So... I'm not sure where you saw Nanite or Lumen a few years ago, but the forums are blowing up. This is all new to devs everywhere.
- Import cinematic assets, the engine automatically decimates to the platform. In the demo there were thousands of copies of an asset with 35 million polys, a frame total of billions of polys, which decimates down to 20 million on the fly. Maybe cinema has this tech, but this is the first time we're seeing it in games.
- Per-pixel perfect shadows, without raytracing. No apparent artifacts. WTH?! This is not even making sense to me.
- INFINITE bounce GI. Entire caves lit with a single light shaft from the surface. Again, without raytracing, in realtime. This kind of solution does not exist anywhere else besides UE5. Note this is contradicting SVOGI which only supports one bounce from voxels.
I mean... this is lightyears ahead of what we have now. And this demo ran on a PS5.
Posted May 14th
I didn't see nanite per se, but there was a tech demo a long time ago that had very similar technology. They were demonstrating how hyper-realistic the backgrounds were and how far in you could zoom. I have no idea how they were doing it, especially since it was like 2015. Prerendered fractals maybe? High-detail perlin noisemaps? Whatever it was, it was goddamn impressive for the time, and this seems to be the natural evolution of the technology.
Maybe that was procedural?
This is something completely different and new. Right now, we have to make a high poly model, retopologize to a low poly model, UV the low poly, bake the details down to the low poly model as a normal map, import and set all that up in the engine, then bake static lighting in the engine (that can never change), and wait for a few hours to see the results... only to find there are UV seam issues and artifacts and lighting errors and aesthetic issues... and repeat the process ad nauseam until release.
UE5, on the other hand, will accept that 35 million hi-poly model directly, and you can duplicate them a thousand times, and it will be lit and optimized on-the-fly with real polygons. Details aren't baked to a flat texture, so little bumps and details will still show in silhouettes. And with dynamic GI and infinite bounce, no baking, either. An artist can make literally anything they can dream up, import it, and the engine will just take care of the rest. This demo just uppended the last 15 years of game dev workflows and makes several entire pieces of software completely obsolete overnight.
Posted May 14th
This may have been the original video I saw back in the day, or something like it:
Quixel megascans seems to be a major component of nanite, and is apparently also owned by epic now.
Oh, so Megascans is just a collection of assets. They've been used in movies and games for quite a few years now. They have professional equipment to not just take photographs, but the exact kind of maps we need: surface roughness, normals, diffuse, etc. Their assets are designed from the ground up to take advantage of PBR properly, and they're highly detailed.
But the cinematic versions of those assets are HUGE compared to what's intended for games. Epic basically said now you can import the cinematic version and it will not bring the game to a standstill: the engine will automatically figure out how to handle them. They claimed 8K textures will work, but I'm skeptical. 8K uncompressed RGBA with MIPs is 512 MB. Not sure how they intend to optimize that for VRAM.
Posted May 14th