Epic Games have announced the latest version of the state-of-the-art game engine that’s used on real-time 3D content production pipelines around the world. The redesigned Unreal Editor has better performance, artist-friendly animation tools, improved path tracing, and an extended mesh creation and editing toolset.

Unreal 5 offers next-gen real-time rendering with Lumen, a fully dynamic global illumination solution, where indirect lighting adapts straight away to changes to direct lighting and geometry. There’s also the new virtualized micropolygon geometry system, Nanite, that lets you create games with massive amounts of detail. Virtual Shadow Maps, designed to work well with Nanite and Lumen, provide soft shadows at a reasonable performance cost.

The new World Partition system divides the world into a grid and streams the necessary cells, which changes how levels are managed and streamed. It also gets easier for different team members to work on the same part of a world thanks to the new One File Per Actor system.

Improvements to the animation toolset let you reuse existing animations, animate in context, and adapt animations to suit gameplay conditions at runtime. The new tools make it easier to create rigs and share them across multiple characters and with the IK Retargeter you can transfer animations between characters that have different skeletons and proportions.

Other changes include full integration of Quixel Bridge and improved UV editing tools. The DXR-accelerated Path Tracer, first introduced in Unreal 4.27, has been enhanced in stability and performance. It now supports hair primitives and the eye shader model with improvements in sampling, BRDF models, light transport, and supported geometries.

Head over to Unreal for a full list of release notes.