Gears 5 developer The Coalition has released a demo for The Matrix Awakens (opens in new tab) at the State of Unreal event yesterday. It’s one of the first examples of a game developed and built in Unreal Engine 5, and we have to say UE5 games look stunning (opens in new tab).
The team’s Cavern Cinematic Tech Test touts 10 million film-quality poly assets rendered in real-time at 100x more detail than the previous engine.
But the jump to the new engine wasn’t easy, was it? There are so many new facets for aspiring UE5 developers to learn (opens in new tab)– the Nanite geometry system, World Partition, Lumen and Meta Human to name a few.
We learned about The Coalition’s journey from UE4 to UE5 while developing their Alpha Point demo and how their approach has evolved as The Matrix Awakens takes shape.
Xbox news (opens in new tab) spoke to Kate Rayner, technical studio lead at The Coalition, who expressed surprise at how easy the transition was for the team. “The biggest surprise for me was how finished the engine was and how easy it was to seamlessly bring UE4 content into UE5.”
Discussing the move, she recalls it as “very smooth, it only took us about two weeks to transition the team. As of now, our entire studio has switched to UE5.”
The team actually switched to UE5 about a month after their Alpha Point demo build aired at GDC last year. They started construction in UE4 but as Colin Penty explains in The emergence of Alpha Point (opens in new tab) vid: “This demo ran really painfully slow in UE4. Just before we switched to UE4, all the artists were complaining.”
Kate expands on the point speaking to Xbox News: “When we were creating this demo in UE4 with next-gen content and adding more and more assets to it, it really started to get stuck and slow, but when we brought it into UE5 it immediately woke up Life. We’ve never regretted it.”
The real triumph, she says, is the modularity of the engine architecture. The inclusion of plugins that contain content and not just code expanded the engine’s functionality for the team and gave them the flexibility they needed to create something quite impressive.
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The team used UE5’s Meta Human (opens in new tab) Features that augment their current character designs with new skins, eyeballs and the like, and actually did a fantastic job of keeping them out of the uncanny valley… mostly.
Anyhow, The Matrix Awakens and the team’s latest demo, The Cavern, are both a testament to how well the new engine has been embraced.
CD Projekt RED has switched to UE5 for the upcoming Witcher game (opens in new tab)rather than using a new iteration of their REDengine, which seems to be working well for them – at least when it comes to designing open-world environments.
We look forward to more projects using UE5 and hope to see some graphics cards in store so we can actually play the next generation of games without limiting ourselves to potato graphics.
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