title iconThe Matrix Awakens and Unreal Engine 5 are now free to download

Trial version of the Lyra game project

Unreal Engine 5 is now generally available for download after its groundbreaking reveals on PlayStation 5. The release of The Matrix Awakens demo is being accompanied by a cut-down, Keanu-free version, alongside a trial version of the Lyra game project. State of Unreal today willfocus on the release of UE5, and we can expect a variety of demos surrounding the technology alongside the engine's release.

Crrent Unreal Engine 4.27

 The Unreal Engine 5 includes support for many key next-generation technologies in addition to the current Unreal Engine 4.27. We've already seen them in action, of course. Epic's Lumen solution relies on hardware accelerated ray tracing to provide fully real-time global illumination, eliminating the need to rely on static, pre-calculated 'baked' lighting. UE5's not technology eliminates geometry 'pop-in' and gives assets motion picture quality detail through virtualized micro-polygons.On today's consoles, native rendering at 4K resolution is not feasible due to the system demands, which ties into another crucial feature: Temporal Super-Resolution. The best software-based temporal upscaling solution we've seen to date has been recently demonstrated in a non-UE5 title - Ghostwire: Tokyo. Upscaling from 1080p to 4K yields results that are comparable (though not quite as good as) Nvidia's DLSS.

The Matrix Awakens in December

As Epic explains, MetaSounds is a fully procedural audio engine, similar to a fully programmable material and rendering pipeline, that translates all of the Material Editor's benefits to audio, including dynamic data-driven assets, and the ability to map game parameters to sound playback, and significant workflow improvements.."With the launch of The Matrix Awakens in December, Epic showcased the features it would be showcasing today - including world partitioning for optimized open-world streaming, data layers

for creating different variations of the world environment, and procedural generation tools for creating these environments on constrained systems, continuing its stated mission to democratize high-end triple-A features for developers everywhere. Additionally, UE5 offers increased animation and editing capabilities, while its Quixel Bridge feature simplifies the integration of Quixel Megascans assets.

Lyra and The Matrix Awakens

As we explore Unreal Engine 5 over the next few days, Digital Foundry will focus on Lyra and The Matrix Awakens, two popular UE5 titles. While the demo can be downloaded and compiled, it's not the full experience as seen on consoles. At the end of the console release, all Warner Bros Matrix assets were stripped out, leaving the procedurally generated city. 

 The old UE5 demo - Valley of the Ancient - may also be revisited in the hope that we can get some insight into the optimization improvements from the early access UE5. In The Matrix Awakens, the stuttering was significantly reduced due to CPU challenges in processing big pieces of Nanite geometry.

emphasizing that Unreal Engine 5

Furthermore, it is worth emphasizing that Unreal Engine 5 is still undergoing continual development and that key issues still remain to be solved. A recent article on CD Projekt RED's move to UE5 discussed how the next Witcher can benefit from new features and workflow - so features like Nanite and Lumen could revolutionize the open world. It is still on the to-do list tosupport non-opaque objects, such as foliage and skinned geometry. While the building blocks are in place to make phenomenal game worlds easier to create, we are still a long way from completion.

Epic still deserves kudos - UE5 

Epic still deserves kudos - UE5 remains the first mainstream engine to comprehensively support the future of 'next-generation' graphics, backing up the core technology with vast improvements in the workflow - games are getting bigger and more complex. This isn't just about democratizing triple-A features and making them available to everyone, but also about providing underlying assets and procedural generation techniques to create game worlds more quickly. It will take some time for Lumen and Nanite to appear in bigger budget games - emerging technologies take some time to arrive.As well as the Matrix Awakens city, developers will be free to customize the Lyra game sample in the near future. We will be showcasing UE5 soon.