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Epic Games Offers Unreal Engine 5 Early Access For Free Today

You’ll be able to freely test Unreal Engine 5 in its early access form today. The engine will also have a test project, Valley of The Ancient, available as a separate 100 GB download.

During Epic’s 15-minute live stream, the company detailed its latest updates coming in the form of Unreal Engine 5. Just like the trend that began with version 4, you’ll be able to try the latest update for free, but in an early access build. Originally, Unreal Engine 5 was set to launch in 2021, but in a year of COVID-19 related delays, it’s no surprise the engine is now scheduled to launch in full sometime in 2022.

The upgrade to Unreal’s next iteration is live now, sporting several improvements over its seven-year-old predecessor. Unreal’s Editor Workflow functionality has seen a huge makeover, focused on improving the editor’s functionality and the speed at which you’re able to hop between menus and panels. The engine also adds its Nanite and Lumen tech, improving art quality and lighting. You can check out footage of both in action by watching Epic’s livestream demonstration.

Valley of the Ancient is also available for free today as an extra download, as long as you have the 100 GB free. The sample project requires a rig sporting, at minimum, a GTX 1080, 8 GB of VRAM, and 32 GB of system RAM.

Unreal’s official site notes that those specs don’t guarantee you 30 FPS, though, but the demo does run on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles well. Epic also notes, “Even if you’re not able to run the full demo, just looking at the assets and setup will help you understand how to leverage the capabilities of each of the Early Access features.”

As Epic continues to make headlines for its deals and free tools, the company also juggles its ongoing legal battle with Apple. It’s led to a few bizarre moments in court, and accusations from Apple that Microsoft is really behind the whole antitrust debacle.

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