by Will Park

Epic Games’ next-generation development platform, Unreal Engine 4 (UE4), provides a sneak peek at what’s possible in the next generation of games, which will be powered by NVIDIA GeForce GPUs.

First up on display was the Samaritan demo, which premiered last year and tantalized gamers with the prospect of cinematic realism. Then, earlier this month at the E3 Expo, Epic showed off their Elemental demo, and it left gamers  drooling with anticipation.

Both demos were built on UE4, and NVIDIA is working closely with game studio to ensure that their work built on this platform delivers the most immersive gaming experience possible.

A screenshot from the Elemental demo, showing
real-time global illumination

The Elemental demo showcases a lighting technique called real-time global illumination – considered the holy grail of computer graphics. Global illumination renders a game world by simulating the behavior of light at the photon level as it bounces from surface to surface. This technique dazzles, but has previously been too pricey to use outside of select computer-generated scenes in films.

Thanks to the immense processing power of NVIDIA’s Kepler architecture-based graphics cards, UE4 achieves real-time global illumination using a single NVIDIA GTX 680, our flagship GPU. Plus, the new engine boosts developers’ productivity by letting them change game settings on the fly, without having to endure long waits. UE4 also natively supports NVIDIA PhysX and 3D Vision technologies, giving developers even more ammunition to make games more immersive.

Head over to for a behind-the-scenes video that shows Elemental developers harnessing the power of UE4.

You’ll also find an exclusive interview with Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, describing the technological advances and implications of UE4, as well a bevy of in-game screenshots.