Unreal Engine 5 is now available for download from the Epic Games launcher as announced during Tuesday’s State of Unreal live streamed virtual event. Ready for production use, it will be free to download and use for learning and developing internal projects. Downloading UE5 will also come with groundbreaking features such as Nanite and Lumen, as well as 2 new sample projects: The Lyra Starter Game and a City Sample from The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience.
UE5’s many feature and performance improvements allows users to create next-generation real-time 3D content and experiences with greater freedom, fidelity and flexibility. It was previously accessible in Early Access and Preview releases, but now it can be fully downloaded. As a part of the revolutionary technologies included, Lumen is a global illumination system, the tool that will allow developers to create fully dynamic lighting in real-time. This allows for developers to simply create and edit lights inside the Unreal Editor and see how the lighting takes form over players and the landscape. Nanite is virtualized micropolygon geometry, which allows for developers to automatically and massively scale in-game art assets. This means games and experiences can be created with massive amounts of geometric detail. UE5 will also use a new World Partition system that will change how open-world levels are managed and streamed by dividing the game into a grid and streaming only its necessary cells. The full feature list can be read on the Unreal Engine blog for more details.
“Epic was founded on building great games and sharing all of our technology openly with the community. We succeed when you succeed, and we want all developers to have the advantages we have ourselves when building games like ‘Fortnite’,” said Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games. Over 85 game studios are already using UE5, including CD Projekt RED utilizing this tool to create the new Witcher game that is currently in development.
The State of Unreal was available to watch on Twitch and Youtube, which showcased the generational leap in technological capabilities and workflows UE5 presents to millions of creators across games, entertainment and more. The engine has also been used by film and television producers for virtual production on set and final pixels on the movie screen. The versatile UE5 will prove to be a tremendous advantage to creators in all areas besides gaming.
UE5 was first announced in May of 2020 and offered previews of it in early 2021. Finally, it is available for games on both current generation and previous generation consoles, as well as Windows PC, Mac and handheld devices through Android and iOS. Developers can still build their games in UE4 and move them to the latest engine later.