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UE 5 docs confirms: Nanite assets can actually be smaller than traditional ones.

Raploz

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Those super detailed movie quality models can actually be smaller than traditional low-poly models + LODs + 4K normal maps. Yes, you read that right!

I was reading the UE 5 documentation and there they compare the size of traditional models (plus normal maps and LODs) to Nanite models with millions of polygons. Apparently the normal maps used in current games can be bigger in size than a movie quality Nanite model. Quoting them: "Because the Nanite mesh is very detailed already we can try replacing the unique normal map with a tiling detail normal that is shared with other assets."

Here's the link (go to the section "Data Size" to see the full size comparison and images): https://docs.unrealengine.com/5.0/en-US/RenderingFeatures/Nanite/

Because of the micro detail that Nanite is able to achieve, it might be assumed that it means a large increase in geometry data resulting in larger game package sizes and downloads for players. However, the reality isn't that dire. In fact, Nanite's mesh format is significantly smaller than the standard Static Mesh format because of Nanite's specialized mesh encoding.

For example, using the Unreal Engine 5 sample Valley of the Ancients, Nanite meshes average 14.4 bytes per input triangle. This means an average one million triangle Nanite mesh will be ~13.8 megabytes (MB) on disk.
The compressed package size isn't the entire size of the asset though. There are also unique textures only used by this mesh that have to be accounted for. Many of the materials used by meshes have their own unique textures made up of different Normal, BaseColor, Metallic, Specular, Roughness, and Mask textures.

This particular asset only uses two textures (BaseColor and Normal) and thus is not as costly on disk space as one with many other unique textures. For example, note the size of the of the Nanite mesh with ~1.5 million triangles is smaller in size (at 19.64MB) than a 4k normal map texture is.
The total compressed package size for this mesh and its textures is:

  • Low Poly Mesh: 31.04MB
  • High Poly Mesh: 49.69MB
Because the Nanite mesh is very detailed already we can try replacing the unique normal map with a tiling detail normal that is shared with other assets. Although this results in some loss in quality in this case, it is fairly small and certainly much smaller than the difference in quality between the low and high poly version. So a 1.5M triangle Nanite mesh can both look better and be smaller than a low poly mesh with 4k normal map.

Total compressed package size for the Nanite-enabled mesh and textures: 27.83MB
Comparing the Nanite compression from earlier with a size of 19.64MB is 7.6x smaller than the standard Static Mesh compression with 4 LODs.
 
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GuinGuin

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Nanite was also used for the final monster, to show Nanite can work with dynamic objects too.

Dreams uses something like voxels too and has very small file sizes but it limits the way you can make the models move. Specifically you can't distort them without trickery. The human character is all traditional rendering for that reason as I understand it.
 
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SirTerry-T

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Dreams uses something like voxels too and has very small file sizes but it limits the way you can make the models move. Specifically you can't distort them without trickery. The human character is all traditional rendering for that reason as I understand it.
Yep. Nanite is something the environment and prop artists will get more use from than the character artists...it's great but it's not without its limits.

"Geometry
Nanite can be enabled on Static Meshes and Geometry Collections.

A mesh with Nanite enabled can be used with the following Component types:

Static Mesh

Instanced Static Mesh

Hierarchical Instanced Static Mesh

Geometry Collection

Nanite is currently limited to rigid meshes. These represent greater than 90% of the geometry in any typical scene for projects and is the initial focus of Nanite development. Nanite supports dynamic translation, rotation, and non-uniform scaling of rigid meshes, but does not support general mesh deformation, whether it is dynamic or static. This means any position of a Nanite mesh in a way that is more complex than can be expressed in a single 4x3 matrix multiply applied to the entire mesh.

Deformation not supported includes, but is not limited to:

Skeletal animation

Morph Targets

World Position Offset in materials

Spline meshes"
 
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Bo_Hazem

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Amazing! More storage efficiency means more room for unique assets and creativity! Now we need Nanite to mature and work with different stuff lacking now like skeletal animation and the rest. Also I want to see the 60fps version with Lumen.

Nanite was also used for the final monster, to show Nanite can work with dynamic objects too.

Yes but solid character like robots and so with no deformation. Still, its a great start and hope it doesn't make large robots boss fights become generic and repetitive in many games. Also you can mix things up anyway.
 
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kuncol02

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Yep. Nanite is something the environment and prop artists will get more use from than the character artists...it's great but it's not without its limits.

"Geometry
Nanite can be enabled on Static Meshes and Geometry Collections.

A mesh with Nanite enabled can be used with the following Component types:

Static Mesh

Instanced Static Mesh

Hierarchical Instanced Static Mesh

Geometry Collection

Nanite is currently limited to rigid meshes. These represent greater than 90% of the geometry in any typical scene for projects and is the initial focus of Nanite development. Nanite supports dynamic translation, rotation, and non-uniform scaling of rigid meshes, but does not support general mesh deformation, whether it is dynamic or static. This means any position of a Nanite mesh in a way that is more complex than can be expressed in a single 4x3 matrix multiply applied to the entire mesh.

Deformation not supported includes, but is not limited to:

Skeletal animation

Morph Targets

World Position Offset in materials

Spline meshes"
Judging by limitations it's basically glorified voxel renderer. Can't wait to games become even more static and lifeless.
 

ZywyPL

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And yet that tiny demo is 100GB... I think the first benchmark for UE5 will be... wait for it... Fortnite - this will be the very first game ever converted from UE4 to UE5 somewhere this year, giving us direct apple to apple comparison of the new tech, if/how much better the game will perform on newer engine, how much drive space it'll take, etc.
 

SirTerry-T

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Judging by limitations it's basically glorified voxel renderer. Can't wait to games become even more static and lifeless.
Yeah but the environments will look cool! ;)
It's all VERY cool stuff, but there are caveats which these "hype" pieces in the press and the buzz around forums such as this one don't really tell.
 

CamHostage

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Yeah but the environments will look cool! ;)
It's all VERY cool stuff, but there are caveats which these "hype" pieces in the press and the buzz around forums such as this one don't really tell.

Blended animation and body morph and all the deformation of movement I guess is what it is, even if Nanite cannot ever be applied to non-ridged objects. There's other ways, and an infinite number of polygons isn't the solution for making videogame people look good.

If an object cannot fracture or bend a model, though, that seems like it's going to be a problem for things you might want to build out of Nanite? Cars need to smash, walls need to shatter, robots need to be cut in half with a sword so you can Zandatsu the fuel cell. There would be ways of pre-calculating cut points I guess (which would take us backwards,) but how else would these problems be solved if things made of Nanite remain having interactivity limitations? Nanite will need to be good for more than just the ground you walk on...

(Also, I'm not clear, is Epic saying that this is how Nanite will be, or just that UE5 currently can't modify the Nanite mesh and we'll see what happens as it develops?)
 
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Quasicat

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And yet that tiny demo is 100GB... I think the first benchmark for UE5 will be... wait for it... Fortnite - this will be the very first game ever converted from UE4 to UE5 somewhere this year, giving us direct apple to apple comparison of the new tech, if/how much better the game will perform on newer engine, how much drive space it'll take, etc.
Absolutely! In fact, I fired up Fortnite as soon as I picked up a Series X because I figured it would be a nice upgrade. You could tell it was a decent change but also was still running UE4. I can’t wait to see what it will look like when UE5 replaces the current tech.

Here’s what I’m wondering about UE5...is it something that can be ported to previous gen systems, or the Switch, or is it too hardware intensive and needs to be running on the newest systems?
 

ethomaz

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Makes sense you get rip off of several LODs.
 

SirTerry-T

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Absolutely! In fact, I fired up Fortnite as soon as I picked up a Series X because I figured it would be a nice upgrade. You could tell it was a decent change but also was still running UE4. I can’t wait to see what it will look like when UE5 replaces the current tech.

Here’s what I’m wondering about UE5...is it something that can be ported to previous gen systems, or the Switch, or is it too hardware intensive and needs to be running on the newest systems?
UE is pretty scalable, so mobile devices should be supported. Epic are way to business savvy to leave all that cash on the table :)
 
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Three

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Nanite was also used for the final monster, to show Nanite can work with dynamic objects too.
The limitation is that vertices cannot move relative to eachother as it would break the hierarchical data structure used for creating the mesh. The mesh as a whole is allowed to rotate and translate though.

In the final monster you have whole objects rotating and translating but you have no mesh deformation.
 
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Thirty7ven

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Yeah but the environments will look cool! ;)
It's all VERY cool stuff, but there are caveats which these "hype" pieces in the press and the buzz around forums such as this one don't really tell.

There’s nothing to tell, nanite is a piece of the next gen puzzle and the results are glorious.

Need to have a stick up your arse if your take is to downplay it.
 
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Pagusas

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With it being limited to rigid meshes… does that mean even less environmental interactivity than before? It would really suck if this causes us to move towards MORE static environments. We need more dynamic, responsive, destructible/interactive environments in games.
 

Lethal01

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With it being limited to rigid meshes… does that mean even less environmental interactivity than before? It would really suck if this causes us to move towards MORE static environments. We need more dynamic, responsive, destructible/interactive environments in games.

Not at all no, it means more dynamic worlds. You are totally free to mix Nanite objects with non nanite objects. Additionally nanite objects are totally capable of moving, just not bending/stretching, so you can have destruction.

You simply set the solid objects to use Nanite and leave the rest alone. You can use the extra performance you save from using Nanite to add in MORE detailed foliage and MORE dynamic characters etc.

And yet that tiny demo is 100GB... I think the first benchmark for UE5 will be... wait for it... Fortnite - this will be the very first game ever converted from UE4 to UE5 somewhere this year, giving us direct apple to apple comparison of the new tech, if/how much better the game will perform on newer engine, how much drive space it'll take, etc.

No, the demo is 25GB, the PROJECT file is 100GB
 

SirTerry-T

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There’s nothing to tell, nanite is a piece of the next gen puzzle and the results are glorious.

Need to have a stick up your arse if your take is to downplay it.
I'm not downplaying it, feeling a bit sensitive that someone who works day in day out with this stuff may have an opinion that goes against the flow of conversation? I was merely pointing out, as stated in black and white on Epic's own website that while UE5's tech is a fantastic piece of middleware , there are things it can't do yet. Jesus...and I'm the one with a stick up my arse?
 
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CamHostage

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Here’s what I’m wondering about UE5...is it something that can be ported to previous gen systems, or the Switch, or is it too hardware intensive and needs to be running on the newest systems?

UE5 will more or less replace UE4 as the Unreal application for producing games and engine-driven entertainment/content. It will be on all active platforms at the time of its launch, from Xbox XS/PS5/PC down to Switch and Mobile. In fact, Fortnite will be ported to all platforms from UE4 to UE5.

There will be specific parts of UE5, however, that must be turned off when making past-gen products. Specifically, Nanite geometry and Lumen lighting are not made to run on machines that don't qualify with next-gen specs. If you were making a game for Switch, you would not use the next-gen stuff, you would use the more standard tools in the Unreal Engine 5 development kit.

To note in general about UE5, BTW: it's not necessarily "+1 better" than UE4 just because it's a higher number.

The divide from UE4 to UE5 is somewhat ceremonial, marking a transition point of introducing some major components like Nanite/Lumen and overhauling the Editor for easier and smarter workflow. (It could also come with a new license pricing system for developers, which would be interesting to see how the money changes things...) I'm not a game designer, but it appears that Unreal 5 is more like an evolution that won't do things totally different from the past (unlike UE4, which couldn't just run UE3 projects without major conversion even though it was "better".) Unreal is now a modular engine, and some modules are brand new in UE5 (Nanite and Lumen) and some are being carried along from UE4 (Chaos physics system, animation blueprints, the Metahumans and Quixel and Marketplace libraries, etc.) There are differences, and there may be some performance gains between UE versions (or maybe not? , but most of the work is on making game design better, not necessarily making gameplay better... gameplay improvements simply come along if everything in the game designer and engine just works.

...Don't go expecting Fortnite to become "Super Fortnite" just because it's being migrated from UE4 to UE5. Chances are, you or I mostly won't notice the difference when playing.
 
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CamHostage

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With it being limited to rigid meshes… does that mean even less environmental interactivity than before? It would really suck if this causes us to move towards MORE static environments. We need more dynamic, responsive, destructible/interactive environments in games.

I don't think so? As mentioned, a combination of Nanite and non-Nanite can be used, so whatever the engine can do now should be the same and potentially even moreso assuming Nanite in a good ratio with non-Nanite objects gives you performance savings.

As far as destructibility, my first understanding was like you say that Nanite was static-static... you'd place Nanite objects in the world, and they'd be pretty and there'd be a billion of them all across a vast level, and they could roll around or be glued onto bones to move around or whatnot, but they wouldn't be destructible or interactive. Rigid and static.

But, I think that's an incorrect understanding of Nanite?

Chaos Physics works with static mesh objects, and a Nanite object is virtualized geometry but it is still technically built from a static mesh, just with a layer of virtalized microgeometry applied to it and a change to the rendering approach and blahblahstuffthatsovermyhead. Point is, when you use Chaos Destruction, what you are doing is assigning an object its Chaos fracture geometry collection. Typically in games you're not really just "smashing stuff"; it was already made to be smashed. What's really happening you hit it and it breaks where it was pre-determined to break, and then the thing that looked solid suddenly fractures and bits fly off in approximation to the physics you applied to it. Cut up enough pieces (without too many cuts, or you'll kill the framerate,) add some particle effects like smoke or droplets, have the chunks fly off and collide and bounce correctly, and you sell the effect of destruction.



I'm unclear if that works (or works yet?) with Nanite objects, but it looks like it does? There's a section on Chaos in the Nanite doc for UE5, and it looks like you can click an object to render with Nanite engaged even if you have some Chaos fracture assigned to it. I've not yet seen that demoed, or have any idea how well that will work (will it run better? worse? same?) It's not greyed out that you can't have Chaos when your object is flagged with Nanite, at least...


The Land of the Ancients video has both physics momentum and some fracturing destruction when she blasts the rock obstacles or when the big boss gets up, and somebody could dig into the project file (please do, if you have the UE5 Editor access? I'm very curious how well Nanite plays with Chaos,) but those chunks of the stages could well be equipped with Nanite. Or, they built just those bits with non-Nanite so that they could explode and get crunched.

 
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Md Ray

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Sony's Media Molecule studio is using the same approach as UE5's nanite for their Dreams with their own spin on it.


 
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GuinGuin

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Well that's obvious but the problem is it isn't useful for deformable things like skin or cloth.
 

Esppiral

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And yet that tiny demo is 100GB... I think the first benchmark for UE5 will be... wait for it... Fortnite - this will be the very first game ever converted from UE4 to UE5 somewhere this year, giving us direct apple to apple comparison of the new tech, if/how much better the game will perform on newer engine, how much drive space it'll take, etc.
Exactly what I thought, that demo with infinite repetitive assets is about 100gb.... We're is that exceptional data compression?
 

VFXVeteran

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Those super detailed movie quality models can actually be smaller than traditional low-poly models + LODs + 4K normal maps. Yes, you read that right!

I was reading the UE 5 documentation and there they compare the size of traditional models (plus normal maps and LODs) to Nanite models with millions of polygons. Apparently the normal maps used in current games can be bigger in size than a movie quality Nanite model. Quoting them: "Because the Nanite mesh is very detailed already we can try replacing the unique normal map with a tiling detail normal that is shared with other assets."

Here's the link (go to the section "Data Size" to see the full size comparison and images): https://docs.unrealengine.com/5.0/en-US/RenderingFeatures/Nanite/
Yes, that is true - BUT - there is a downside to Nanite models. If the camera is really close to the asset, you can see a blurred sludge of geometry. It looks like POM. It doesn't capture micro details well. Overall, it's a worthy sacrifice for all the extra detail you get when the camera is at a standard distance from the player. I wonder if you get around this limitation by using a high res normal map blended into the texture as you get closer to the asset.
 

Lethal01

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won't do things totally different from the past

Well that's obvious but the problem is it isn't useful for deformable things like skin or cloth.

it's not really a problem, since skin and cloth work as well as they ever did.
It's just that now rigid meshes work better than ever.

It's like getting a lifetime supply of chicken. it's not a "problem" because you didn't also get vegetable, you are still free to buy those.

Regardless, it's been stated many time that this is just an early access version and they fully intend to have it working with skin and cloth.
 
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Lethal01

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Exactly what I thought, that demo with infinite repetitive assets is about 100gb.... We're is that exceptional data compression?

1. the Project file is 100gb the actualy game is 25gb
2. This project was made specifically to showcase extreme levels of geometry, you are free to use a more reasonable level of detail and get smaller file size along with more detailed meshes.
 

CamHostage

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Regardless, it's been stated many time that this is just an early access version and they fully intend to have it working with skin and cloth.
Huh, are you sure they have said stuff like that?

I know that they've outlined the limitations of Nanite as work-in-progress technology, and ultimately they'll be working to shave off those limitations when they can, but I've not heard that there's an actual roadmap as far as what limitations they expect to overcome in this generation or especially that any big change will be coming in the post-early access version. (I was under the impression that the Early Access is more about delivering a working slice of the final Editor while most of the components are still in development/polishing, not that Early Access is just a taste of what's in the lab and they have even better Nanite to come once everything's done.)

1. the Project file is 100gb the actualy game is 25gb
2. This project was made specifically to showcase extreme levels of geometry, you are free to use a more reasonable level of detail and get smaller file size along with more detailed meshes.
Would you mind outlining the difference?

I know the Project file has the massive original Quixel megascans and everything at max quality. So I'm assuming the produced Game file just only includes the files actually used in that playable portion. (Does it trim the megascans to the portions of files that are actually seen, above the game world surface? I didn't think that was something UE was doing, there's another company that optimizes texture usage but is that now integrated into Unreal Editor?) I assume the Game file only has the Dark World version of the Level Editor assets since that is the only chunk used once Echo hits the big purple play button. And then maybe there's some compression of the images or assets for a playable state. I don't know what else is and is not included in the Game file.

How does everything we've seen go from 100GB down to 25GB in the playable part? (And do you actually need both the Project file and the Game file if you want the full UE5 Early Access testing experience? Or does the Editor allow you to export the Game file from the Project file, and you can either play the 25GB Game demo and just see that or download the 100GB Project file and get the whole megascanned desert landscape in addition to the playable Game that you can compile with the full asset set?)
 
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Lethal01

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Huh, are you sure they have said stuff like that?

Yes, I am,.
they stated it multiple times but the last place I heard it was in the stream a few days ago on the official epic youtube channel. I'm not gonna go through the whole thing to find the quotes timestamp again but I think it's in the QA section.


Would you mind outlining the difference?

I know the Project file has the massive original Quixel megascans and everything at max quality. So I'm assuming the produced Game file just only includes the files actually used in that playable portion. (Does it trim the megascans to the portions of files that are actually seen, above the game world surface? I didn't think that was something UE was doing, there's another company that optimizes texture usage but is that now integrated into Unreal Editor?) I assume the Game file only has the Dark World version of the Level Editor assets since that is the only chunk used once Echo hits the big purple play button. And then maybe there's some compression of the images or assets for a playable state. I don't know what else is and is not included in the Game file.

How does everything we've seen go from 100GB down to 25GB in the playable part? (And do you actually need both the Project file and the Game file if you want the full UE5 Early Access testing experience? Or does the Editor allow you to export the Game file from the Project file, and you can either play the 25GB Game demo and just see that or download the 100GB Project file and get the whole megascanned desert landscape in addition to the playable Game that you can compile with the full asset set?)

The exported file is standalone, the 25gb of data is all you need.
It included everything that's in the Editor version. Including all the stuff from before you go into the dark world, you can use the drone to explore the whole thing before you switch over.
Honestly I forget exactly what causes the file to go to 25GB but I don't think there is any loss in quality of the assets.
 
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