Epic Games kicked off the presentation with an introduction to Unreal Engine 5.2, showcasing a real-time demonstration called "Electric Dreams" in which a Rivian R1T goes off-roading in a forest. You can check out the video down below, along with some more information courtesy of the Unreal Engine blog.
"The R1T’s distinct exterior comes to life in the demo thanks to the new Substrate shading system, which gives artists the freedom to compose and layer different shading models to achieve levels of fidelity and quality not possible before in real time. Substrate is shipping in 5.2 as Experimental."
"The state-of-the-art R1T showcases the latest technology and vehicle physics, with the truck’s digi-double exhibiting precise tire deformation as it bounds over rocks and roots, and true-to-life independent air suspension that softens as it splashes through mud and puddles with realistic fluid simulation and water rendering."
"In addition, the large open world environment is built using procedural tools created by artists that build on top of a small, hand-placed environment where the adventure begins. Shipping as Experimental in 5.2, new in-editor and run-time Procedural Content Generation (PCG) tools enable artists to define rules and parameters to quickly populate expansive, highly detailed spaces that are art-directable in manner and work seamlessly with hand-placed content."
Perhaps even more impressive than the Unreal Engine 5.2 trailer was Epic's demonstration of the "Metahuman Animator", which showed Hellblade actor Melina Juergens being recorded on an iPhone and then turned into a highly realistic human model within just a few minutes. Again, you can watch and find out more about this below:
"MetaHuman Animator will enable you to use your iPhone or stereo helmet-mounted camera (HMC) to reproduce any facial performance as high-fidelity animation on MetaHuman characters. With it, you’ll be able to capture the individuality, realism, and fidelity of your actor’s performance, and transfer every detail and nuance onto any MetaHuman to bring them to life in Unreal Engine."
"Planned to release in the next few months, MetaHuman Animator will produce the quality of facial animation required by AAA game developers and Hollywood filmmakers, while at the same time being accessible to indie studios and even hobbyists. With the iPhone you may already have in your pocket and a standard tripod, you can create believable animation for your MetaHumans that will build emotional connections with your audiences—even if you wouldn’t consider yourself an animator."
Incredible stuff, then, and there's a lot more where that came from - the full State of Unreal 2023 event is highly worth a watch if you're interested, which also included details on a massive new Unreal Editor feature for Fortnite.