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This Paris apartment is a better Unreal 4 demo than Epic's own trailers

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"Unreal Paris," a portfolio-builder from level designer Dereau Benoit, is a quietly flashy piece of work. It's low on the particle effects and cityscapes, but impressive in capturing things we know well: the reflection of sun off a kitchen counter, the way shadows fall across the rough fabric of a couch. By pulling in high-quality textures and models from elsewhere, and taking advantage of Unreal's manifold lighting options, it creates something that feels surprisingly lifelike.

It's not the first well-made 3D environment, and rendering a room isn't nearly as difficult as making, say, a human face. But it's arguably better at showcasing the possibilities of Unreal 4 than Epic's official releases. Those miniature action movies are a lot more fun to watch in a press conference, but their fantastical environments usually stay far away from things viewers would be able to contrast with reality, unless your reality has a lot of space warriors and lava demons.

There's a downloadable build of the demo on Benoit's site, so you can walk around in it yourself if you're so inclined. It's harder not to notice the little flaws — like the slightly stiff fabric and some repeating props — but it still holds up pretty well.