Unreal Engine 4 Represents The “Foundation For The Next Decade Of Gaming”

Wired has a huge feature on Epic’s new Unreal Engine, in which they call it the “foundation for the next decade of gaming”. And whilst nobody’s expecting the next generation of consoles to outlive the technological boost that PCs see every few months, there’s some hope that PS4 and the next Xbox will at least be able to match up to the demo shown off, being as it was demonstrated on a PC running a single Kepler GTX 680.

“In a scant three months of production,” says the article, “a team of 14 engineers has fashioned a video demo to show off the new engine, and it acts essentially as a full-featured, if small, top-of-the-line game—the first title of the next generation.”

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“A heavily armored demon knight sits frozen to his throne in a ruined mountain fortress. As he awakens, lava begins to flow around him and flames engulf the world. A magma vent spews a column of smoke and smoldering embers. He stands, sending up showers of sparks that dance, fall out of focus, and fade into ash.”

“The knight hefts a massive hammer that glows with an inner fire. As he stalks down an empty corridor, a deep rumble sounds and masonry falls from the ceiling—this is no mountain but a volcano on the verge of eruption. When the knight steps outside, we see a range of snow-capped peaks in the far-off distance, rendered in stunning clarity. Behind him the volcano belches black smoke, while burning embers mix with swirling snowflakes.”

There’s no video, only screenshots of this demo sequence, but the article goes on to describe the actual game – it’s a first person title, and seems to show off some incredible lighting effects.

“UE4 introduces dynamic lighting,” it says, “which behaves in response to its own inherent properties rather than a set of preprogrammed effects. In other words, no more faking it. Every light in a scene bounces off every surface, creating accurate reflections. Colors mix, translucent materials glow, and objects viewed through water refract. And it’s all being handled on the fly, as it happens.”

“That’s not realistic — that’s real.”

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20 Comments

  1. Shot 2 just reminds me of SSX.

    Detail in shot 3 is really nice though.

  2. “Unreal Engine 4 Represents The “Foundation For The Next Decade Of Gaming””

    Hope not! In its favour UE3 enabled lots of companies to make games, but it’s also been a limiting factor this generation, and it didn’t perform quite as well on PS3 as it did the Xbox 360, think it also had aliasing problems or didn’t feature aliasing at all on PS3.

    All games made with UE have a kind of similar look about them, whereas games with bespoke engines really excel at what they do whether it’s fast gameplay of the CoD engine, the destruction & lighting of the Frostbite engine, the gorgeous jungle scenes in Far Cry 2 with the Dunia engine and that’s not even mentioning Uncharted, Killzone and others.

    • I couldn’t agree more with everything you just said.

    • I don’t see that. Yes, there are a lot of similar feeling titles, through use of UE3, but there are also plenty of titles that feel very different.

      Mirror’s Edge, Mortal Kombat, Splinter Cell Conviction, Borderlands, Dungeon Defenders? There’s plenty of variety out there, as long as the developers have an individual art direction and/or put their own modifications onto the engine.

      I’m not opposed to UE4. Having middleware of this sort can often help developers get jone done quicker and cheaper. It’s important to keep costs reasonable these days, after all, but developers are surely now wary of beig lambasted for looking too similar, and hopefully Epic will have something in there to help them get a different look.

      • Personally i’d like to see Naughty Dog release their engine and put the unreal one’s to shame.

      • I’m pretty sure Naughty Dog’s engine wouldn’t be as versatile though. I don’t think they could make an open world Uncharted as visually impressive as the Uncharted games, for example.

      • That’s what I said, in its favour UE3 enabled companies to make games.

        But it has also been a big limitation on the gen… especially once we passed the halfway point in its life.

    • I belive UE3 doesn’t support AA natively at all. On any platform.

  3. All well and good but its not the visuals that really need improving in modern games, its the actual gameplay, which is becoming more repetitive and generic as the years go by.

  4. the screenshots and the text sounds like a new overlord game IMO!

  5. Wait, I thought the Bladerunner esque trailer was the next Unreal Engine, no?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elKx4ABj_eU&feature=related

  6. so, just to get this straight: Does this mean I can have more graphics in my games? I like a lot of graphics as it is but I could always be happy with a few more graphics.

  7. Also:
    Just give me Unreal Tournament 4, dammit!
    UT3 is one of my favourite FPSs, and one which never feels boring or repetitive to me.

    • “never feels boring or repetitive”
      Unless you go for some of the achievements. Oh god the grinding! :| lol

  8. I’m sure the shots are a step forward technically but I’m still fine with the current-gen consoles.

  9. Too bad it still seems to have that Unreal Engine look, like everything is made out of shiny plastic.

  10. I prefer the games that have there own engines.

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