The video gaming giant Epic Games has just announced earlier today that their game engine, Unreal Engine 5, is now available in early access!
Today, we’re excited to announce that Early Access to Unreal Engine 5 is now available. While our ultimate goal is for UE5 to empower creators across all industries to deliver stunning real-time content and experiences, this Early Access build is intended for game developers who like to live on the bleeding edge to start testing features and prototyping their next games.
This is exciting news to game developers who use Unreal Engine for their games as this is the first time you will be able to explore all the features that was previously teased in last year's announcement. Although early access does not mean it is ready to start releasing games, it certainly paves the way for game developers to start updating and experimenting with some insane new technologies that will soon start showing up on the next generation consoles in the near future.
So what is new in the engine?
Several ground-breaking technologies are being released in this build which will further push the boundaries of games, I am too exited for what developers will start to create with this iteration of features.
A virtualized micropolygon geometry system that enables you to create games with massive amounts of geometric detail, eliminating time-consuming and tedious work such as baking details to normal maps or manually authoring LOD.
A fully dynamic global illumination solution that enables you to create dynamic, believable scenes where indirect lighting adapts on the fly to changes to direct lighting or geometry.
Enhanced Editor UI & workflow
A new look for the Unreal Editor which includes streamlined workflows, and optimised use of screen real estate, making it easier, faster, and more pleasing to use.
There are some more fantastic new additions to the engine such as open worlds, animations and metasounds that you can read all about it on their official page. To try out the engine for yourself, you can get it through Epic Games Launcher and go to the Unreal Engine tab.
Seems too good to be true? All these great features, what's the catch? Well... the demo shown in the Unreal Engine teasers come in at a whopping ~98GB, even though it is the project files and not a built game, it is still very high for a demo! We could be seeing some huge problems for the future as limited storage space is a gamer's worst nightmare. Will next-generation consoles cope with the even higher demands of games, or will we start seeing a push for better solutions than 'just buy an external hardrive lol'.
On another note, Epic Games expects to fully release the engine in early 2022 with much more improvements to come and their popular battle royale game Fortnite looks to be among the first games to ship with the new engine.
I hope you are excited as I am about the future of the gaming industry, feel free to let me know what you think in the comments!