Craig of War
A whole Xbox 360 character fits in the eyelashes of an Unreal Engine 5 character
The Gears 5 studio has been experimenting with Epic's latest engine, which is in early access now.
"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Alpha Point was originally made with Unreal Engine 4—where it chugged in the editor—and was then moved to UE5 and completed.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."