Introducing Unreal Engine 5.2, an eagerly awaited release that brings forth significant enhancements to the already groundbreaking toolset of UE5.
This version reaffirms Unreal Engine's commitment to becoming the foremost open and cutting-edge real-time 3D creation tool worldwide. In addition to refining existing features and improving stability, Unreal Engine 5.2 pushes the boundaries of creativity by introducing groundbreaking new functionality. One notable addition in Unreal Engine 5.2 is the Procedural Content Generation framework (PCG), which provides users with an early glimpse into its powerful capabilities. Unlike previous versions that relied on external packages, the PCG framework can now be directly accessed within Unreal Engine. Comprising both in-editor tools and a runtime component, this framework offers a seamless and integrated experience.
Through the PCG tools, creators can effortlessly define rules and parameters to populate expansive scenes with a wide array of Unreal Engine assets. This empowers users to rapidly and efficiently create vast worlds without compromising on quality. Furthermore, the runtime component allows the PCG system to operate within a game or any real-time application, enabling dynamic responses to gameplay or geometry changes. The PCG tools are not limited to open-world environments but can also be utilized for linear content projects that demand a substantial number of assets, such as large architectural endeavors or film scenes.
It is important to note that the Procedural Content Generation framework is currently an experimental feature. However, it will undergo further development in upcoming releases, ensuring its continued evolution and refinement.
What's new in Unreal Engine 5.2?
Unreal Engine 5.2 further expands UE5's groundbreaking toolset with some innovative new functionality—including a Procedural Content Generation framework and Substrate material authoring—alongside feature refinements and stability improvements.
This release also introduces Substrate, a new way of authoring materials that gives you more control over the look and feel of objects used in real-time applications, such as games, and for linear content creation. When enabled, it replaces the fixed suite of shading models with a more expressive and modular multi-lobe framework that provides a greater range of surface appearances and a wider parameter space from which to work. It is especially powerful for describing layered looks, for example "liquid on metal" or "dust on clear coat."
To test out Substrate, you can enable it in the project settings. As an Experimental feature, we do not recommend using it for production work; we welcome feedback to continue to refine its functionality.
Enhanced virtual production toolset
With this release, the virtual production toolset continues to receive new features and enhancements that give filmmakers more creative power. Dovetailing with the desktop ICVFX Editor, a new iOS app for ICVFX stage operations (coming soon for iPad via the Apple App Store) will offer an intuitive touch-based interface for stage operations such as color grading, light card placement, and nDisplay management tasks from anywhere within the LED volume. This puts creative control directly in the filmmakers' hands to achieve the desired look where filming is actually taking place, without having to call back to the Unreal Engine operators.
Meanwhile, enhancements to Unreal Engine's VCam system offer filmmakers greater scope for creative decision-making during pre-production. These include the new ability to operate multiple simultaneous Virtual Cameras off a single editor instance, as well as to create more sophisticated and layered camera moves.
Finally, extended nDisplay support for SMPTE 2110 builds on the initial groundwork laid in Unreal Engine 5.1 toward the next generation of ICVFX hardware deployment. This Experimental feature is suitable for testing in Unreal Engine 5.2 as hardware becomes available, with production viability targeted for Unreal Engine 5.3.
Apple Silicon support
Native support for Apple Silicon has been added to the Unreal Editor. This brings a better user experience, improved performance, and greater stability. The Universal Binary of Unreal Engine that natively supports both Apple Silicon and Intel CPUs is now available to download from the Epic Games launcher.
New ML Deformer sample
Explore how Unreal Engine machine learning technology can be used to create a high-fidelity real-time character for PC and consoles with deformations driven by full muscle, flesh, and cloth simulation with this new ML Deformer sample. The download includes an interactive demo sequence that shows muscles bulging and sliding under the skin, and folds forming on clothing. You can also compare the results with ML Deformer on and off, and animate the model with the included Control Rig asset.
The package includes source assets for you to repurpose and modify for use in your projects. Get the sample here.
And there's more…
These are just some of the new features and enhancements in Unreal Engine 5.2. Check out the release notes to see the full feature list.