Matrix The Awakening is the closest experience to photorealism ever made with a game engine

The face of Keanu Reeves that we see at the start of the new tech demo Matrix Awakens (The Awakening in the Italian version)presented for the first time at The Game Awards 2021, probably the closest to photorealism with an experience calculated in real time by a game engine, in this case Unreal Engine 5. Matrix The Awakening, actually a tech demo curated by epic games to promote its latest graphics engine, that all owners of playstation5 and of Xbox series X or S can download right away.

Matrix The Awakening sometimes photorealistic

Epic did not just show off the technologies inherent in Unreal Engine 5, but wanted to prepare a complete game world, with game sequences and different types of interaction in the demo which can be completed in about 10 minutes and which you can also see summarized in a video that we report on this page. Not only that, even the dialogues are interesting, especially for fans of Matrix imagery.

matrix awakening

“They said your cryptic language was fine as long as there was adrenaline too” He says Trinity For Neo. And he: “Do you know anything about that?”and Trinity: “Everything should be a little… surreal”that’s to say “unreal”In English.

The facial expressions of matrix awakening they are so awesome because they use technology Metahuman internal to Unreal Engine 5. Keanu Reeves e Carrie Anne Moss they have been digitally scanned and their faces have been custom reconstructed, while MetaHuman handles the animations automatically.

He takes over from the two protagonists I, a player-controllable character fully recreated with internal MetaHuman tools. The three are then involved in a shootout on the highway reminiscent of the action sequences of Matrix Reloaded. City street fidelity on a level never seen before, rendered on PS5 and Xbox Series X at near Blu-ray movie quality.

We see a dynamically managed open world where everything is calculated in real time using the UE 5 physics engine, defined Chaos. It’s obvious if you repeat the demo again and again: even if the interaction is still very similar, the consequences on a physical level change from time to time.

After the end of the narrative part, we have a kind of post-demo where the player can explore the huge city and take possession of the vehicles. There is also the option to switch to a camera debugging, to better visualize the full extent of the world offered by Epic. This part highlights the potential of Nanitea system that increases visual detail without taxing computer resources and without annoying pop-in effects (polygonal objects that appear unexpectedly).

In previous UE 5 demos, Lumen in the Land of the Nanites and Valley of the AncientsNanite did an equally spectacular job, but in static contexts, while Matrix The Awakening looks like a real video game, with cars, NPCs, dynamically calculated and changeable sun position in debug menus, and much more. Moreover.

Nanite then supported by lumensUE 5’s real-time global lighting management system. Matrix The Awakening sees Lumen taken to the next level, with added performance and fidelity in theindirect and diffuse lighting thanks to the possibility of exploiting laser trace implemented in hardware. These systems are exceptionally heavy in terms of required compute resources, which means Epic relies heavily on their solution. TSR (Super Temporal Resolution) which exploits the data of the previous frames for the one being rendered in order to improve the quality. In this regard, the part of the demo is very interesting in which the action stops to show a series of sequences from above that show exactly how the different technologies that we have mentioned work.

Epic also provided gods data inherent in this game world. The city is 4.138 km wide and 4.968 km long, slightly larger than downtown Los Angeles, with a total area of ​​15.79 km2. The perimeter of the city is just over 14 km, while there are 260 km of roads in the city and 512 km of sidewalks, with 1,248 intersections. Overall, we have 45,073 parked cars, of which 38,146 are drivable and destructible. We also have 7,000 buildings, 27,848 lamp posts and 12,422 manhole covers.

matrix awakening

They were prepared 10 million unique assets for this demo (some have since been repeated), while all the elements of the world are illuminated by the sun, the sky and the emissive materials found on the meshes. There are no “pre-packaged” light sources for streetlights and car headlights, while 35,000 pedestrians created with MetaHuman are simulated in real time.

Which leads to a question. Why isn’t Epic Games making it a full game? We have a fairly large world, artificial intelligence, gameplay and interactions: in short, it seems that the bulk of the work has been done (apart from the narrative part). We don’t have an answer to the question: we can only say that Epic has no current plans to make Matrix The Awakening a full-fledged video game.

Of course, the demo also has limitations that keep it away from photorealism. Polygonal models aren’t always perfect, as are animations and physics. Naturally, from these points of view The Matrix The Awakening differs from a real film because it considers the dimension of dynamism and real-time interaction. Additionally, on supported consoles, the experience is limited to 30 frames per second.

That said, even considering the limitations that the consoles in question bring in terms of hardware, we are still faced with unheard of in the history of real-time computed graphics. Matrix The Awakening is an absolutely unmissable experience, simply because this puts an end to the idea that the current generation of consoles cannot provide a consistent generational leap from the previous one. An idea that stems from the fact that all the projects released so far are cross-generational projects, or games that also need to run on old hardware and whose development started with the idea of ​​being able to run on the previous generation. The fact that Nanite works well on consoles and can be combined with ray tracing abilities, as demonstrated in The Matrix The Awakening, is in itself a remarkable achievement.

You can try Matrix The Awakening with a download of around 30 GB, more information can be found here.

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