Unreal Engine 5.4 delivers boosted performance and increased image quality

Unreal Engine 5.4 will make games look better and run faster on PC and consoles

Unreal Engine 5.4 is now available to all game developers, and it has delivered some major changes to the popular game engine. For starters, the new engine update features a variety of performance-boosting changes, and new features that should boost the image quality of future games.

For starters, Unreal Engine 5’s Nanite feature has gained a new Tessellation feature that enables more fine details. Additionally, it also features a new software variable rate shading (VRS) solution that delivers “substantial performance gains. These changes are great for game developers, as boosted image quality and faster performance have both been promised.

(Video from Epic Games)

Unreal Engine 5.4 performance improvements

Temporal Super Resolution is a major feature for Unreal Engine 5. Think of it as Epic Games’ version of DLSS, FSR, or XeSS. With Unreal Engine 5.4, Temporal Super Resolution has received both stability and performance enhancements. Again, this delivers heightened image quality and boosted system performance.

With UE 5.4, Temporal Super Resolution has also received a new “history resurrection heuristics” feature that reduces ghosting. This increased image clarity, and should make Unreal Engine’s TSR solution highly competitive with other super resolution technologies. With TSR being hardware agnostic, this super resolution tech is great news for gamers on both PC and consoles.

Nanite (UE5’s virtualized micropolygon geometry system) continues to receive enhancements, starting with an Experimental new Tessellation feature that enables fine details such as cracks and bumps to be added at render time, without altering the original mesh.

Moreover, the addition of software variable rate shading (VRS) via Nanite compute materials brings substantial performance gains. There’s also support for spline mesh workflows – great for creating roads on landscapes, for example. In addition, a new option to disable UV interpolation enables vertex animated textures to be used for World Position Offset animation; effectively, this means that the AnimToTexture plugin now works with Nanite geometry.

Temporal Super Resolution
In this release, Temporal Super Resolution (TSR) has received stability and performance enhancements to ensure a predictable output regardless of the target platform; this includes reduced ghosting thanks to new history resurrection heuristics and the ability to flag materials that use pixel animation.

In addition, we’ve added new visualization modes that make it easier to fine-tune and debug TSR’s behavior, together with a number of new options in the Scalability settings to control it with respect to target performance.

Rendering performance
With many developers targeting 60 Hz experiences, we’ve invested significant effort into improving rendering performance in UE 5.4; this includes refactoring the systems to enable a greater degree of parallelization, as well as adding GPU instance culling to hardware ray tracing, which also now benefits from additional primitive types and an optimized Path Tracer. Further optimizations have been made to shader compilation, resulting in a notable improvement in project cook times.

The general rendering performance of Unreal Engine 5 has also been improved. The engine’s hardware accelerated ray tracing implementation has been optimised, and many aspects of the engine has been parallelized. More optimisations have been made to improve shader compilation times.

Gamers have already had an early look at Unreal Engine 5.4 with Marvel 1943. Simply put, this game looks incredible. UE 5.4’s improvements have clearly enabled a major leap in graphical fidelity, especially when compared to Unreal Engine 5.0.

Unreal Engine 5 has been transformed since launch. The engine’s core features, Nanite and Lumen, have had received major performance improvements. Major developer-focused changes are also increasing developer productivity with UE5. Overall, the engine is a much more powerful tool than it was at launch. Epic Games have done a great job improving their engine for both gamers and developers. Even so, it will take a while before gamers see the fruits of these efforts. After all, not many game developers will shift to UE 5.4 late in their game’s development cycle.

You can join the discussion on Unreal Engine 5.4 on the OC3D Forums.

Mark Campbell

Mark Campbell

A Northern Irish father, husband, and techie that works to turn tea and coffee into articles when he isn’t painting his extensive minis collection or using things to make other things.

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