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Videos: watch Epic Games demo Unreal Engine 4

Friday, June 8th, 2012 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Epic Games has officially unveiled Unreal Engine 4 at E3, releasing a real-time HD trailer for the new engine.

Wired posted screenshots from the trailer last month, but this is the first chance to see it in motion.

And it looks… pretty good. Maybe not ‘revolution in gaming’ good, but there are viscous fluids, destruction physics and debris, and GPU-based particles. Lots and lots of GPU-based particles.

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Oddly enough, we found this video, in which Epic Games Senior Technical Artist Alan Willard runs through Unreal Engine 4’s capabilities, more interesting.

The footage shows Unreal Engine 4’s real-time lighting features in action, including subsurface scattering, indirect lighting and deferred decals; and dynamically lit and shadow-casting particle systems.

Willard also demonstrates Unreal Engine 4’s post-process effects, which simulate the adapation of the eye to the ambient light levels; updates to the UI and in-editor previews; and the new Kismet 2 visual scripting system.

The latter looks well thought out: for example, artists can add ‘break points’ to a node network to interrupt a simulation at any point and check individual parameter values.

From demo to reality
Most of the gaming news sites have run stories trying to extrapolate from the technical information to what actual Unreal Engine 4 games will look like.

A lot of these are fairly uncritical ‘next-gen gaming will be awesome’ pieces, but a couple are worth reading.

NowGamer has a straightforward run-down of how each new feature could have been applied in existing titles.

And Eurogamer speculates how close the demo will look to next-gen console titles (pretty close, given that Epic must have a good idea of the hardware specs).

Check back in a couple of years, and we should know if they’re right.

Read a more developer-focused summary of the new features on the official Unreal Engine website

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