Unreal Engine 5.2: Procedural worlds have never been simpler and so pretty

Epic Games has given a preview of upcoming updates for its Unreal Engine. One feature in particular stood out at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) presentation, taking place this week in San Francisco: a procedural content generation (PCG) framework, which translates tools used to generate procedurally generated content.

In Unreal Engine 5.2, developers can specify framework conditions for how a game world should look, after which the game engine takes over: it creates a jungle with pre-selected trees and plants, and sets paths and rock formations if desired.

Individual elements can be moved manually afterwards, whereupon the entire environment is changed accordingly. The plant density can also be adjusted if desired – the Unreal Engine displays all changes in real time. All previous features of Unreal Engine 5 are included.

The whole thing works in conjunction with the so-called megascans from the acquired company Quixel – these are particularly realistic-looking models and textures of all kinds of objects and surfaces that have been scanned with cameras. In this way, 3D levels can be generated in no time at all and adapted to your own needs with just a few clicks.

In a tech demo, Epic Games shows a 3D environment that was first created by hand and later largely generated procedurally. Both approaches can be combined at will.

The Unreal Engine 5.2 with the PCG framework is currently available as a preview. Those interested can try the version; However, Epic Games recommends not creating productive work with it.


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