera (even just a smartphone) and some decent lighting. The software to generate the models from the photographs (eg. Metashape or RealityCapture) is super easy to use and these days can produce great results even from junk photographs. Currently the biggest hurdle for photogrammetry models to be usable in real time engines is the time and technical 3D ability you need to remesh and bake out the various texture maps. I’m envisioning now RealityCapture (which is available on Steam) will probably just add an “Export to UE5” button alongside their “Export to Sketchfab” button and that will be the full asset creation pipeline! That will literally save hours per model.

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It’s important to remember that they are making Unreal Engine 5 to be very scalable (as was UE4). This showcase was also intended to demonstrate the power of the PS5, but UE5’s features should theoretically mean that weaker machines will have the tools necessary to show off things better than before. It’s going to be on Switch and mobile devices after all.

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Not to be a big downer but this doesn’t look much better than that Square Enix tech demo or the UE4 demos that were being shown at the start of this generation.

There will definitely be games that look tremendous using this tech but I have to remind myself how Fallout 4 looked on consoles vs how Red Dead 2 looks. So much of how the next generation looks will be determined by how developers intend to use the technology. I can’t help wo dering how this would look if the engine was also rendering a bunch of real-time physics and AI systems in the background.

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