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Post by Dan @ 07:53am 18/05/12 | 14 Comments
Unfortunately the demo-reel isn't yet available for public consumption, but over on Wired, you can find a very detailed article painstakingly describing everything they saw and learnt about Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 in its debut press presentation.

As we've come to expect from these early tech-demos from Epic, the level of detail is another cut above anything that's out there right now. Running in real-time on one of Nvidia's new Kepler-architecture GeForce GTX 680s, the presentation showed an armour-clad demonic figure in a volcanic mountain-top fortress with liberal use of smoke, embers and liquid-hot-magma effects.
In previous engines, one floating ember was enough to slow performance considerably; a shower of them was impossible. With Unreal Engine 4, there can be millions of such particles, as long as the hardware is potent enough to sustain them. Game developers overuse features of every new engine, because they are suddenly so easy to implement. In the original Unreal Engine, for example, the ability to render colored lighting led to a rash of games that employed the effect. The same may prove true for UE4′s particle effects, for better or worse. (“Mark my words,” Bleszinski says, “those particles are going to be whored by developers.”)

In one 153-second clip, the Epic team has packed all the show-off effects that have flummoxed developers for years: lens flare, bokeh distortion, lava flow, environmental destruction, fire, and detail in landscapes many miles away. Plus, it’s breathtakingly photo-realistic—or would be if demon knights were, you know, a real thing.
Upon completion of the cinematic sequence, direct control was taken by the epic presenter to navigate around the world in a first person perspective:
Willard maneuvers his avatar into a dimly lit room where a flashlight turns on, revealing eddies of dust—thousands of floating particles that were invisible until exposed. In another room, globes of various sizes float in the air. Willard rolls a light-emanating orb along the floor (think of a spherical flashlight that rolls like a bowling ball) and beams of light wobble and change direction, illuminating parts of the room and revealing the clusters of floating spheres with a kind of strobe effect. At first it all seems perfectly familiar: “Well, yeah,” you think, “that’s how they’d act in the real world. What’s the big deal?” But it is a big deal: This is stuff that videogames have never been able to simulate—the effects simply aren’t possible on today’s consoles.
It's not all about visual fidelity either, as the Wired article goes on to describe the Kismet 2 visual scripting tool. Epic's Tim Sweeney explains that as the rendering tech evolves and improves, that it becomes more and more laborious for artists, animators and level designers to craft the content that takes advantage of it, so productivity increases in these processes at the engine-level are essential.
Need to determine how many bullets it will take to shatter that reinforced glass? Kismet 2 is your tool. Once behaviors are set, they can be executed immediately and edited on the fly. With Kismet 2, Epic empowers level designers—the people responsible for conceptualizing the world—to breathe life into that world directly, rather than relying on programmers to do it on their behalf. Says Golding, “We’re turning our level designers into godlike creatures who can walk into a world and create with a swipe of their hand.”
For more details and screenshots from the demo, check out the full Wired article. The public unveiling of this demo and more details about Unreal Engine 4 are expected in early June around the E3 expo.

epic gamesgeforceunreal engineunreal engine 4

Latest Comments
Posted 09:25am 18/5/12
the effects simply aren’t possible on today’s consoles.

thank f***, f*** you consoles!!!
Posted 10:11am 18/5/12
Well, I think its a good indication of what the next generation of consoles would be capable of though. Unreal Engine 3 was rolled out just before the 360 if I remember right (I remember in the sizzle reel for the U3 engine it used a bunch of Gears of War art and assets), so it sounds to me like they're getting ready to roll this out for the next generation of consoles.

What are we supposed to call the next generation of consoles anyway, next-next gen?
Posted 12:53pm 18/5/12
We'd call them next-gen. Nobody calls the 360 or PS3 next-gen any more anyway.

I'm pretty skeptical that next-gen consoles will be capable of this stuff, at least not with a decent framerate and 1080p. This looks something that even top-end PCs would have trouble with, so I doubt a ~$600 games console is going to fare much better, at least not early in their life-cycles.
Posted 12:54pm 18/5/12
Aren't next generation of consoles graphics cards already old gen for PC?

So if this is running on the latest PC video card. What hope will there be for consoles?

Anyway I can't really speak to the effects. Nothing actually looks amazingly stand out to me as awesome. The metallic figures are the best things in the screen shots.
Posted 02:14pm 18/5/12
Aren't next generation of consoles graphics cards already old gen for PC?

And you're basing this off..... ?

Considering there hasn't even been an official announcement about the next XBox or Playstation, let alone their specs, theres not really much to go on.

I wouldn't be suprised though to see something like the new crop of nvidia cards in the next consoles, considering how much cooler they run and use less power, sounds the ideal sort of thing for a console.
Posted 07:10pm 18/5/12
Posted 08:09am 19/5/12
Looks pretty - eye-candy is just that though and it doesn't mean too much to me after the novelty wears off and you are 25+ hours into the multiplayer. r_picmip 0-3 styles. I remember trying to get into the Unreal game/s back when I fired up the original on the Dual-Voodoo2?(I think) and I just couldn't for reasons I can't put my thumb on. I'm not upto speed on current events apart from what I read here but they lived in another's shadow - id, I feel, much like cricketer Stuart MacGill did retrospectively (perhaps despite being the superior product!?) :p

Posted 10:00am 19/5/12
Unreal Engine 3 is probably the most proliferous engine of this generation, so I don't think they live in anyone's shadow anymore. And its more than just eye candy, its tools that can be used to create even more convincing, immersive worlds and better atmosphere, I'm all for that.

But if it doesn't run at that quality on the next generation of consoles, then the odds of seeing anything that looks that good come out as an actual game are pretty slim :(
Posted 10:04am 19/5/12
thank f***, f*** you consoles!!!

half a brain shoudl indicate to you that the next coming consoles will probably be able to run this gear

common sense, who would have thought
Posted 11:31am 19/5/12
And you're basing this off..... ?

Considering there hasn't even been an official announcement about the next XBox or Playstation, let alone their specs, theres not really much to go on.

I wouldn't be suprised though to see something like the new crop of nvidia cards in the next consoles, considering how much cooler they run and use less power, sounds the ideal sort of thing for a console.
Yeah all the rumours for the new Playstation or Xbox have had AMD at the core but Epic using an nvidia to demo their new engine really puts question to those rumours.

If I was designing a console for Sony or MS, I'd probably go down to Epic Games and ask them what they want it to be able to do and build that.
Posted 11:39am 19/5/12
You have to think, if the "next-gen" consoles are indeed being worked on then the system specs have probably been locked in for at least a year or two now, with no real means of change. So hypothetically we will see 3-4 year old hardware if the next-gen consoles are released in the next year or two. This would put the graphics card at either a ATI 5000-6000 series, or an nVidia 400-500 series.
Posted 12:19pm 19/5/12
I don't think that's exactly how it works Eorl. I think they will have decided upon the platform and based a set of spec's for developers to develop towards but that doesn't mean the hardware is locked in.

After all, if you tell developers to make sure their games run on an older card it will still run on a newer card. The Xbox 360 had it's own custom made ATI card didn't it? According to wiki, it was something of a bridge between the current gen of ATi graphics cards and the next gen.

This may help to explain why games released around the launch of the console look no where near as good as games developed after the consoles release. They probably told them to develop for the current gen card despite having features of a next gen graphics card at their disposal because at the time they didn't know exactly what it would be capable of, only that it would be at least able to do what the current gen could.
Posted 12:33pm 19/5/12
I doubt they would have locked the specs in years ago, and if they did, they would be looking ahead and locking in specs that would be good in the future not good in the present. Console development is mostly done on PCs anyway until you start testing, so its not like it would be hard for them to go "Ok, develop games with the new generation of nvidia cards in mind and that'll work on the console".
Posted 01:42pm 19/5/12
Nice post khel! I remember f4tal1ty (sp) being all over it/them so.... Will have to get some pro(tm) advice before I beast up, or lmgtfy. Also, I think fpot is onto me :'( :)
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