Epic Games has officially launched Unreal Engine 5.2. Here are the key new features and the main improvements available in the latest version of the engine.
Unreal Engine 5.2 was released on May 11, with Epic detailing all the changes in a blog post:
- Procedural Content Generation (PCG) framework — a toolset for creating huge open-world landscapes in real time;
- Substrate — a shading system that allows developers to control the look and feel of objects in video games and other real-time apps;
- New ML Deformer sample — a plugin for creating high-quality real-time characters with various deformations using machine learning technologies (the sample can be downloaded here).
We have already broken down how PCG and Substrate tools work when Epic Games first announced Unreal Engine 5.2 in March.
In the full release notes, Epic Games shared more information about other changes and improvements. Here are some takeaways:
- Improvements to Nanite and Lumen systems, two major features of Unreal Engine 5 responsible for virtualized geometry and global illumination;
- Shader compilation improvements, including a 2x speed-up in shader preprocessing;
- New Pipeline State Object (PSO) precaching mechanism aimed at reducing stuttering in DX12 games (now the engine skips drawing objects if their PSOs aren’t ready yet instead of waiting for compilation to finish).
The release notes contain dozens of other minor and major changes, but it is good to see Epic improving its PSO caching system. It was one of the reasons Unreal Engine games, especially those running on modern graphics APIs like DirectX 12, suffered from stuttering. More information about this issue, as well as shader compilation in general, can be found in our article.