Epic Games have just released Unreal Engine 5.1 preview, the first release since UE5 was released back in April. So what can we expect in Unreal Engine 5.1? Well quite a bit actually, we have improvements to Nanite and Lumen, the two major new features added in Unreal Engine 5. Apple based developers can rejoice as Unreal Engine 5.1 editor also offers native support for Apple silicon, which should result in better performance, stability and battery life. My personal favourite new feature is the ODSC, or On-Demand Shader Compilation, which should cut down on some of the painful waiting for shaders to compile.
The Unreal Engine preview release was announced on the Unreal Engine forums:
5.1 Preview Summary
Unreal Engine 5.1 improves upon the features delivered with the release of UE5, creating more streamlined and easy-to-use workflows for real-time 3D content creation.
Developers will see improved performance with Lumen, Nanite, and Virtual Shadow Maps (VSM), now supporting games running at 60 fps on next generation consoles and PCs. Build expansive worlds using new functionality and improved workflows for World Partition, including support for Large World Coordinates. And enjoy significant improvements to cinematic pipelines, such as performance and usability improvements for ICVFX.
Explore the in-depth list of features and updates coming in Unreal Engine 5.1—please note, not all updates may be listed, and complete release notes will be available with the final 5.1 release.
Full and comprehensive new features are documented on the Unreal Engine development roadmap. Do be sure to check the known issues report if you run into trouble. Obviously this is a preview release and should NOT be used in a production environment. You can learn more about the UE 5.1 preview release in the video below.