Unreal Engine 5.2 Released by Epic Games: Improved Freeze Protection, New Lighting and Geometry Features, and More
Epic Games has announced the public release of Unreal Engine 5.2, the latest version of the popular game engine, which is the choice of “most AAAA game developers.” The company has unveiled an updated freeze protection system, new Lumen lighting features, Nanite geometry enhancements, and a plethora of other useful innovations.
In the previous release, UE 5.1 introduced an experimental Precomputed Shader Object (PSO) caching system to reduce game freezes on DirectX12. In UE 5.2, its performance and stability have been improved, and the system now supports object rendering skipping if the corresponding PSOs are not ready. Epic has also reduced the number of caches required for compilation in Unreal Engine 5.2, thanks to an improved logic system that skips caches that won’t be used. Additionally, the new engine allows for the integration of the old manual caching system with automation.
The Nanite geometry virtualization system has also undergone some improvements. Custom depth and stencil support, lighting channels, and global clip plane support have been added. Variable precision normals are now available for creating high-quality reflections, such as on cars, and the Nanite Streamer, which extracts geometric data from the disk, has received performance and stability enhancements.
This new release of Unreal Engine 5.2 not only aims to provide developers with powerful tools to create stunning visuals but also focuses on improving the overall gaming experience. With increased performance and stability, as well as enhanced lighting and geometry features, Unreal Engine 5.2 is sure to be a game-changer for AAAA game developers worldwide.
Lumen, another important feature of UE5, now boasts improved global illumination and occlusions for fine geometry (such as ears) on characters. High-quality translucent reflections in Unreal Engine 5.2 support material roughness (previously limited to only mirroring), and software ray tracing now defaults to using asynchronous computations for consoles. Additionally, hardware ray tracing now supports two-sided foliage and better approximates secondary bounces for reflections.
Epic has also added support for asynchronous computations for built-in ray tracing passes, and ray-traced shadows for Rect Lights and light sources with source size have become more accurate in the new engine version. Rendering of skin surfaces for humanoid characters has been improved. Furthermore, Unreal Engine 5.2 expands the Variable Rate Shading (VRS) capabilities from extended reality devices to desktop computers and adds Contrast Adaptive Shading (CAS) for analyzing the previous frame and better understanding which areas should be displayed with reduced shading rates.
Game developers will likely appreciate other significant innovations, such as the Procedural Content Generation Framework, which is useful for quickly populating large areas or even worlds after defining rules and parameters. The experimental Substrate technology is another noteworthy addition, replacing the standard shading model set with new ones. This new feature supports a broader range of appearance surfaces and allows the creation of a modular structure to ensure the most appealing and multi-layered look.
A complete list of changes in the new version of Epic Games’ proprietary engine can be found on the official Unreal Engine website. With all these enhancements and additions, Unreal Engine 5.2 is set to empower game developers to create even more immersive and visually stunning experiences for players around the world.
- I'm Vasyl Kolomiiets, a seasoned tech journalist regularly contributing to global publications. Having a profound background in information technologies, I seamlessly blended my technical expertise with my passion for writing, venturing into technology journalism. I've covered a wide range of topics including cutting-edge developments and their impacts on society, contributing to leading tech platforms.
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