Back at GDC in March, Epic Games revealed a demo reel for their upcoming Unreal Engine 4 game engine. While that demo reel was only shown behind closed doors to high-level game executives, the folks over at Wired have now released some screenshots showing off the engine’s beauty.
Wired’s article, titled “The Imagination Engine: Why Next-Gen Video Games Will Rock Your World,” has a description of how the intro to the 153-second demo played out:
A heavily armored demon knight sits frozen to his throne in a ruined mountain fortress. As he awakens, lava begins to flow around him and flames engulf the world. A magma vent spews a column of smoke and smoldering embers. He stands, sending up showers of sparks that dance, fall out of focus, and fade into ash. The knight hefts a massive hammer that glows with an inner fire. As he stalks down an empty corridor, a deep rumble sounds and masonry falls from the ceiling—this is no mountain but a volcano on the verge of eruption. When the knight steps outside, we see a range of snow-capped peaks in the far-off distance, rendered in stunning clarity. Behind him the volcano belches black smoke, while burning embers mix with swirling snowflakes.
As you can see from the pictures below, the little details, like the burning embers, are a major sign of what the engine can handle. As Wired’s Stu Horvath writes, “In previous engines, one floating ember was enough to slow performance considerably; a shower of them was impossible. With Unreal Engine 4, there can be millions of such particles, as long as the hardware is potent enough to sustain them.”
The article notes that the graphics contained in this particular demo aren’t possible with current game console hardware. Apparently, Nvidia’s new Kepler GTX 680 was what Epic used to show the demo off at GDC.
What do you think of these new screenshots? Is Unreal Engine 4 turning out to be worth the wait?