The Coalition Introduces New Unreal Engine 5 Tech Test With 100X More Graphics Details

The Coalition Introduces New Unreal Engine 5 Tech Test With 100X More Graphics Details
The Coalition Introduces New Unreal Engine 5 Tech Test With 100X More Graphics Details 1

Xbox and Epic Games are teaming up to build a future-proof foundation with Unreal.


Following the unveiling of one of the first examples of a next-generation experience for Xbox Series X|S featuring The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience, we’re excited to share a deeper look at our technical partnership with Epic Games as part of today’s “State of Unreal” event. The Coalition’s latest Unreal Engine 5 demo, The Cavern Cinematic Tech Test, shows how movie-quality assets – with tens of millions of polygons – can be rendered in real time, a quantum leap from 100x in detail.

This is the latest in the long history of collaboration with Epic Games and Unreal Engine. In fact, this year we’re celebrating 20 years of Unreal Engine on Xbox, dating back to the release of Unreal Championship and Splinter Cell in 2002.

We spoke to Kate Rayner, the studio’s technical director at The Coalition, about her team’s partnership with Epic Games evolving in Unreal Engine 5, and what players can expect from the next-generation experiences on Xbox Series X|S .


The Cavern . cinematic test demo


Today you revealed a new Unreal Engine 5 demo during the Epic Games ‘State of Unreal’ presentation. What can you tell us about what we just saw?

First of all, I have to give credit to the whole team, because this was a really studio-wide effort to make our first-ever movie in UE5 – as well as our first time using Sequencer – and we had a lot of fun making it. A few things we are very proud of are the facial animations and just the overall quality of the character model.

We were able to use a preliminary version of our next-gen facial kit and hire an actor who wore a main camera to capture the performance, and teamed up with Cubic Motion to bring it all to life. That, combined with Control Rig, has helped us create someone who looks and moves in the most realistic ways we’ve ever done, and it’s incredibly exciting to think about where we can go. We’ve also used Chaos Matter Physics to achieve a really high level of visual fidelity, and we’re very pleased with the results.

The coolest part is that we’ve got all these great visuals and animations running on an Xbox Series X, so that gives you an idea of ​​the visual fidelity and quality we can create. With demos like this, we can learn a lot about the performance of UE5, and I think we can safely say that we can create some pretty incredible things with this new technology.


The History of the Coalition, Xbox and Gears


What impact will Unreal Engine 5 have on the future of the gears franchise in the short and long term?

We got access to UE5 very early and quickly saw the benefits of moving development for our future titles to use the new tools and feature set, which enable higher quality images, larger and more interactive environments and many other aspects. create that we’re excited for in UE5.

How has The Coalition contributed to the development of Unreal Engine over the years?

We’ve had constructive conversations with Epic since The Coalition’s inception – before it was called The Coalition – all the way back in 2010. During that time, we’ve shared feedback from an AAA perspective for our specific use cases; we’ve also contributed pull requests directly to the Engine, everything from bug fixes and optimizations to collaboration to ensure the best possible support for the Xbox platform.


Working with UE5


With the full Unreal Engine 5 toolkit coming soon, what are some of the specific tools you’ll be using when creating your next game?

We’re not ready to talk about our next game yet. But we’re excited about things like Lumen and Nanite, which have opened new doors for us.

You can already see the impact of Nanite in our cinematic technical test, which can show full-quality footage in real time. This means our artists can create assets with tens of millions of polygons, scalable to scenes with billions and billions. The details are just incredible, more than 100 times what was possible before. If you just look at the eyeball detail, the number of vertices and polygons is the equivalent of what an entire character would have been in the previous generation of games.

You also see how we do new things with light. Fully dynamic real-time global lighting lighting has long been a sought-after feature, but until now it was not possible on console. Lumen is a total game changer.

How does your expertise with Unreal Engine benefit other teams within Microsoft who also work with the tools?

We have been truly privileged to share our knowledge and best practices with others at Xbox Game Studios and learn from them as well. In addition, we work closely with the Xbox ATG (Advanced Technology Group), which allows us to optimize at the system level.

How long have you been working with UE5?

We’ve been working with UE5 for over a year, since before Early Access, we kept up to date with the latest code, experimented with content, and did a lot of internal testing. This has allowed us to provide early feedback to Epic as an AAA studio with deep Xbox and Unreal Engine experience.

What were your first impressions of UE5? Were there any surprises?

First, it was very exciting to get in, everyone at The Coalition jumped in. Then we started work on creating Alpha Point. The biggest surprise for me was how ready the engine was and how easy it was to bring UE4 content into UE5 seamlessly.

How was your experience transitioning from Unreal Engine 4 to Unreal Engine 5?

Overall it went very smoothly, it only took us about two weeks to transfer the team. As of now, our entire studio has switched to UE5. The Alpha Point Demo the one we showed at GDC last year was originally built in UE4. We migrated the demo to UE5 early on and it went pretty seamlessly. As we were building this demo in UE4 with next generation content and adding more and more resources to it, it really started to freeze and slow down, but once we brought it into UE5 it immediately came to life . We have never looked back.

Were there features in UE5 that made the transition smoother or easier for your team?

The architecture of the engine is really quite modular and we have embraced plugins as a structure to extend the functionality and adapt the engine to our needs. The fact that plugins can contain content – not just code – was a revelation. When we were working with UE4, we would make a lot of changes to the engine over time, driving up those integration costs. Now the integrations are much smoother, the engine is much more modular and allows us to give developers more flexibility.

Can you comment on some of Unreal Engine’s often overlooked features? What aspects would you like to point out to other developers?

Unreal Insights is worth mentioning because they allow developers to collect real-time data about everything during the development process. Also, Temporal Super Resolution (TSR) – the ability to render 4k for the cost of 1080p – is an incredible feature that can sometimes be overlooked.

How has the way you approach ideas, experimentation and production changed as you moved from UE4 to UE5?

UE5 quickly extended our iteration time because working in the engine is an experience what you see is what you get. There is no more guesswork. The technology is all here, and now we just need to familiarize our content creators with it.

What is the “Alpha Point Demo?” What lessons have you learned from its development?

The Alpha Point Demo is our UE5 Early Access Demo that includes an environmental technical test and an abbreviated cinematic and an early major technical test. It allowed us to become proficient with the new workflows and technology and also provide feedback for improvements and recommendations to Epic.


The Matrix Awakens Experience


The coalition also played an important role in bringing The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience to Xbox Series X|S. Describe the significance of this work and its wider implications for the industry?

This is one of the first examples of a next-generation experience that just isn’t possible on the previous generation. It was a huge learning experience that showed us exactly where the bar is for next-gen games and the workflow needed to build them.

Can you describe The Coalition’s involvement in the creation of this experience?

It was a collaboration with Epic, The Coalition and the Xbox development team to amplify and optimize Epic’s vision, first on Xbox Series X and then Xbox Series S.

Would you describe? The matrix awakens as a success? What are you most proud of?

Absolute! The fact that we’ve delivered this next-gen experience on Xbox Series S with the same features, including ray tracing that we have an Xbox Series X at such an incredible level of quality, is truly amazing. This partnership resulted in improvements to the Xbox development software, with runtime optimizations, bug fixes and improvements to tools that benefit all developers.

With the introduction of Unreal Engine 5, how close are we to having game universes completely indistinguishable from reality?

If technology has taught us anything, it is that we will always see its continued improvement. We’re very close to real-time, lifelike views; however, we will never stand still and claim we are “done” and we will continue to see game teams working on the medium and refining it.


Looking forward


What are you most looking forward to with the launch of UE5?

UE5 allows developers to take the handcuffs off and really create the content we’ve always dreamed of. No more compromises! It also removes friction points in the workflow – with Nanite we no longer have to manually create low polygon versions of models, and with Lumen we don’t have to see “the lighting needs to be rebuilt” and wait for offline static lighting re-baked – significantly speeds up the development process.

Thank you so much for your time, any final thoughts?

Xbox and The Coalition will continue to work with Epic to push the boundaries of what’s possible with modern gaming, we can’t wait to show you more of the future.

The Coalition Introduces New Unreal Engine 5 Tech Test With 100X More Graphics Details 1

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