Less Unreal: Unreal Engine 4.5 Released

Heh. Organ.

Thank you, Epic. Finally, someone has listened to me. I’ve said for years that games should use automatic C++ hot reload, but everyone’s just copied Gears of War’s reload. Animation retargeting too, very important that for twitch aiming. And streaming video textures mean livestreams should run at 60fps even in 1080p! Unreal Engine 4.5 is the game engine we’ve all been waiting for.

That’s all a load of old tosh, of course, except for the fact that Unreal Engine has now reached version 4.5. It brings a few handy things to speed up development, but you’re probably more interested in prettiness. Don’t worry, it has that too.

Out yesterday, 4.5 brought fancy graphical wizzbangs including slightly eerie subsurface scattering to make skin that looks sorta real but also sorta terrifying, a new shadowing method with sharp edges growing softer as the light spreads, and better specular occlusion. Look, go read the announcement or full changelog for all the details.

Or stick around to stand on your desk, rubbing your thighs, grunting and gurning as we watch some videos showing ray-traced distance field soft shadows:

Phwoar! And these. Get in there my son!

Isn’t it nice that the engine wars are seemingly over? Even if Quake 2 did have the best movement physics known to gamekind, aren’t you glad we don’t see weird arguments about game engines any more, where people fling around technical terms they don’t understand as if a game is made awful by its shadowing method? What a strange era that was.


  1. Clavus says:

    Note to students that want to mess with UE4: you can get a free one year subscription for the engine through GitHub, no extra strings attached.

  2. SominiTheCommenter says:

    There’s already a game called Technolust! When tags collide.
    Change it to an anagram, technoslut.

  3. shaydeeadi says:

    I can’t get the static off my trousers, what to do?

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Grind up against other people and ask if they can feel the electricity between you.

  4. madeofsquares says:

    aren’t you glad we don’t see weird arguments about game engines any more.

    Aye. Now people seem to quibble about frame rates instead!

    • GameCat says:

      My game engine can render the same amount of polygons with 1 more frame per second than your game engine.

    • kevinspell says:

      Because a few developers (probably bribed by Sony and Microsoft) claim 30 FPS is better then 60 FPS. FFS, should everyone just roll over and accept these lies like brainless sheep.

  5. Tom Walker says:

    These aren’t very exciting videos. I was expecting some sort of battle between a dragon and a scantily-clad android woman (gynoid?) back-flipping between laser beams then falling off the edge of an exploding castle into a fighter jet on fire in space.

    I guess buses are nice too.

  6. Spacewalk says:

    I wonder if there’s a flak cannon in the bell tower of that church.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Such a violent tech demo. Organs everywhere.

    • Hunchback says:

      Isn’t putting a flak cannon on such a good vintage point too much of a troll?
      Maybe a shock rifle or a sniper is more appropriate…

      • lowenz says:

        Flak cannon in a (Nali) church is an Unreal (1998) reference :D

  7. Hunchback says:

    Well, i for one miss the old days of the engine wars. Now nobody cares and people produce mainly shitty games with the main focus being texture size and other visual stuff.
    With the engine wars over, the arena shooter is over too…

    Bring back the eternal Quake vs Unreal dispute, i’d be more than happy to play both and ravel in the results kindled by the constant competition of the developers!

  8. BockoPower says:

    If you miss the good old Engine Wars you should pay some visits to any Star Citizen forum or discussion that you can find.

  9. Bodylotion says:

    Somehow i never was a really big fan of the Unreal 3 Engine. I can’t really explain why but it just didn’t feel right to me. Games like Dishonored, Singularity, Bioshock & Borderlands are pretty good but I just never got the feeling like in Unreal 1 & 2 engines or HL Engines. Perhaps i’m just weird I don’t know. I do know it had something to do with picking up ammo/weapons/items which i disliked.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      Somehow i never was a really big fan of the Unreal 3 Engine. I can’t really explain why but it just didn’t feel right to me.

      I think that’s known as cross-platformication. Those games are designed to be optimal at 30 FPS on a 40+ inch 720p screen a minimum of 5 feet away with much less freedom of movement than your standard PC peripherals allow.

  10. Herabek says:

    Ohhh, ho ho… The engine wars are far from over in the hobbyist developer community. The battle over Cry Engine, Unreal Engine, or Unity rages on. Artists often prefer Unreal or Cry Engine, because it seems to offer the most advanced visual features the quickest, whereas many programmers enjoy Unity for it’s ease of use and extensibility. These are FAR from rules, just a pattern I seem to have noticed while working with a variety of teams.

    It gets HEATED, but usually not as heated as the Maya vs 3DS Max vs Blender vs XSI arguments. Everyone pretty much agrees that Zbrush is a 3D sculptor’s wet dream… except you weird Mudbox aficionados. I don’t get those guys.

  11. Stardog says:

    Since when are the engine wars over? Unreal Engine vs Unity vs CryEngine.

    • RARARA says:

      Don’t forget Ogre3D!

      • Forsling says:

        He’s talking about game engines. OGRE is not a game engine, it’s a rendering engine. Which is just a tiny subset of what an actual game engine like Unreal provides.

  12. Thrippy says:

    Plenty of recent games were made more awful-er by the lack or total absence of shadow options in their graphic settings. Total Biscuit has rightly lambasted the offenders. Gaming on a budget still remains largely shadowless, at least where Unreal isn’t used. Shouldn’t have to be that way.

    • UpsilonCrux says:

      I’m all about the shadows.
      My biggest gripe with Alien isolation is the inconsistent and tricky lighting and the shadows or lack of shadows created as a result. Amanda doesn’t cast a shadow, which I maybe could’ve overlooked but I can see her (my) legs! Same goes for the torch, sadly. Yet I’ve seen NPCs cast dynamic shadows a few times! Gahhh.

      Also I’m scared of the Alien.

  13. zeep says:

    First time i like what someone at rps writes. Unlike the normal presumptuous arrogant supposedly funny and quirky mess they call articles around here, this actually shows the writer has a soul. Quake movement physics are indeed awesome.

    • Premium User Badge

      Buzko says:


      Wow. Nice backhand you got there.

      In other news, technolechery is a wonderful tag.

  14. amateurviking says:

    My [game engine] brings all the [lighting effects] to the [tech demo], and they’re like: it’s better than yours, Damn right it’s better yours. I can teach you but I’d have to [rewrite your source code].