During last week’s Game Developers Conference members of Gears of War developer The Coalition debuted an “Alpha Point” technical demo showing off the environments and effects possible in Unreal Engine 5. More importantly, the team released a character rendering test, proving that the future of rendering big, burly, bearded white guys in games is safe and sound.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting the accomplishments of the team in creating the Alpha Point demo. It’s downright amazing how realistic alien rock formations become even more realistic through the use of the advances made in Unreal Engine 5. The scene in the video below, built using an early access version of the new game engine running on an Xbox Series X, is nothing short of astonishing, with its real-time lighting and reflections, all while pushing more than a hundred million triangles.
I’m just more impressed with the character rendering test, in which a mildly unkempt white man with wrinkles under his eyes and a scraggly beard rotates about the screen. We zoom into his pores, we zoom out of those pores, which remain visible even as the camera pulls away. If you look very closely you can almost see where the individual beard and eyebrow hairs sprout from his skin.
All of that slightly greasy older white guy detail, beautifully rendered with 31,000 facial triangles. My face doesn’t have nearly that many triangles, and I am a real-world grizzled old white man. The Coalition is so sure of this technology it didn’t even resort to my patented trick of being bald to avoid having to render extra hair.
After watching this gorgeous demo, any worries I had about the future of older white men with beards in video games have been completely put to rest. I eagerly look forward to the next generation of completely forgettable video game white guys.