Everything Unity said at GDC 19
|Brittany Hainzinger in Game Development Thursday, March 21, 2019|
Unity was a GDC 19 in full force this year. Tencent, Activision, NVIDIA and Glu Mobile where amongst the companies featured on stage with first looks at real-time ray tracing, Call of Duty: Mobile, System Shock 3, Oddworld: Soulstorm and more.
Unity Technologie's keynote at GDC 19 was filled with new technological breakthroughs and partner announcements that showcased everything that developers need to create, operate and monetize for today and tomorrow. Key partners and customers from Tencent, Activision, Glu Mobile, and NVIDIA joined Unity to set the stage for a week filled with hands-on experiences, opportunities for developers to connect with Unity tech leaders, and groundbreaking demos, all set against the backdrop of the largest GDC booth in Unity’s history.
Engine Agnostic Services Support Developers Regardless of Development Choice
Unity is a developer-first platform. In its keynote, the company detailed the great traction made putting developers first by providing the best engine agnostic technologies, services, and monetization tools including:
- Multiplay, the game server hosting company that solves the hard problem of server scaling and performance, ensuring uninterrupted online experiences. Most recently Multiplay helped enable success and maximize player enjoyment for Apex Legends, which reached more than 2 million concurrent users in its first weekend and 50 million players in its first month
- Vivox’s voice and text chat as the proven go-to solution for connecting hundreds of millions of players together in the biggest multiplayer online games, including Fortnite, PUBG, and League of Legends.
- Unity’s ad network, a top three global ad network along with Facebook and Google, is engine agnostic. Even Epic uses it to acquire new Fortnite users.
The Undisputed Leader in Mobile
The Unity keynote proved that there’s never been a better time to be a mobile game creator, with key announcements including:
- Lightweight Render Pipeline comes out of preview as part of Unity 2019.1 and is production-ready to help render gorgeous, performant, and demanding mobile titles.
- Game Foundation provides pre-built common game systems, such as inventory, currency management, virtual stores, and player progress, that are flexible and fully extensible so that developers can focus on building unique gameplay experiences.
- AR Foundation Framework will allow developers to build once and deploy across ARKit and ARCore, saving hours of time and resources.
Announcements from Key Partners and Industry Leaders
No Unity keynote is complete without support from its robust partner ecosystem. Key announcements this GDC include:
- Oddworld: Soulstorm and System Shock 3: Game industry pioneers Lorne Lanning (Oddworld Inhabitants) and Warren Spector (Otherside Entertainment) showcased their next big projects built on Unity, Oddworld: Soulstorm and System Shock 3 respectively. Their commitment to creating on Unity highlights the power and possibilities unlocked by the Unity platform when put in the hands of visionary creators.
- Tencent Cloud was announced as the default cloud provider in China. Developers will be able to start using Tencent Cloud services to power their Unity games later this year
- Activision in collaboration with Tencent announced Call of Duty®: Mobile is coming to previously unannounced regions, including North America, South America, Europe, and more. Call of Duty: Mobile is a new free-to-play game built in Unity that brings together maps, modes, weapons, and characters from across the Call of Duty franchise
- Glu Mobile demonstrated Disney Sorcerer’s Arena, a new mobile game launching soon worldwide, which utilizes the latest Unity innovations such as Lightweight Render Pipeline, Shader Graph, and Cinemachine.
Next-Level Rendering Gives Developers Right Tool for the Right Job
The keynote captured Unity’s next-level rendering technologies that give developers the most beautiful visuals, and the right tools for the right job, no matter their build target including:
- Unity and NVIDIA Unveil Real-Time Raytracing: Built on top of the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP), Unity’s real-time ray tracing solution will deliver photorealistic image quality and lighting for any task where visual fidelity is essential, at a fraction of the time of offline rendering solutions. To highlight what is achievable with real-time ray tracing, Unity and NVIDIA collaborated on a demo called “Reality vs. Illusion: Unity Real-Time Ray Tracing.” Rendered in real-time in Unity, viewers were shown a real car and a version of the car powered by Unity and NVIDIA; the dazzling array of lights and visual fidelity makes the vehicles indistinguishable from one another. Production-focused early-access will be available in April, with an optimized preview solution available in the second half of 2019.
- The Heretic: Unity continues to showcase its next-level rendering capabilities with The Heretic, the latest real-time cinematic from Unity's Demo Team, the creators of Book of the Dead and ADAM. It showcases CG humans in Unity and heavily utilizes the HDRP, along with other off-the-shelf Unity tech, to demonstrate what is possible today in Unity.
- Graphine Joins Unity: Unity announces the acquisition of Graphine, worldwide leaders in virtual texturing and efficient texture streaming. Graphine’s texturing platform is the perfect complement to any rendering pipeline architecture as it helps provide a best-in-class texture streaming, virtual texture artist workflow, and runtime system.
Performance By Default
In 2019, Unity continued its shift to data-oriented design with advancements in the Data-Oriented Tech Stack, fueled by the Entity Component System, C# Job System and the Burst Compiler, to power the creators of tomorrow. These breakthrough technologies help teams of all sizes punch above their weight, whether they are a small team working on the next mobile hit, or a large team targeting consoles and high-end PCs.
- Burst Compiler Out of Preview in Unity 2019.1, opening up the world of high-performance, multithreaded performance, to developers. Data-Oriented Tech Stack scales all the way from the high end down to the low end, and the end result empowers developers to achieve high-end performance faster regardless of their build target.
- Unity Partners with Havok to Build World-Class Physics System: built on top of its Data-Oriented Tech Stack, Havok will help developers achieve revolutionary performance. The default physics system for the Data-Oriented Tech Stack, Unity Physics, is available to download today, while Havok Physics will be available in June.
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