The latest Fortnite update brings a huge graphical leap

  • Fortnite’s Chapter 4 update brings a host of new features to the battle royale shooter, including next-gen graphics.
  • Epic has renewed the game’s visuals using the latest version of its in-house engine, Unreal Engine 5.1.
  • Fortnite will be the first console game to feature the latest Unreal Engine, which includes features like Nanites, Lumen, Virtual Shadow Maps and Temporal Super Resolution.

The latest update for Epic’s king of battle royale shooters brings a major graphical retouch and a host of new features, including new characters the Doom Slayer and Geralt of Rivia.

Yes, you can now play as the Witcher in Fortnite. You can now mow down the likes of Goku and John Cena with Geralt of Rivia wielding an AK47. Yes, we are in an age where media folds upon itself in a never-ending content vortex hurtling towards the amalgamation of all art and all entertainment into the Martin Scorsese sludge.

But for now, we will focus on the pretty pictures, and we have to admit that Fortnite’s renewed graphics are damn impressive.

The new look is thanks to Epic’s proprietary Unreal Engine 5.1 which adds next-gen touches such as Nanites, Lumen, Virtual Shadow Maps and Temporal Super Resolution, according to an official blog post from the Fortnite Team.

What are these strange words, you ask? We’ll explain:

A “nanite” is Unreal’s latest architectural geometry technology, which can render buildings and natural landscapes from “millions of polygons in real-time.”

“Individual trees have around 300 000 polygons, and each stone, flower, and blade of grass is modelled,” says Epic.

Lumen reflections provide high-quality ray-traced reflections on glossy materials. This feature makes the water look particularly shiny and inviting.

It also provides real-time global illumination at 60FPS, which enables bounce lighting in interior spaces, and environment-specific light emissions (like red light reflecting unto your character from a red rug on the floor).

Virtual Shadow Maps allow for each individual brick, leaf and every other modelled item to cast a shadow. Self-shadowing from characters has also been improved, meaning that hats and other small details will also cast shadows now.

Temporal Super Resolution (TSR) is Unreal’s upgraded temporal anti-aliasing for Fortnite, managing pristine visuals at a higher framerate, not sacrificing performance for visuals since competitive play is so important for the game.

Fortnite hasn’t specifically been known for its graphical heft, but some of the screenshot examples released by Epic showcasing the new engine are serious business.

The Unreal Engine 5.1 upgrade has brought Fortnite into the latest generation and apparently will be the first game to receive this engine’s graphics on consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

And this is for a good reason. Epic is using Fortnite and its enormous reach and user base, over 250 million monthly players, as an advertisement for its latest engine.

Fortnite’s chapter 4 has been entirely made possible by the engine and Epic is using the occasion as a showcase. The company says that over half of all announced next-gen games are being created using the Unreal Engine, including the likes of Senua’s Saga: Hellbade II, STALKER 2 and the upcoming Witcher games.

The engine’s reach has grown even beyond gaming, according to Venturebeat, and has been used on over 425 films and TV productions. Over 300 virtual production stages worldwide are integrating the engine’s technology.

In 2022, the engine has over 160 animation productions under its belt too.

The engine’s development also allows for iteration and customisation, and it will only be time and imagination between what developers will be able to do with the engine’s full power.

To check out more of the latest features coming to Fortnite, check out the video below:

[Image – @Videotech_ on Twitter]


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