Epic have been showing off the next iteration of the Unreal Engine to developers for a short while. Wired got a look recently, and have posted their impressions alongside a few new shots showing a fiery demon, some busy wireframe scenes and a lovely vista.
Epic haven't released the demo video yet, but Wired describe plenty of new tech, including an advanced particle rendering systems and a lighting program that models the way light bounces around rooms entirely in real time, bypassing the typical level design techniques that "bake" light and shadow into the textures of a scene. The days of designers hand-placing individual light shafts in a scene may well be over.
Epic demonstrated the subtlety of the new lighting system by bowling a ball of light down a dark hallway, which surely looked more impressive than that time they Epic rolled a cube of meat around Gears of War 2 to demonstrate soft body physics. Unreal Engine 4 will also include a new version of the user friendly Kismet programming system, improved liquid simulation and better scene destruction tech.
Hopefully Epic will show the video soon, their last big tech demo, codenamed Samaritan , was pretty spectacular.