Unreal 4 to Unreal 5 Project Production Transition – Guidelines and Best Practices


I would like to know if Epic will create some official guidelines and best practices guides for people currently working with Unreal 4 and wishing to port their project to Unreal 5?

With Nanite and Lumen, it seems that these two new technologies will have a big impact on the asset’s creation pipeline, such as, for example, poly count per object and the creation of normal maps (high poly, low poly baking process).

So, I have a couple of questions:

Will we still need to create normal maps for low to medium polys environment objects? Or just wait for Nanite and not worry about it anymore? If I understand correctly, normal maps will still be required in some cases but if the assets are low to mid-tier polys, it won’t be necessary. As you know, the process of baking normals (creating low and high polys models, retopo, baking, etc) is very time consuming. So if we can skip this step entirely for some assets, it would really be a game changer and would have a huge impact on the production pipeline and the schedule (some info about limitations, current gen game applicable examples would be welcomed). I hope that you could create some examples showcasing how Unreal 5 can help improve and speed up this process.

Is Nanite only useful for instantiated static meshes and environment objects? How does it work with animated objects (characters, animated meshes)? I’ve been looking for information in the subject but didn’t find anything.

Also, I’d like to know, with very high poly models, what are the best practices for dealing with assets that could take much more storage space versus models that were optimized for Unreal 4 (i.e., exporting a model directly from ZBrush and importing it into Unreal - as mentioned in the tech demo talk)? Should we expect upcoming games using Unreal 5 to increase a lot the storage size because it’s not necessary anymore to optimize for real time rendering since Nanite can handle real-time large numbers of polygons? Some guidelines and examples about cost versus benefit using this new technology would be useful for Unreal developers, to better understand the implications.

When can we expect to get more details about Nanite and Lumen? Hardware requirements, performance VS hardware stats, impact on storage (SSD speed requirements, impact on project’s size, tips about how to deal with high polys assets, animated VS static, etc.). I’ve read that Epic has been using Unreal 5 in a production environment for Fornite already, I’m sure that you guys have a lot of very useful information to share with us and we are looking forward to learn more about it.

Thank you.

Nanite doesn’t work deformation, splines, characters, foliage, etc. Seems like the expectation is to mix traditional static meshes with Nanite models.

Thanks for the information.