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Early access to Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 now available

The Unreal Engine 5 Early Access build, which is out now, has only been tested on game development workflows and offers a chance for game developers to go hands-on with the software.
The Unreal Engine 5 Early Access build, which is out now, has only been tested on game development workflows and offers a chance for game developers to go hands-on with the software. (Epic Games)

Early access to Unreal Engine 5 is now available to game developers and they can start testing its features and prototyping their upcoming games.

Early access to Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 is not available for game developers. The software comes with features like Nanite, Lumen, World Partition System, etc, and developers can start testing the features and prototyping their games right away. Unreal Engine 5 is expected to ship in early 2022 and will help creators and developers take their content to the next level. The Early Access build, which is out now, has only been tested on game development workflows and offers a chance for game developers to go hands-on with the software. Additional features and other improvements for all industries will be part of the full Unreal Engine 5.0 (UE5) release when it happens in 2022.

If you are a game developer interested in exploring the possibilities, click here to read about the key features in UE5 and to get Early Access. You can also download the sample project, Valley of the Ancient, to start exploring the new features of UE5. Valley of the Ancient is an example of how the new features included with Unreal Engine 5 Early Access can be used and is the result of Epic Games’ internal stress-testing. You can take this as a template and modify it to make it your own using Unreal Engine.

The key features in UE5 Early Access include:

Nanite

The Nanite virtualised micropolygon system lets users create games with massive, unprecedented amounts of geometric detail. You can directly import film-quality source assets comprised of millions of polygons and place them millions of times, while maintaining a real-time frame rate, and without any noticeable loss of fidelity. Nanite streams and processes only those details you can perceive, removing poly count and draw call constraints. It also eliminates time-consuming tasks such as baking details to normal maps and manually authoring LODs.

Lumen

Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that lets users create dynamic, believable scenes. With Lumen, indirect lighting adapts to the changes to direct lighting or geometry, such as changing the sun’s angle with the time of day, turning on a flashlight, or opening an exterior door. This means you do not have to author lightmap UVs, wait for lightmaps to bake, or place reflection captures. You can create and edit lights inside the Unreal Editor and see the same final lighting as when the game is run on the console.

Open Worlds

The new World Partition system in Unreal Engine 5 changes how levels are managed and streamed, automatically dividing the world into a grid and streaming the necessary cells. Team members can also simultaneously work on the same region of the same World via the new One File Per Actor system. Data Layers allow also you to create different variations of the same World, such as daytime and nighttime versions, as layers that exist in the same space.

Animation

The new animation toolset will help you iterate faster and more accurately. It comes with tools like Control Rig that lets you quickly create rigs and share them across multiple characters; pose them in Sequencer and save and apply the poses with the new Pose Browser, and easily create natural movement with the new Full-Body IK solver. there is also Motion Warping to help you dynamically adjust a character’s root motion to align to different targets with a single animation.

MetaSounds

Unreal Engine 5 comes with MetaSounds, a high-performance system that offers complete control over audio DSP graph generation of sound sources. MetaSounds brings in benefits of procedural content creation to audio like dynamic data-driven assets, the ability to map game parameters to sound playback, huge workflow improvements, and more.

There is also a new Editor Workflow to access and optimise work better and access to MetaHuman Creator Early Access that is compatible with both Unreal Engine 4 and Unreal Engine 5. You can make your own metahumans or download from the 50 pomade ones from Quixel Bridge.

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