Unreal Engine 5 available in early access with new tech demo

Developers can fully modify the new 'Valley of the Ancient' demo

Epic Games has announced that Unreal Engine 5 is now available in early access, complete with a new tech demo.

The early access version can be downloaded by anyone via the Epic Games Store Launcher.

While Epic have emphasised that this version of Unreal Engine 5 is “not production-ready”, a blog post from the Unreal Engine website says “this Early Access build is intended for game developers who like to live on the bleeding edge to start testing features and prototyping their next games”.

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To get developers started, a new video also showcases the engine with a brand new demo following on from last year’s breathtaking ‘Lumen in the Land of Nanite’ demo which introduced Unreal Engine 5.

Instead of just PS5, the new ‘Valley of the Ancient’ demo is shown running on both Xbox Series X and PS5 hardware.

The tech demo is not only playable for developers who download Unreal Engine 5 but the project source code will also be made available so it can be fully modified and experimented with.

Two key features that developers can get started with testing include Nanite, which allows developers the ability to import film-quality source art into their work without loss of real-time frame rate or fidelity; and Lumen, a dynamic global illumination tool.

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As Unreal Engine 5 is not production-ready yet, this however means studios will not be making games until the full engine ships in early 2022. It is expected that the first game to use Unreal Engine 5 will be Epic Games’ very own Fortnite.

Elsewhere, Valve is reportedly building a Switch-like portable PC called the SteamPal.

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