In May 2020, Epic demonstrated for the first time the technical capabilities of the Unreal Engine 5, at that time still in conjunction with Sony’s PS5 console. A year later, Epic announced that early access to UE5 had begun and that a final release was expected in spring 2022. Since then, developers have struggled to attract attention to their creations with the Unreal Engine 5, and Gears developer The Coalition has now joined them.
Character demo: 3,500 triangles for eyebrows only
At the GDC 21 virtual developer fair, the developer of Gears of War showed how closely they work with Epic Games on the subject of Unreal Engine 5. In addition to a lengthy technical reading, two videos were published that were worth watching. on the one hand the UE5 tech demo called Alpha Point, and on the other hand a character rendering test in real time. The focus is on the brilliance on Xbox Series X (and S), but of course some displays also apply to fast PCs. Important to know: The coalition insists several times that they are not showing a “real” game. “None of what we’re going to show is related to a future Gears title or any of the titles we’re working on in-house,” said Kate Rayner, Studio’s technical director at The Coalition.
Rather, it is about “testing the Unreal Engine 5, giving Epic feedback and working closely with them”. The goal is to make sure that the engine is optimized for Xbox and Microsoft platforms and that it meets the requirements you have for the internal title. This includes evaluation of the Megascans texture library, but also the two key UE5 core technologies Nanite and Lumen test and the performance on Xbox Series S | X test. All assets were created specifically for the Alpha Point tech demo. 90% of these assets were built by The Coalition and 10% are megascans. This demo was recorded live from the Xbox Series X.
Colin Penty, Studio Technical Art Director at The Coalition, explains that the demo will be performed in 4K with Temporal Super Resolution, UE5’s new upscaler. Internally, the input resolution is around 1080p to 1440p and the scene contains more than 100 million triangles. After a few tests with very high polygons, you end up with an average number of triangles of 300,000 to 500,000, which is about 15 times the average Gears 5 asset – “a huge boost,” says Penty. Assets such as beard and hair are 250 times higher than Gears 5. Hair has 3.25 million triangles, beard 240,000. The lashes alone have 3,500 triangles, and that’s the budget for a full Xbox 360 character now contained in the lashes of one of these characters. No wonder the conclusion of the technical conversation is: “UE5 games on Xbox Series X and S will look great”.
[PLUS] FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) in a practical test
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