‘The future of content creation’ with more freedom with Unreal Engine 5

  • subject : Unreal Engine 5: The Future of Content Creation
  • Lecturer: Ohchan Kwon – Epic Games / Education Evangelist
  • Presentation area: development, engine
  • Lecture time: 2021.11.19 (Fri) 17:00 ~ 17:50
  • Lecture Summary: We would like to introduce the next-generation technologies available in Unreal Engine 5 and talk about how these features will change the process of content creation in the future.

  • ■ Innovation in the game development process, “Epic Games’ ‘Unreal Engine 5’ makes it”

    Epic Games’ evangelist Ohchan Kwon introduced each feature supported by Unreal Engine 5 through the announcement on the same day and talked about how each feature is used.

    He explained that the cost of producing game content has increased exponentially over the past few decades, which has transformed the game development industry into a capital-intensive industry, which has led to uniformity and stagnation in the game industry. The increase in the cost of producing game contents is having a negative impact on the entire game industry.

    At most a dozen or more game levels are created through collaboration, and only the production method thoroughly planned from the initial planning is used for production efficiency. In the end, it became increasingly difficult to make new and creative attempts in the production process. Developer Ohchan Kwon said that eventually, compromised results of lower quality than the planned content are being mass-produced.

    In order to solve these problems, ‘new innovation’ that can improve quality and lower production costs is needed. He introduced that Epic Games’ ‘Unreal Engine 5’ would be the answer.

    ■ Powerful weapons in Unreal Engine 5 – Nanite, Lumen, and World Partition

    The first weapon in Unreal Engine 5 is ‘Nanite’. Nanite refers to micro-polygon rendering technology through geometry virtualization. Epic Games introduced the strong advantages of Nanite, saying that the development goal of Nanite is to allow the use of the level of assets used in movies without loss of quality.

    The first feature of Nanite is the ‘GPU pipeline’. The GPU pipeline is characterized by being able to update quickly while repairing only the changed parts for each frame. View visibility can be checked with one rasterization, and all non-visible polygons can be rendered with one draw call.

    In addition, ‘cluster culling’ was applied for more efficient culling, and a cluster LOD was created to solve the problem of linearly increasing performance. Cluster LOD allows one object to apply cluster LODs of different levels as needed. In the end, it is possible to show a fixed performance regardless of the number of polygons.

    Next is the ‘Hybrid Rasterizer’ function. Problems can arise when vertices start to cluster smaller than a pixel, so Epic Games implemented a new way of rasterizers. By using this, it is no longer limited by the number of polygons, and it is possible to always obtain the maximum perceivable detail.

    If so, how can Nanite affect content creation? The most representative is that it can dramatically shorten the current generation’s content production pipeline. Since the existing pipeline goes through the process of placing each actor in the level, you can only check if there are any problems after placing them all, and countless modifications are inevitable.

    If the Nanite pipeline is used, the production process is dramatically simplified by assembling at the level after producing the prop. After all, the first concept stage can be the ‘final stage’ as it is. Because it is developed while checking in real time, it is possible to create the result as originally planned or more advanced than that. Oh-chan Kwon, an evangelist, explained that Unreal Engine 5 can play the role of a game changer, saying that quality-oriented work is possible at a much lower cost.

    The second weapon of Unreal Engine 5 is ‘Lumen’. Lumens is a feature developed with the goal of fully dynamic global illumination and software ray tracing that does not require specific hardware. The biggest goal is to run smoothly on next-generation consoles such as PS5. He explained that the goal is to run at 60 frames per second for open world games, and 30 frames per second on next-generation consoles when physically accurate lighting is built.

    Lumens provide global illumination of bright materials. When used with Nanite, you can create a much more sophisticated and clear-looking visual. In addition, it is realized naturally in translucent materials or volumetric fog.

    Lumens dramatically simplify the time-consuming and labor-intensive lighting process. Oh-chan Kwon, an evangelist, said that the lighting work can take tens of hours even for low-quality light work.

    But leveraging Unreal Engine’s Lumens solves all of these problems. He explained that because the results of all lighting operations can be checked in real time, it is possible to return to quality-focused lighting rather than experience. When Lumen is used, it is of great significance whether or not there is an emergent challenge of each developer instead of know-how.

    The third function is the world partition function. The open world is an attractive specification for both developers and consumers, and it can be said that the vast open world is an essential element in building an absorbing world. However, as the technical implementation of the open world is not easy for novice developers, Epic Games added a ‘world partition’ function that automatically divides large levels to support developers.

    The world partition is a feature that allows any team to create an open world. A distance-based streaming system will automatically create an open world. Developers only need to set the cell and grid size, and the world partition function automatically manages the rest. Performance issues can arise if the number of cells is increased too much, so here comes the HLOD function. In Unreal Engine 4, the user had to manually set the HLOD, but in Unreal Engine 5, the function is applied automatically, so the user does not have to worry about it.

    In summary, there is no need to consider technical constraints or management when creating an open world. It is possible to improve quality beyond a simple increase in detail, thereby reducing costs and enabling creative and creative work.

    If the environment and background quality have been raised through Nanite, Lumen, and World Partition, changes are also required in animation. Unreal Engine 5 sees real-time procedural animation as the only answer and key. These include a real-time rigging system ‘Control Rig’, a new location-based FBIK, and motion warping capabilities.

    In addition to animation, a wide variety of features are supported through Unreal Engine. Representative examples include Sky Atmosphere and Volumetric Cloud to create natural temporal changes, a water system for natural wave effects, Chaos Physics, which includes various physics productions from vehicles to destruction, and Meta, a next-generation procedural audio asset. sound, etc.

    ■ What content ecosystem is Epic Games preparing for developers?

    In addition to Unreal Engine 5, Epic Games is continuing its efforts to create an ecosystem through a content ecosystem that supports developers. Oh-chan Kwon, an evangelist, emphasized that everything in reality will be projected into the virtual world in the future, and the important thing at this time is the avatar, that is, the digital human. Epic Games has developed ‘Metahuman Creator’ and is distributing it for free so that anyone can enjoy this content, which is technically and costly high in hurdles.

    Using Metahuman Creator, anyone can easily create high-quality metahumans. In addition, since Maya source files are provided, developers can customize and apply them to their projects. He explained that the Metahuman Creator can be used immediately by applying on the Unreal Engine homepage.

    Next introduced is ‘Quixel’. Quixel is the world’s largest library of photoscan-based assets. Usually, it was difficult for individual developers to use it due to the cost burden, but after Epic Games and Quixel became one family, it became available for free for all projects using Unreal Engine.

    In addition, Epic Games has partnered with Capturing Reality, ArtStation, and Sketchfab. Through this relationship, developers can become more free from the supply, demand, sharing, and distribution of assets.

    Oh-chan Kwon, an evangelist, said that the most important thing is ‘creators’, and explained that the reason Epic Games makes these features and provides services is to ‘let creators create 3D assets easily and conveniently’ rather than improving technical quality. . He emphasized that through this series of processes, the overall quantity and quality of 3D assets will increase and become a driving force leading to the expansion of the 3D market.