Wired shows first Unreal Engine 4 screenshots

Sadly, there's no video to go along with these—but the first Unreal Engine 4 screenshots are now available for your viewing pleasure. Wired inserted them in a lengthy article about Epic, Unreal Engine 4, and technical guru Tim Sweeney yesterday.

The shots depict a fiery figure that looks straight out of The Lord of the Rings, some sort of ruined dungeon-like area, and a mountain range. They're replete with tessellation, particle effects, high-dynamic-range volumetric lighting, and all of the fancy color-grading and post-processing effects one would expect from a state-of-the-art 3D engine. It's all very technically impressive. Wired says the 153-second demo took 14 engineers three months to put together.

For some reason, though, my jaw isn't hitting the floor. Maybe that's because of the fantasy setting; if the same technological feats were put to use in a realistic environment, something tells me the end result would look more impressive. Dark, empty dungeons and fiery Balrogs can look good with much less elaborate technology.

Interestingly, though, Unreal Engine 4 will be about much more than eye candy. According to Wired, the engine will also "streamline game development, allowing studios to do in 12 months what can take two years or more today." One of the additions will be Kismet 2, a graphical scripting engine that will take the appearance of an "interactive flowchart, complete with pulldown menus that control almost every conceivable aspect of behavior for a given in-game object."

In any case, stay tuned. The first public demo of Unreal Engine 4 is scheduled for next month.

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