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How to Get Early Access to Unreal Engine 5, Is it For Free?

(Source: YouTube)

Epic Games has developed The Unreal Engine, which is basically a game engine. It was first shown to the world in the year 1998  as a First Point-of-View shooter game named Unreal. Originally it was made with PC users in mind, for first-person shooting genres. Now, it has evolved into a lot of genres of 3D games and has been adopted by industries except the Gaming industry like Film and TV Industry. The Unreal Engine is C++ and supports a wide range of desktop, mobile, console and VR platforms. Its last release was back in 2014, which was Unreal Engine 4. Recently, Epic Games announced that Unreal Engine 5 will be fully released by the first half of 2022. UE4 is still one of the best game development platforms, ruling over PS4 and Xbox One with games like Mortal Kombat 11, and more.

Unreal Engine is a collection of game development tools. You can make anything from AAA consoles to mere 2D games through UE. In fact, games like ARK: Survival Evolved, Tekken 7 and Kingdom Hearts III were built with the help of this engine. It also adds to its credibility by being very simple for beginners. The Blueprints Visual Scripting system helps you in creating entire games without having to code at all. This, with a very easy-to-use interface, it is very easy to set up a prototype.

(Credits: Epic Games)

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Is Unreal Engine 5 for Free?

Unreal Engine 4 which was released in 2014, has been downloaded for free since 2015. A private repository, GitHub, has its source code. Epic allows all its products to be used on the basis of the royalty models. It asks the developers for about five per cent of the money they get through sales. Plus, if the games are published through Epic Games, this fee is waived. On the 13th of May, 2020 Epic announced that the developers won’t have to pay these royalty fees until their revenue has reached 1 million USD. This was brought into effect retroactively from January of the same year. On the same day, Unreal Engine 5 was announced.

Work on Unreal Engine 5 begun 2 years before in 2018. Its early access was released on 26th May 2021 and it is for free. The full launch is expected to be in early 2022.

More on Unreal Engine 5 Early Access:

Epic Games came forward with the announcement about Unreal Engine 5 about 4 days ago, on 26th May 2021, being available for early access for developers. Along with that, a fifteen-minute demo video was also released. This demo video is called the Valley of the Ancient, and it mentioned all the important new tools and different sorts of new features that will be available in the early access. Epic claims that UE5 is going to be the next step for game developers, and will allow them to develop real-time three-dimensional content, and 3D experiences with more freedom, and flexibility.

In the blog itself, they have an option to get early access for UE5 with advice for beginners. If one is new to Unreal Engine, they should start with Unreal Engine 4.26 instead.

Unreal Engine (Credits: Epic Games)

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In order to get early access to the game, you have to first download the Epic Games Launcher. This can be downloaded on the official website for Unreal Engine. You can click here to go straight to the downloading page. After that, you can go to this page and click on “Get UE5 Early Access.” And you’re done!

Watch the Early Access Trailer below:

Unreal Engine 5: New Features

All the new features and tools that a developer will have access to are:

Nanite: Nanite is a virtualised “micro polygon” system. With the help of Nanite, you can add to your games a huge and unmatched quantity of geometric detailing. This helps in reducing the tediousness and the huge amount of time it previously took while adding details to maps or while authoring the level of details in your game.

Lumen: You can through the Lumen, now create lively yet believable scenes in your game. Thanks to Lumen, you don’t have to author lightmap UVs, and you can start to just create and edit lights inside the editor. The exact editing will also stay the same throughout the time it is played on the console.

Lumen (Via: Epic Games, Unreal Engine Website)

They have also made creating Open Worlds in the game faster and easier. They added a new World Partition. Thanks to the World Partition system, you don’t have to divide the world into a grid for it does that for you. There’s also a One File Per Actor set-up, which is supposed to make collaboration much less fussy. And, at last, there’s Data Layers which allows you to create different forms of one world.

And then comes MetaHumans and MetaSounds. The former allowing you to create humans that look almost real, and the latter being a new and refreshing way of creating audio for your games. Animation is no more going to eat up all your time, and nor is going to be painful. The UE5 has an expanded animation toolset. There’s the new Pose Browser, Motion Warping, Full-Body IK solver and Control Rig.

Animation Controls (Source: Epic Games)

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