Just over a month after the preview release Epic Games have released Unreal Engine 5.1. For a dot release, there are a ton of new features including several improvements to Lumen, Nanite and World Partition support. Some rather fundamental features were added too, such as Large World Coordinates, improved version control integration and On Demand Shader compilation.
Several of the features developed for the Unreal Engine 5 Matrix demo have been incorporated into this release including the dynamic audio system and new AI tools. One heavily awaited feature from the 5.1 release “sort of” made it in. Support for Apple’s native silicon was also added in experimental format, unfortunately requiring you to build the engine from source.
Improvements to Lumens & Nanite include:
We’ve laid the groundwork for the Lumen dynamic global illumination and reflections system, the Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry system, and Virtual Shadow Maps (VSM) to support games and experiences running at 60 fps on next-gen consoles and capable PCs, enabling fast-paced competitive games and detailed simulations to run without latency.
Meanwhile, Nanite has also been updated with a Programmable Rasterizer to allow for material-driven animations and deformations via World Position Offset, as well as opacity masks. This exciting development paves the way for artists to use Nanite to program specific objects’ behavior, for example Nanite-based foliage with leaves blowing in the wind.
Meanwhile the World Building tools gained:
In this release, we’ve continued to enhance tools for building massive open worlds with additional functionality and improved workflows.
First up, World Partition now supports Large World Coordinates, enabling you to create massive open worlds without loss of precision.
Meanwhile, you can enjoy accelerated source control workflows with World Partition, thanks to an improved user experience around managing, filtering, searching, and viewing files and changelists. We’ve also made it easier to find content in the World from within your changelists, and vice versa.
In addition, new HLOD (Hierarchical Level of Detail) support for water rendering and streaming means you can create large water bodies with better performance and a smaller memory footprint.
And this only scratches the surface of what is new in the UE 5.1 release, be sure to check the complete release notes available below for a full list of new features and changes.
Unreal Engine 5.1 is available for download in the Epic Game Launcher. You can learn more about the UE5.1 release in the video below.