Unreal Engine 5 revealed
Unreal Engine 5 was revealed on May 13, 2020 with expected launch in mid-2021, supporting all existing systems including the next-generation consoles PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Work on the engine started about two years prior to its announcement.
Among its major features include Nanite, an engine that allows for high-detailed photographic source material to be imported into games as virtualized geometry, and Lumen, a dynamic lighting engine that can handle moving light sources and their impact on shadows and rendering.
Additional components include Niagara for fluid and particle dynamics and Chaos for a physics engine.
The Nanite technology allows Epic to take advantage of its past acquisition of Quixel, the world’s largest photogrammetry library in 2019. The goal of Unreal Engine 5 was to make it as easy as possible for developers to create detailed game worlds without having to spend excessive time on creating new detailed assets, allowing the engine software to handle these factors.
To demonstrate the ease of creating a detailed world with minimal effort, the May 2020 reveal of the engine showcased a demo called “Lumen in the Land of Nanite” running on a PlayStation 5 that was built by mostly pulling assets from the Quixel library and using the Nanite, Lumen, and other Unreal Engine 5 components to create a seemingly-realistic cave setting that could be explored.
Epic had worked closely with Sony in optimizing Unreal Engine 5 for the PlayStation 5, with Epic helping Sony with the console’s storage architecture, which Sweeney said is “far ahead of anything you can buy on anything on PC for any amount of money right now.
Epic plans to use Fortnite as a testbed for Unreal Engine 5 to showcase what the engine can do to the industry, with the game expected to use the engine by mid-2021.
Unreal Engine 5 will retain the current royalty model, with developers returning 5% of gross revenues to Epic Games, though this fee is forgiven for those that release their games on the Epic Game Store. Further, Epic announced alongside Unreal Engine 5 that they will not take any fee from games using any version of Unreal Engine for the first US$1 million in gross revenue, retroactive to any game from January 1, 2020 onward.
Source: Unreal Engine Wiki