The graphics are just so… UNREAL (Engine 5.0)
Upon reaching a rabbit hole and browsing the internet, we came across what seemed to be recorded footage of a police officer raiding a warehouse. Well, we saw the pictures and dismissed them at first. However, we were surprised to learn that it’s actually a video game. The graphics look very photorealistic, and the shaky camera movement and sound make it even more convincing.
We learned that this game was developed using Unreal Engine 5.0 which provides real-time shading. This is actually not the latest version. The latest is 5.1 and 5.2 is currently under development. There is a significant gap between these releases. Foliage, for example, instead of relying on LoD (Level of Detail), it will now use real-time rendering so even when you zoom out, it won’t feel flat and lifeless.
The game here is called Unrecord and is currently under development. It is developed and published by an INDIE studio of all things called “DRAMA”. There is no release date yet but it is now listed on Steam. The company provided 2-minute gameplay footage of what the game may look like.
Due to how photorealistic it looks, some players got sceptical and accused the video of being fake. The developers responded by posting “noclip” footage which proves that it is indeed a game and not a recording.
The entire gameplay demo sounds pretty realistic and sure enough, it caught our attention. This optical illusion works because it uses elements such as shaky cameras to hide noticeable discrepancies such as partially-rendered textures. This camera is yet to be known whether it’s going to be part of regular gameplay.
As mentioned, the game uses Unreal Engine 5, a game engine developed by Epic where you could create 3D graphics for games and movies. It is a popular option because it allows the creation of unbelievably realistic details down to the smallest molecules. This also includes options for lighting, levels of detail, physics, coding, and logic. It is free to download via its website. However, you do need the Epic Games launcher.
While it is free to use, once you use it for commercial purposes and gain your first $1 million in revenues, you have to pay Epic for royalties. This is how the company manages to keep the engine afloat while remaining free for anyone to use. By the way, this is the same company that created Fortnite.
Unlike the previous versions, UE5 allows for unified lighting which significantly reduces work to create dynamic lighting effects and improve graphical fidelity. The engine uses Nanite, a geometry rendering system that adjusts the level of detail depending on what’s needed in a scene. In other words, when you zoom out, the level of detail decreases. This feature was later improved for UE 5.1 and 5.2 to make it work better for foliage. Its most notable feature is keeping your line of work simpler by merging features into one simple step, reducing the work done by animators.
It also has several new tools like Metahuman which allows modellers to create realistic human faces. It is a cloud-based application which uses presets which then creators can mix and match, even to the smallest details. This amount of rendering requires patience, storage, and high CPU power. The way it renders is way too powerful for most home computers and that’s why it’s rendered on Epic’s servers instead.
Epic Games intends to make Unreal Engine much more accessible not just for games but for other productions, including mobile games, animation, and modelling. Most high-production CGI you’ve seen uses a game engine to make effects as lifelike as possible. One example of a movie that used Unreal Engine for graphics is The Mandalorian.
As for Unrecord, we still have to wait until new footage comes in but we’re looking forward to seeing how realistic the game could get.