Unity is getting some exciting new graphics features, including improved lighting, water effects, faces, and more. All this is planned to be done in 2023.
This was announced during today’s GDC keynote titled “Unity Roadmap for Gaming in 2023”. The talk was about the near future of the engine that is used today to create a huge part of video games, where product manager for graphics Mathieu Müller spoke about the plans.
Directx 12 exits the preview stage with the release of 2022 LTS in the spring (LTS is basically a major update). Later, ray tracing, a highly anticipated rendering effect, will also exit the preview stage in version 23.1 LTS. There is no specific release date for both LTS releases yet, but they will be coming soon.
Unity is also working on a new rendering system that will obviously improve the performance of Unity games, but it’s still in testing.
In terms of VFX, future LTS releases will improve the visual fidelity of smoke effects with a six-way lighting system, so fog, explosions, etc. will look much more realistic. The 23.1 LTS release also introduces the screen space lens flares feature, which automatically generates lens flares on shiny objects and surfaces.
There are also adaptive probe volumes – which colloquially means that Unity can automatically place lights in scenes. Not only does this speed up the process of adding pretty lighting, but it should also result in nicer lighting in Unity games using this tool.
That’s all well and good, but what about the really cool stuff that you, the players, should be excited about? Well, first of all, we are waiting for a seriously improved water simulation. Waves, ripples and foam are coming soon to create amazing looking oceans and rivers in future games.
Vegetation should look better too, with the 2021 acquisition of vegetation modeling company Speedtree starting to pay off. This means more realistic looking (and acting) trees and other shrubs, which should make worlds in future games more realistic.
And finally, the best faces. Nobody likes characters with inappropriate, bad facial animations, and Unity games will be able to avoid this problem thanks to ZIVA VFX and their facial technologies, which will come under the Unity umbrella and fall into the hands of developers later this year.
The report was very insider and aimed at developers, which, in general, is understandable, but even if you are just a consumer of games on Unity, the meaning is clear. Unity games could very well start looking impressive in the coming months.
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