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.”
“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.”