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A whole Xbox 360 character fits in the eyelashes of an Unreal Engine 5 character

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Gears 5 developer The Coalition has put together a new Unreal Engine 5 tech demo optimized for the Xbox Series X. The brief “Alpha Point” video was shown during a GDC talk and hasn’t been posted publicly yet, but there’s a screenshot above. It once again goes for the crumbling ruins theme. I miss the sci-fi tech demos of the 2010s, but UE5 does render some nice rocks.

The demo is very short: ruins, floating diamond thing, that’s it. I’ll embed it in this article whenever it’s uploaded somewhere or, if no one gets around to that, I’ll rip it from the GDC talk, but for now I’m trying to avoid compressing an already-compressed stream just to show you a few seconds of rendering. As you can see in the still I grabbed below, it doesn’t tell us much we didn’t already know, but it does contain nice rocks.

During the GDC talk where the demo debuted, Coalition technical director Kate Rayner said that Unreal Engine 5 game development is still “really early,” but that this demo was a good opportunity for the Microsoft-owned studio to “kick the tires” and collaborate with Epic on Xbox optimization.

Note: This image was captured from streaming web video, and so is compressed. (Image credit: The Coalition)

Alpha Point was originally made with Unreal Engine 4—where it chugged in the editor—and was then moved to UE5 and completed. According to Coalition technical art director Colin Penty, most assets in the demo are made up of 300,000 to 500,000 triangles, 15 times the number of triangles in the average asset from Gears 5, a game that came out in 2019. The studio also worked with million-triangle assets, Penty said, but parts of the development process become “too painful” with assets that big. Penty also noted some of the limitations of the Nanite geometry tech utilized for the ultra-complex assets. It doesn’t currently do translucency, for example, so most of the foliage in the demo doesn’t use it.

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