Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-04-21 19:26 JST)
Unreal Engine is used not only for games, but at all sorts of places that produce computer graphics. And UE5 is bringing forth a new generation with features like its virtualized geometry system called “Nanite” that renders highly detailed assets quickly and the “Lumen” illumination and reflection system. At the end of last year, a Matrix-themed tech demo was released called The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience which recreated a city in stunning detail and could be experienced on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.
Many of the assets from that demo have now been made available for free to the public as the City Sample project. In addition to Nanite and Lumen, it’s packed with all sorts of new UE5 technology and has become a virtual playground for creators to freely experiment with the engine. The source code for the project even includes an entire traffic system, surprising some users.
One example of City Sample being used by creators is the Rush Hour image collection from Petri Levälahti, a senior screenshot capture artist at EA/DICE. These images crank up the amount of traffic in the city and show it off from a variety of angles. Like blood flowing through an artery, it looks like images of a real traffic jam. The artistic screen captures can be found on Levälahti’s site here.
One creator also released a PC project where you can zip around the city as Superman. The experiment is called A Superman Style Flight Experience and was made by Tyson Butler-Boschma. Due to itch.io’s upload limits, you have to first download a zip file from the website that only contains a readme text with links to MediaFire and Google Drive, where the game’s file is stored. It sounds like it requires some pretty serious power to run, though, so if you think your computer is up to the task, give it a look.
There have also been attempts to use City Sample for an FPS and to use an iPhone to track movement in the city. The creator behind the iPhone experiment posted this video that looks like someone is walking through the virtual city with a smartphone. The slight unsteadiness of the camera adds yet another layer of realism. And in Japan, one developer added a giant monster and created a scene that looks like it’s out of a kaiju film.
Another person recreated a gadget from the manga and anime series Doraemon that multiplies physical objects and used it to spawn a bunch of chestnut buns, a fitting choice considering the inspiration.
One manga artist also demonstrated how UE5 and City Sample can be used to make backgrounds. Solanin and Goodnight Punpun creator Inio Asano praised the quality of City Sample and posted a picture to Twitter where they post processed a photo taken in the sample to use it as a background image of a manga. It looks like UE5 may even be used outside of games and movies as creators begin to bring out the potential of what it has to offer.