Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Unity 5

Unity 5 has been available for paying developers as a beta for quite a while now and, I figured, I might as well get acquainted with it as soon as possible and see how I can apply (if at all) its new toys into my project.

Physical-based shaders and real-time global illumination were the key components that I was interested in.  While saying "real-time" (in the context of global illumination) is not necessarily a lie, the omission of "pre-runtime calculations" in the disclaimer is a major disappointment for me; making it practically useless for my project.  Unity 5 is still in beta, though, so they might eventually remedy that because they're ALMOST there.  With that said, the physical shaders have been really good so far and really makes materials closer to what 3D artists (like myself) are accustomed to.

What really surprised me were the subtle (yet noticeable) changes in some of the other aspects.  On the "good" spectrum, ambient light can now have three colours instead of just one to better control the mood of a given scene.  My code is also quicker to compute now (aside from my own optimization), is lighter at run-time and, therefore, allows for a better graphical performance.

On the "bad" side of things, fog (which adds tremendously to the ambience) can no longer be applied to an already established rendering method... the rendering method that my project is using.  The Unity team implies that developers should be using an "image effect" on a given camera to add the fog (a different way of rendering fog)... which, again, my project cannot practically use given its procedural nature.

So, right now, my project cannot have fog.  Somewhat of a setback but, again, it's all in beta.  They'll have plenty of time to fix things as well as I have time to adjust and rework my project.

It's all good.

On the coding side of things, things are looking great!  I've been spending less time on debugging now; allowing me to experiment with a method of adding secondary lights in really dark areas.  That's to make things less realistic yet more appealing to the eyes and I think, so far, it's showing great promise.  I just need to elaborate on it.

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