A big engine update just arrived.
Image from Fortnite showing a medieval style town next to a pond

Today marked the release of Chapter 4 for the battle royale portion of Fortnite. Today also includes a big update to the game's engine which brings Fortnite up to Unreal Engine version 5.1. I felt as though this was a significant enough update to warrant a separate news post away from the other Chapter 4 news (still to come).

With this rather significant engine bump comes a lot of new visual features and changes. Epic Games outlined these changes that include everything from a move to DirectX 12 as the default renderer, to the addition of Temporal Super Resolution, to the inclusion of Nanite Virtualized Geometry.

Let's take a look at what all of the new features are and what they mean for you.

“Temporal Super Resolution” Setting
  • This settings has the following options:
    • Recommended (default): Selects the 3D resolution based on what works best for your display resolution.
    • Performance: Prioritizes frame rate over final image quality by rendering at a lower resolution.
    • Balanced: Balances the image quality versus performance.
    • Quality: Prioritizes final image quality over performance by rendering at a higher resolution.
    • Native: Allows you to render frames at the native display resolution at the expense of performance.
    • Custom: Allows you to customize the 3D resolution on a slider.

“Nanite Virtualized Geometry” Setting
  • Only available if the rendering mode is set to DirectX 12.
  • If “Nanite Virtualized Geometry” is turned on, Nanite will be enabled.
    • Note: When Nanite is enabled, the “Shadows” setting is renamed to “Virtual Shadows.”
  • Defaults to on when the “Quality Presets” setting is set to High or Epic.
  • Please note that this setting cannot be changed mid-match.

“Global Illumination” Setting
  • Enables Lumen Global Illumination when set to High or Epic.
  • When Nanite is disabled, this setting has two options: Only Off, and Ambient Occlusion. (Ambient Occlusion = Lower quality ambient lighting with darkened corners.)
  • When Nanite is enabled, two more options are added: Lumen High, and Lumen Epic.
  • Please note that this setting cannot be changed mid-match.

“Reflections” Setting
  • Enables Lumen Reflections when set to High or Epic.
  • When Nanite is disabled, this setting has two options: Only Off, and Screen Space. (Screen Space = Calculates reflections based only on what is currently shown on the screen.)
  • When Nanite is enabled, two more options are added: Lumen High, and Lumen Epic.

“Hardware Ray Tracing” Setting
  • “Hardware Ray Tracing” makes it so that Lumen Global Illumination and Lumen Reflections use hardware-accelerated ray tracing. (The “Hardware Ray Tracing” setting in the “Graphics Quality” section has replaced the “Ray Tracing” section.)
  • Is defaulted to off.
  • To turn “Hardware Ray Tracing” on:
    • Nanite must be enabled. (In other words, “Nanite Virtualized Geometry” is turned on.)
    • Either “Global Illumination” or “Reflections” must be set to Lumen High or Lumen Epic.
  • Turning this setting on or off requires a game restart to take effect.
Epic says that there are some caveats here when you decide whether or not you can even enable some of these new graphical options. To see Nanite in action, you will need to have a Maxwell-based GPU or better from Nvidia, or a GCN generation card or newer from AMD. Maxwell started with later 700-series cards from Nvidia, so essentially any card from 2014 and onward should be fine. You also need the latest video drivers and be running on later versions of Windows 10 or any version of Windows 11.

This reliance on newer versions of Windows means that Windows 7 and Windows 8 will no longer be supported when Epic Games releases Chapter 4 Season 2 in a few months.

WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM PC SPECIFICATIONS TO RUN NANITE?
  • GPU:
    • NVIDIA: Maxwell-generation cards or newer
    • AMD: GCN-generation cards or newer
  • Latest graphics drivers
  • Operating system:
    • Windows 10 version 1909.1350 or newer, with support for DirectX 12 Agility SDK
    • Windows 11
  • Direct X version:
    • DirectX 12

WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDED PC SPECIFICATIONS TO RUN NANITE?
  • GPU:
    • NVIDIA: GeForce RTX 2080 or newer
    • AMD: Radeon RX 5700 or newer
  • Latest graphics drivers
  • Operating system:
    • Latest Windows 10 version, with support for DirectX 12 Agility SDK
    • Latest Windows 11 version
  • Direct X version:
    • DirectX 12
If you are playing Fortnite on next-gen consoles such as the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S, you will need to disable the 120 FPS mode. Turning this off in the in-game graphics settings will then enable the Nanite, Lumen, Virtual Shadow Maps, and Temporal Super Resolution features.

As part of these graphical changes, Epic did move around a few options. Rendering Mode and VSync settings are now under the Display section of the options. DirectX 12 is now the default rendering mode on PC for some higher-end GPUs. The "Performance" mode is no longer in beta. Motion Blur is now under the Graphics section and is off by default.

Click image for larger version

Name:	Fortnite Unreal Engine 5-1 (1).jpg
Views:	350
Size:	304.1 KB
ID:	3521328Click image for larger version

Name:	Fortnite Unreal Engine 5-1 (4).jpg
Views:	329
Size:	239.0 KB
ID:	3521329Click image for larger version

Name:	Fortnite Unreal Engine 5-1 (3).jpg
Views:	336
Size:	190.8 KB
ID:	3521330