Lumen in the Land of Nanite is a real-time PS5 Unreal Engine 5 demo that Epic have unveiled to announce their new engine today.
You can watch the astonishing 9 minute demo below, which is a showcase for what games can achieve with Unreal Engine 5, and which Epic has confirmed to be running live on a PS5 in real-time.
This demo is designed to highlight two major new technologies with Unreal Engine 5, Nanite and Lumen (hence the demo's title.) Nanite technology is "virtualized micropolygon geometry [that] frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see", according to Epic. The press release goes on to explain that "film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine—anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works." That answers why the environment's look so photorealistic in the demo.
Lumen is a technology that focuses all around in-game lighting. As Epic explains that "artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly." For developers, this will mean that "an artist can move a light inside the Unreal Editor and lighting looks the same as when the game is run on console."
While this is just a tech demo, it's a seriously exciting look at what next-gen games could like when the PS5 and Xbox Series X launch this holiday.
That's not the only announcement that came from Epic today. They also revealed Fortnite's PS5 and Xbox Series X launch date, as well as the full release of Epic Online Services, which will allow developers to add crossplay to their games.