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Another Huge Leap Forward For 3D Graphics

Unreal Engine 5, was launched in April 2022 and it signalled the beginning of a new era in 3D Graphics by introducing a system called ‘Nanite’ which changed the way objects are placed in scenes. Using algorithms, rather than combinations of distant objects with less polygons, ‘level of detail’ was made simple by algorithmically applying distance to objects which then makes it possible to have large scenes with a great deal of detail. This in itself was a game changer for the industry but there were two areas of computer generated scenes that had yet to be addressed. Foliage and light. Trees and plants had to be static objects because animated plant life hadn’t come under the umbrella of Nanite, until now.

Unreal Engine 5.1 gives us Nanite trees and foliage

Which means that trees and other foliage have the same qualities in the far distance as they do up close and this means no more billboard trees and laborious setting up of LODs.
This is achieved with no loss of performance in the generated scene and has even improved rending times slightly.
Real geometry throughout a 3D world gives a much superior appearance with no popping of stacked or billboard LODs and so realism is so much more achievable.
In the scene above, a forest of 100,000 trees were applied to a four kilometre square terrain and excellent performance was achieved.

Translucence has arrived

But Unreal Engine 5.1 doesn’t stop there. In the past light as been blocked by polygons making the floor of a forest dark and a little unrealistic while in this new version light that passes through leaves is calculated and displayed, making stunningly realistic environments.

3D worlds made with Unreal Engine just got much more real and easier to create and when you consider that the engine is free for anyone to use (up to a point) then it looks like 3D gaming and any sort of 3D constructed worlds have been given another gigantic boost.
My only hope is that gaming companies will use this fantastic technology to make something other than boring first person shoot em ups.

To watch an informative video about these 3D developments, click HERE.

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