Epic Games today announced the public release of Unreal Engine 5.2, the next version of the popular engine that “Chosen by most AAAA game developers“. The company announces an updated anti-freeze system, new Lumen lighting capabilities and Nanite geometry, among many other useful innovations.
The previous version of UE 5.1 introduced an experimental PSO (Threading State Object) pre-cache system to reduce the number of freezes in DirectX12 games. In UE 5.2, performance and stability have been improved and the system now supports skipping rendering objects when the corresponding PSOs are not ready yet. Epic has also reduced the number of compilation caches in Unreal Engine 5.2 thanks to improved logic – the system now skips the cache that is not in use. At the same time, it became possible to combine the old manual caching system with automation.
The Nanite geometry virtualization system has also seen some improvements. There is now support for custom depths and stencils, lighting channels, and a global slice plane. Variable-precision standards are now available to create high-quality reflections on cars, for example, and Nanite Streamer, which extracts geometric data from disk, has received performance and stability improvements.
Lumens, another key feature of UE5, has improved global lighting and occlusion for subtle geometry (e.g. ears) on characters. High quality translucency reflections gained support for material roughness in Unreal Engine 5.2 (they were limited to specular only), and software ray tracing now uses asynchronous computations by default for consoles. Additionally, hardware ray tracing now supports two-sided foliage and can better approximate secondary bounces for reflections.
Epic has also added support for asynchronous calculations for built-in raytracing passes, and raytraced shadows for rect lights and source-size lights are more accurate in the new version of the engine. Improved surface rendering for humanoid character skin types. In addition, Unreal Engine 5.2 extends Variable Rate Shading (VRS) from augmented reality devices to the desktop and adds Contrast Adaptive Shading (CAS) to analyze the previous frame and better understand which areas have a reduced shading rate should be rendered.
Game developers will probably also appreciate other great innovations, such as the Procedural Content Generation Framework, which will be useful to quickly populate large areas or even worlds after rules and parameters have been defined. As well as the experimental technology Substrate – a completely new tool that replaces the standard set of shading models with new ones. The new feature supports a wider range of appearance finishes and allows the creation of a modular structure to achieve the most attractive and layered appearance possible.
For the full list of changes in the new version of Epic Games’ proprietary engine, see book page official site of Unreal Engine.