Before starting the blog post, just take a look at this video
The level of complexity achieved is astonishing, a single statue in the video contains 33 million triangles, the unreal engine demo as a whole contains a rendering of billions of triangles. Second, lighting which is a crucial component that gives depth or equivalence of a 3D is now powered by Lumen, a global illumination system that can work from millimeters to kilometers. If you look closely, the lighting source change affects the entire scene almost instantly.
Don’t fret if you have never heard of Epic Games, They started first by making games but later on moved to license their core infrastructure (Unreal Engine) which helps developers make games faster as well. The company last valued at $15B is growing by leaps and bounds now with major titles like Gears of War, Fortnite, Tom Clancy, Batman-Arkham City, Borderlands, Mortal Kombat, Dragon Ball Fighter, Street Fighter and hundreds of other games. The Unreal Engine now powers games build on all platforms – future and current, iOS, PS5, XBOX Series X, Windows, OSX which lets developers focus on building the game itself.
The new announcement also reduced the license cost for all developers with no royalties until $1M of sales have been generated after which 5% will be charged. If the game is sold via Epic Games Store, no royalty fees will be charged. Epic Games also launched its Platform service allowing developers to build real-time games like Fortnite giving it out for free.
What excites me the most is the usage of Unreal Engine for real-time in-camera VFX –
Previous versions of the Unreal Engine have been used in video games as well as films and television. Disney used the Unreal Engine, for instance, to create 3D environments and landscapes in The Mandalorian. Technology like LED walls and game engines allow production to “travel” to new locations without ever leaving a sound stage. A future is not far where filmmakers will never have to leave their studio to shoot a film. This can potentially save millions of dollars in production for film-makers.
In 2007, architecture firm HKS used a previous iteration of the Unreal Engine to produce a virtual environment of the new Dallas Cowboys stadium that clients could virtually walkthrough. As Hurricane Florence ravaged the Eastern seaboard, dangerous storm surge towered over a meteorologist – only she was safe inside a studio.
UK-based Pharmaceutical research firm C4X Discovery recently starting using Unreal Engine technology to visualize and manipulate 3-D molecules in virtual reality, with the potential to let scientists collaborate remotely in the virtual environment. But Virtual Reality is still a very growing niche with the technology not yet fully developed which makes sense for developers to use Unreal Engine as no royalties until the first million dollars in sales. Unreal Engine will sure power the games and applications built on VR as the people start to buy more headsets and developers build games on it.
Unreal Engine is slowly building out to becoming the AWS for Animation Engines. Epic Games is surely poised to reap the benefits, be it from developing games, royalties from its game engine, its game store, real-time in-camera VFX, virtual walkthroughs, etc
Did I miss something out? Do let me know in the comments below