Epic Games has announced that Unreal Engine 5, the latest version of its popular real-time 3D game engine, is now available in early access with a redesigned VRTemplate.
The Unreal Engine was first used in the first-person shooter game Unreal, which was released in 1998 on PC. Since then, it provided the technological foundation for many other highly successful games, including Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Batman: Arkham City, and Life is Strange, just to give a few examples.
The fifth version of the engine promises movie-quality photorealism thanks to its new rendering, world building, animation, physics, audio, and gameplay features.
“You’ll be able to bring incredibly immersive and realistic gaming experiences to life with groundbreaking new features like Nanite and Lumen that will provide a generational leap in visual fidelity,” claims Epic Games on the official website of Unreal Engine 5.
With its virtualized micropolygon geometry system, Nanite is supposed to help developers create games with massive amounts of geometric detail. Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that can bring any scene to life by adapting indirect lighting on the fly to changes to direct lighting or geometry.
Unfortunately, neither of these two heavily advertised features is yet available to VR developers, who are encouraged to create their projects using the redesigned VRTemplate, which is built on the OpenXR framework.
The template includes everything developers need to get going, such as encapsulated logic for teleport locomotion and common input actions.
The following VR platforms are currently supported by VRTemplate:
- Oculus Quest 1 and 2
- Oculus Quest with Oculus Link
- Oculus Rift S
- Valve Index
- HTC Vive
- Windows Mixed Reality
According to Epic Games, the production version of Unreal Engine 5 should be released in early 2022.