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A peek at the new Visual Effect Graph, CineCast, our first sample game, and more from Unite Los Angeles

, October 24, 2018

Unite Los Angeles has begun and let me tell you, it has already been one for the books. Want to find out what you’ve missed so far? You’re in the right place – read on to get the highlights!

Over the next two days, we’ll be streaming select sessions, including a full-day track on the Entity Component System. Please join us on YouTube via these links: Day 2, Day 3. Live streaming schedules are in the video descriptions.

Table of contents

Forged in Gaming – Continued innovation in games

CineCast
Build on top of our first game project – FPS Sample
Make your games beautiful with the Visual Effect Graph
Create massive game worlds with ECS
Real-time Multiplayer Alpha
Universal GameDev Challenge Grand Prize Winner

New horizons – going beyond gaming

Film and animation
Joining the Unity family: Digital Monarch Media
A new way of storytelling

Forged in Gaming – Continued innovation in games

It’s important to remember that Unity is forged in gaming. It’s in our DNA. It’s our origin. It’s what we know — and love. That’s why we are committed to making it easier for you to make performant, beautiful, successful, and massive games on Unity.

Here are just a few gaming announcements that we are absolutely ecstatic about and we hope that you will be too.

CineCast

We had a vision of making a movie out of a game in real-time. But how can you film something when you don’t know what’s going to happen next? Great question!  So we built on top of Cinemachine and combined a number of powerful new systems to effectively make ‘Cinematography AI’, resulting in a feature we affectionately call CineCast.

CineCast brings cutting-edge tech to Developers in these areas:

  • Replays – have movie-like cinematics from variable scenarios.
  • Cutscenes and game trailers – no more flying around with a manual marketing camera trying to get your shots.
  • eSports – give your viewers and Casters tools so they can make the most beautiful streams of your game, in real-time.

CineCast provides high-level, director-like controls so you can cinematically craft how you’d like a game to be filmed. You can choose to follow a particular player, pick from wide, normal, telephoto or follow cameraman shots and even control the speed of the edit. It’s like having your very own film crew inside the game, automatically making a movie of what’s happening in real-time and ready to take your direction at any time.

And the best part – CineCast will be in beta early next year! We are thrilled to finally share this news. Learn more about CineCast.

Build on top of our first game project – FPS Sample

We are happy to introduce our first sample game project, the FPS Sample. With this project we want to show you not just what you can do in Unity, but HOW you can do it. In this project, you can pick everything apart, tweak and experiment, and learn how to use the new features, including how to work with layered materials, post-processing, and light modes for the HD Render Pipeline (HDRP).

Ask any passionate gamer and they will tell you that for a fast and fair multiplayer shooter you need an authoritative standalone server, client-side prediction, and lag compensation. The FPS Sample is a good starting point if you want to tackle any of these because you will find a full implementation of netcode, which uses our new transport layer. The transport layer is still only out in preview but in this project you get to try out many of Unity’s new features as they are made. Also, the FPS Sample demonstrates the use of our new HD Render Pipeline. Wrapping your head around a new renderer can be quite a task, and we hope this helps.

The FPS Sample is available today – take it for a spin!

Make your games beautiful with the Visual Effect Graph

Our new Visual Effect Graph gives you more power for creating beautiful effects. It is a node-based system that is both easy to use and flexible, empowering artists to create stunning VFX quickly. It’s also easily extendible so you can easily drag and drop ready-made nodes for simple effects or if you’d like, you can make something more involved.

The intuitive interface is artist-friendly, making it super accessible and fun to experiment with. It’s also ultra responsive, so you can see all your changes in real-time as you work! Another major innovation that the Visual Effect Graph architecture brings to Unity is the ability to do millions of particles on GPU – performantly!

The Visual Effect Graph is available in preview in 2018.3 with HDRP (lightweight support will be coming later). We would love to hear what you think and get your feedback while we improve it.  Learn more about the Visual Effect Graph.

Create massive game worlds with ECS

Our Entity Component System (ECS) team has teamed up with two artists from the FPS Sample team and in just two months they have produced a futuristic cityscape showcasing our current progress on the ECS foundation and Burst.

The demo was built using 2018.3 with some modification and the plan is to ship this demo to the public with full source and assets sometime in 2019. It heavily relies on the new Nested Prefab workflow also available in 2018.3, as well as newly developed features that enhance the experience of working with very large sets of GameObjects. It demos asynchronous scene streaming, a new ECS culling system, C# audio system, and HLOD among many improvements to ECS tooling and debugging features.

You can learn more about all the new improvements and ECS features here. If you are at Unite Los Angeles you can check out the demo at the Intel booth on the Expo Floor or attend the Mega City ECS session track tomorrow Wednesday the 24th of October with 9 sessions.

Real-time Multiplayer Alpha

There are many challenges when creating real-time multiplayer games, but most of them boil down to two key things: performance and scale. As we rebuild the engine with performance at its core, new networking solutions will be built alongside it, starting with our new transport layer. The new transport layer will support multi-threading with the Job System and moving forward, new features will be provided as full source packages, so you can debug and optimize for your game.

While some creators want to foster a tight experience between a few players, others want to connect hundreds and more. Both of these require performant code as well as a scalable network topology, so we’re enabling a dedicated server model so all Unity developers can benefit from consistent connection quality, scalability, and security. And to be truly successful, Unity and Google Cloud will ensure you can scale this model to all your players, across the globe.

We are at the very beginning of the journey, but what’s truly exciting is that we’re creating comprehensive solutions; everything required to create a successful real-time multiplayer game. We’re shipping an Alpha of everything we have today – from networking transport libraries to fully integrated game services and samples that tie it all together – check it out.

Universal GameDev Challenge Grand Prize Winner

At GDC, we launched our largest, most ambitious challenge to date on Unity Connect: the Universal GameDev Challenge. Over the summer, six finalists were invited to an exclusive VIP Mentorship Summit at Universal Studios Los Angeles, where the largest companies in game development — including Microsoft and Intel — provided insights and built relationships with each team. During the Unite LA keynote, we granted the Grand Prize winner, Andreas Halter, the award for their entry: Voltron Cubes of Olkarion! Read more in Universal’s official press release.

Here’s a look at all six of the finalists.

New horizons – going beyond gaming

We recognize that building and innovating the best game engine allows us to expand and add specific technologies and tools to reach more creators in industries like automotive, film, architecture, engineering, construction and more. We are here to support all creators, from all industries, in creating brilliant, well-crafted, innovative experiences.

Film and animation

Unity is pushing graphics capabilities even further and applying these innovations in gaming to power the latest workflows in episodic animation and short films. For animation studios, Unity is the creative center of your pipeline that lets you tell rich stories in a more intuitive way than traditional workflows.

There is no more exciting time than right now for filmmakers to start using Unity, whether it’s animation, virtual cinematography, virtual production, previs, performance capture, cinematic VR experiences, or other stories that break down genre barriers.

Learn more about Unity for Film.

Joining the Unity family: Digital Monarch Media

The team at Digital Monarch Media, led by Wes Potter and Habib Zargarpour, have a deep background in games, cinematics, and film. Both Unity and DMM are investing deeply in the success of the world’s best and brightest creators in filmmaking. This is why we are delighted that Digital Monarch Media will be joining the Unity family to pursue this mission together.

Their suite of powerful virtual cinematography and production tools have already enabled world-class directors and cinematographers to craft incredible stories, such as Steven Spielberg for Ready Player One, Denis Villeneuve for Blade Runner 2049, and Jon Favreau for The Jungle Book. Unity is increasingly becoming an indispensable tool on-set for teams who want to harness the power of real-time to create films in a more intuitive way — a way that puts the art back in the artist’s hands, and ultimately ensures the final film is even closer to the director’s vision.

A new way of storytelling

Baymax Dreams, a series of three broadcast television-quality shorts based on the “Big Hero 6 The Series” TV show (now available to stream on Disney NOW and on YouTube), was created using Unity. It was used for everything from layout, camera, and editorial to lighting, VFX, color correct and render, with the goal of consolidating as many disciplines as possible within the real-time engine environment.

The workflow allowed the team to iterate quickly, and immediately see creative results in context from the start of production. Before the script was locked, the team began blocking out the story in the engine, using real production assets. Essentially they took animation and setting cameras down around the best performances, often inspiring new gags. This ability to “find the story” in real 3D world-space holds exciting possibilities for the future of storytelling.

We have been incorporating updates and additions to the roadmap, inspired by learnings from this production. Now that we have everything in the Unity engine, we can easily create all kinds of experiences. In fact, as we speak, Disney ABC Television Group is doing just that: they’ll be launching a new tower-defense game, inspired by the Baymax Dreams shorts, early next year, using assets from our production.

There’s more to come from Unite Los Angeles! We’ll be live streaming select sessions on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter tomorrow and Thursday. Join us via your favorite channel!

Thank you to Nvidia for providing the PCs used during the Unity keynote, AutoTech Summit and Film & Animation Summit. 

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  1. Unity should actually make a short game or film with their demo teams to showcase their new features each year that isn’t solely focused towards the developers (e.g. Book of the Dead), but for the consumers as well to show them what unity is actually capable of. It would also look really cool :)

  2. However, there is still no multi-language support for languages using Gpos tables like Thai, Khmer, Hindi etc disappointing it is…

  3. Andrei Grebenshchikov

    October 25, 2018 at 5:14 pm Reply

    Thanks to the entire development team of the Unity! :)

  4. WOW Amazing , really it is fantastic unity 2018.3, please add Light Volumetric and 3D Water and River and Road tools and 3D Ocean, but I think unity 2018.3 is awesome, thank you for your hard work :-)

    1. Use Power of Sidefx Houdini

  5. Love everything you are all doing <3 proud to delete spam for you guys! Please keep it up!

  6. Mega City is awesome ! Just need collisions now :)