Check it out: can you spot what’s weird about this surreal train station?

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Put your mind in ‘blown’ mode with a view to watching a new clip released on YouTube, which shows a station platform you’d assume was a mundane sequence filmed on a smartphone – until you realize it’s actually from a computer generated using Unreal Engine 5 (UE5).

This rendered scene of someone wondering about a nearby platform and stairs, daytime, then nighttime, looks so realistic in rendering and lighting that it’s scary – it’s not so much breathtaking as falling apart (and then some).

The creator notes that the environment, which is based on a real-world train station (according to the title of the video, Etchū-Daimon Station in Toyama, Japan), runs in Unreal Engine 5 and is lit using Lumen, which is the game engine’s overall lighting and reflections system (it has ray-tracing software that doesn’t need a hardware-accelerated graphics card, although there is also a hardware implementation for Nvidia RTX and AMD RX 6000 GPUs).

As you can imagine, there are some serious “oohs” and “ahhs” in the comments section, with plenty of praise for UE5.


Analysis: A truly breathtaking insight into the power of UE5

Not to talk too much about it, it’s really breathtaking – we had to watch the video a few times to really appreciate it, the clip looks so real, especially the daylight parts (the realism is without doubt helped by the effect of the camera movement, which gives the impression that someone is waving a phone). As the maker clarifies in the comments, this is a rendering of a scene, rather than running in real time of course (as it would be if you were moving through an in-game environment) .

However, it works quite well in real time – on a relatively modest computer, a rig built around a Ryzen 7 3700X and an Nvidia RTX 2080 – hitting 30 frames per second (fps) to 50 fps at 1440p resolution with the daytime scene, but the image is less sharp and overall poorer quality. That said, the creator also observes that “the scene is not optimized at all and I’m sure you could get a lot better, I didn’t care much about performance.”

After looking at this, it’s obviously pretty easy to get excited about the kind of games we’re going to experience in the not-too-distant future, when a full development team and all their resources are harnessing this kind of graphical power.

As for what the future holds in this regard, there are plenty of UE5-based games out there, as well as top-tier offerings. STALKER 2 is an Unreal Engine 5 effort, and the next version of Witcher will be built using UE5, and there’s also a Tomb Raider release in the pipeline for the engine, as well as Redfall (from Arkane). Oh, and as we recently reported, maybe Gears 6 on top of this bundle…


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