Epic Games’ impressive Unreal Engine 5 is now in the hands of developers, as it enters Early Access starting today. The powerful game development engine has been anticipated for about a year now, ever since the company showed off the first tech demo. Earlier today, Epic Games dove a bit deeper into Unreal Engine 5 with a stream. However, it was more aimed at developers, showing off the different features and tools available. The Early Access build is only available for game developers who want to try before they buy. However, the full release date for Unreal Engine 5 is set for early 2022.
The presentation, hosted by Epic Games, offered a mere 15-minute gander at what’s in store. Among the hot, new features is Nanite, a “virtualized micropolygon geometry system.” In layman’s terms, Nanite in UE5 allows developers to create high-detailed environments without the usual massive cost in time. Lumen, which, like Nanite, was shown off in the demo presentation last year. This feature is a “fully dynamic global illumination solution” that developers can use to implement and change realistic lighting instantly.
But that’s not all UE5 is bringing to the table. Nanite and Lumen, while still cool as hell, aren’t alone in the features. Epic also went over new tools like Control Rig for creating animations that can be shared with multiple models. World Partition, One File Per Actor, and Data Layers work together to help developers create open worlds. UE5 also comes with MetaSounds, a “high-performance system that offers complete control over audio DSP graph generation of sound sources.” Finally, Epic is championing an enhanced editor with improved UI. You can see all the aforementioned in the video below.
Unreal Engine 5 coming to you in 2022
Starting today, developers will be able to check out the new sample demo, Valley of the Ancient, and twist knobs and pull levers to their heart’s content. You will, however, need to make some room if you’re low on drive space. According to PC Gamer, the UE5 demo comes in at a whopping 100 GB. Yes, space needed for the the demo alone reaches the dizzying heights of games like Call of Duty: Warzone. Rough.
Epic Games has offered a detailed look at the above list of features (and a link to the Early Access version), as well as access documentation. The release date for Unreal Engine 5 isn’t set in Nanite-created stone, but you can expect to hear more before it comes in early 2022.