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Analysis A whole Xbox 360 character fits in the eyelashes of a Unreal Engine 5 character

Craig of War

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Apr 19, 2020
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"Gears 5 developer The Coalition has put together a new Unreal Engine 5 tech demo optimized for the Xbox Series X. The brief "Alpha Point" video was shown during a GDC talk and hasn't been posted publicly yet, but there's a screenshot above. It once again goes for the crumbling ruins theme. I miss the sci-fi tech demos of the 2010s, but UE5 does render some nice rocks.

The demo is very short: ruins, floating diamond thing, that's it. I'll embed it in this article whenever it's uploaded somewhere or, if no one gets around to that, I'll rip it from the GDC talk, but for now I'm trying to avoid compressing an already-compressed stream just to show you a few seconds of rendering. As you can see in the still I grabbed below, it doesn't tell us much we didn't already know, but it does contain nice rocks.

During the GDC talk where the demo debuted, Coalition technical director Kate Rayner said that Unreal Engine 5 game development is still "really early," but that this demo was a good opportunity for the Microsoft-owned studio to "kick the tires" and collaborate with Epic on Xbox optimization.

Alpha Point was originally made with Unreal Engine 4—where it chugged in the editor—and was then moved to UE5 and completed. According to Coalition technical art director Colin Penty, most assets in the demo are made up of 300,000 to 500,000 triangles, 15 times the number of triangles in the average asset from Gears 5, a game that came out in 2019. The studio also worked with million-triangle assets, Penty said, but parts of the development process become "too painful" with assets that big. Penty also noted some of the limitations of the Nanite geometry tech utilized for the ultra-complex assets. It doesn't currently do translucency, for example, so most of the foliage in the demo doesn't use it.

He concluded by saying that he thinks UE5 games will look "incredible" on Xbox Series X/S consoles.

I suppose it's hard to fault The Coalition, a Microsoft studio, for the console focus here. Although it was supposedly meant to be internal-only at first, Alpha Point is in a way Microsoft's answer to the first Unreal Engine 5 demo, which was made for the PlayStation 5. For better or worse, the latest PlayStations and Xboxes still set the norms for mainstream rendering power.

For comparison with your specs, Alpha Point runs at 46 fps on an Xbox Series X at a 4K display resolution. I say display resolution there because the actual render resolution was set at 50% or higher and upscaled to 4K using Epic's Temporal Super Resolution. So, you might get around 46 fps rendering at 1440p (but not 4K) with PC hardware that's comparable to an Xbox Series X. Or you can also flip on Temporal Super Resolution, or possibly DLSS, or another upscaler.

Like Nvidia's DLSS tech, Temporal Super Resolution tries to increase the resolution of an image without loss of quality. That means a game can be rendered in 1080p and then blown up to 4K while hopefully looking like it belongs there, because even high-end graphics cards struggle to render some scenes directly in 4K. Penty said that UE5's TSR upscaling provides "amazing results" when going from 1080p to 4K."

 
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rofif

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Sep 13, 2019
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It doesn't matter. You can only resolve technically as much polygons as pixels but even that is impossible.
 

GrayFoxPL

Member
Mar 26, 2007
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"Gears 5 developer The Coalition has put together a new Unreal Engine 5 tech demo optimized for the Xbox Series X. The brief "Alpha Point" video was shown during a GDC talk and hasn't been posted publicly yet, but there's a screenshot above. It once again goes for the crumbling ruins theme. I miss the sci-fi tech demos of the 2010s, but UE5 does render some nice rocks.

The demo is very short: ruins, floating diamond thing, that's it. I'll embed it in this article whenever it's uploaded somewhere or, if no one gets around to that, I'll rip it from the GDC talk, but for now I'm trying to avoid compressing an already-compressed stream just to show you a few seconds of rendering. As you can see in the still I grabbed below, it doesn't tell us much we didn't already know, but it does contain nice rocks.

During the GDC talk where the demo debuted, Coalition technical director Kate Rayner said that Unreal Engine 5 game development is still "really early," but that this demo was a good opportunity for the Microsoft-owned studio to "kick the tires" and collaborate with Epic on Xbox optimization.

Alpha Point was originally made with Unreal Engine 4—where it chugged in the editor—and was then moved to UE5 and completed. According to Coalition technical art director Colin Penty, most assets in the demo are made up of 300,000 to 500,000 triangles, 15 times the number of triangles in the average asset from Gears 5, a game that came out in 2019. The studio also worked with million-triangle assets, Penty said, but parts of the development process become "too painful" with assets that big. Penty also noted some of the limitations of the Nanite geometry tech utilized for the ultra-complex assets. It doesn't currently do translucency, for example, so most of the foliage in the demo doesn't use it.

He concluded by saying that he thinks UE5 games will look "incredible" on Xbox Series X/S consoles.

I suppose it's hard to fault The Coalition, a Microsoft studio, for the console focus here. Although it was supposedly meant to be internal-only at first, Alpha Point is in a way Microsoft's answer to the first Unreal Engine 5 demo, which was made for the PlayStation 5. For better or worse, the latest PlayStations and Xboxes still set the norms for mainstream rendering power.

For comparison with your specs, Alpha Point runs at 46 fps on an Xbox Series X at a 4K display resolution. I say display resolution there because the actual render resolution was set at 50% or higher and upscaled to 4K using Epic's Temporal Super Resolution. So, you might get around 46 fps rendering at 1440p (but not 4K) with PC hardware that's comparable to an Xbox Series X. Or you can also flip on Temporal Super Resolution, or possibly DLSS, or another upscaler.

Like Nvidia's DLSS tech, Temporal Super Resolution tries to increase the resolution of an image without loss of quality. That means a game can be rendered in 1080p and then blown up to 4K while hopefully looking like it belongs there, because even high-end graphics cards struggle to render some scenes directly in 4K. Penty said that UE5's TSR upscaling provides "amazing results" when going from 1080p to 4K."


Lady Gaga Reaction GIF by Jimmy Kimmel Live
 
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Ritsumei2020

Report me for console warring
Jul 3, 2020
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Guys

Do I need to explain everything to you? Ok then lesson time:

First, it was number of colours on screen
Then, parallaxes
Then, number of bits
Then, number of poligons
Then, number of teraflops,
Then, number of ray tracing
Now its raw performance per pixel. Its the new metric.

You all got it? Good.
 

mxbison

Member
Dec 9, 2020
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Says who? seriously these arguments are extremely weak

How are these arguments weak? 20 year old games like Red Faction had more destruction options than current AAA games.

Indie Voxel game Teardown is the only thing we have right now that tries proper destruction, and it's amazing.

And what are we seeing from new engine demos? Even more details in completely static worlds. Like that's what we needed...
 
Oct 26, 2018
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Hair was a big thing, then puddle reflection and RT.

Now eyelashes.

Well, I'm kind of close. I remember way back joking devs would focus on nose hairs one day. Getting there!

Dev: "Hardware just isnt powerful enough to do 4k/60"....... 2 minutes later: "Hey gamers, check out our game's eyelashes and puddles!"

I never knew all you fellow gamers wanted power to be funneled to eyelashes making them do it.
 
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Elysion

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Jan 11, 2020
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Yeah, I’m no longer impressed by polygon counts, and haven’t been for a long time. Character models in particular have been ‘good enough’ for me since the late PS360 era (with the possible exception of hair rendering). I mean, Drake’s model in Uncharted 3 for example still looks excellent.

The big thing that’s going to move games forward from a visual perspective in the next few years is going to be lighting; that will probably be the most noticeable difference between last-gen and current-gen games. But I also want more world interactivity and reactivity, and less static environments; it’s really disappointing that we haven’t seen any real advances in this area since at least a decade.
 

TonyK

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Aug 13, 2020
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Some references in that article to limitations of Unreal engine 5 worried me a bit.
 

Zannegan

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Feb 20, 2018
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Says who? seriously these arguments are extremely weak
Isn't one of the limitations of Nanite that it only works on pretty much static environments, or am I misremembering? Someone help me out here.

In any case, I get the spirit of what he is saying. For all the advancements made in eye-candy, meaningful interactions with the environment have actually regressed over time. It's actually been kind of weird to see games go from physics being a given and some form of destruction being very common, to static environments with invincible trees. These days, the only changes you can usually make to an environment are contextual. Just look at Battlefield 2 to Battlefield 4.

As a side note, I recently rediscovered Red Faction: Guerilla, and while the game has some early 360 jank, it's also really satisfying to be able to plough through any manmade structure. I can only imagine what we're capable of on the new hardware.

Here's hoping someone starts to explore those possibilities. There's no reason we can't have eye candy AND physics/destruction/decent NPC AI/etc.
 
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Soodanim

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Feb 24, 2012
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Says who? seriously these arguments are extremely weak
I disagree. Polygon counts are nice trivia for the marketing but they don't mean much. People want fun, and if devs' limited time is going into eyelash polygons then it's not going into something that might help make it a timeless classic.
 
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clem84

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Dec 11, 2011
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Can you even see the eyelash in that pic? Seems like an awful waste of resources to me. Maybe for cut-scenes, but for gameplay that's just insane.
 

Lethal01

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Jun 15, 2019
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Isn't one of the limitations of Nanite that it only works on pretty much static environments, or am I misremembering? Someone help me out here.

No, the limitation is that it doesn't work on organically bendable meshes, like skin.

It's totally fine to use it on something like a walk that gets broken into 50 solid parts which is what most destruction is.
 
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SlimySnake

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Feb 5, 2013
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Like Nvidia's DLSS tech, Temporal Super Resolution tries to increase the resolution of an image without loss of quality. That means a game can be rendered in 1080p and then blown up to 4K while hopefully looking like it belongs there, because even high-end graphics cards struggle to render some scenes directly in 4K. Penty said that UE5's TSR upscaling provides "amazing results" when going from 1080p to 4K."
I can now die a happy man.

Fuck 4k. Fuck wasting GPU power on rendering pixels. Native 4k is such a waste.

The fact that they arent even settling for 1440p is fucking fantastic which means all of xsx's 12 tflops are going to be used for an amazing looking 1080p game. We might even hit photorealism this gen.
 
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Zannegan

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No, the limitation is that it doesn't work on organically bendable meshes, like skin.

It's totally fine to use it on something like a walk that gets broken into 50 solid parts which is what most destruction is.
Just out of curiosity, and at the risk of going off topic, what about something that flexed like a tree trunk or a plank fence? Would it be able to bend and splinter like a next gen version of some of those Force Unleashed materials demos?

EDIT: Or what about plastic/metal deformation?
 
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Lethal01

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Just out of curiosity, and at the risk of going off topic, what about something that flexed like a tree trunk or a plank fence? Would it be able to bend and splinter like a next gen version of some of those Force Unleashed materials demos?

EDIT: Or what about plastic/metal deformation?

No bending whatsoever, for those you use the same meshes that you've been using for a decade. for a tree you could mix a nanite mesh and normal meshes together at the point it would break so destructible trees wouldn't be hard but something like it curving in the wind would be.
 
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oldergamer

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Aug 20, 2004
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How are these arguments weak? 20 year old games like Red Faction had more destruction options than current AAA games.

Indie Voxel game Teardown is the only thing we have right now that tries proper destruction, and it's amazing.

And what are we seeing from new engine demos? Even more details in completely static worlds. Like that's what we needed...
Its a weak argument because 99% of all games use static objects in an environment. very rare that you see any game that subdivides geometry on the fly.

There's a difference between true dynamic and static objects that i don't think you realize. You can use dynamic physics on a collection of static objects. I'm so sick of people bringing up red faction as an example. it still contained static objects.