The future of video game graphics is finally here. And not in the AAA-exclusive from PlayStation Studios or the new Crysis, but in Fortnite. Yes, by a strange coincidence, it was the cartoon royal battle of five years ago that first managed to clearly demonstrate the power of modern gaming hardware.
On the December 4th update, Chapter 4 began in the game, and with it, Fortnite was transferred to the Unreal Engine 5.1 engine. Since Fortnite is being developed by the studio behind the engine – Epic Game – the battle royale immediately demonstrated amazing new technologies.
There are only 4 of them, but they pump the graphics to an incredible level:
Nanite – Provides highly detailed geometry. That is, now all objects on the screen – buildings, their individual bricks, boards and chips – have become much more “embossed”. You yourself have noticed regularly that games are full of visual tricks: surfaces that seem voluminous due to well-drawn textures and tessellation are actually quite flat. Nanite solves this problem without catastrophic performance degradation. This even applies to vegetation: now each tree in Fortnite consists of about 300 thousand polygons, every pebble, flower, blade of grass is fully rendered in the game.
Lumen – Responsible for realistic high-resolution ray tracing reflections. And this is not so much about mirror reflections, but about realistic filling of rooms with light with its smooth gradation and color mixing. Lumen provides real-time global illumination at 60 FPS. This greatly enhances the realism of the picture: for example, if a character stands on a large red carpet, then the red light reflected from him will fall on the hero’s clothes.
Virtual Shadow Maps – increase shadow detail. Now every object in the frame, down to the smallest, casts the correct shadow.
- Temporal Super Resolution is a new anti-aliasing technology that combines the absence of “ladders” with high performance.
Comparison of Fortnite graphics before the transition to Unreal Engine 5.1 and after
Some more screenshots of Fortnite Chapter Four
* * *
You can see all these innovations now – they are available on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series.