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Graphics Upgrades Games Hardware

Cinema-Quality Unity Engine 'Adam' Demo Claims To Run Real-Time On GeForce GTX 980 ( 59

MojoKid writes: This week at GDC 2016 the team at Unity revealed their stable release of the Unity 5.3.4 game engine along with a beta of Unity 5.4. There are a number of upgrades included with Unity 5.4 including in-editor artist workflow improvements, VR rendering pipeline optimizations, improved multithreaded rendering, customizable particles which can use Light Probe Proxy Volumes (LPPV) to add more realistic lighting models and the ability to drop in textures from tools like Quixel DDo Painter. But for a jaw-dropping look at what's possible with the Unity 5.4 engine, check out the short film "Adam" that Unity has developed to demo it. The film showcases all of Unity Engine 5.4's effects and gives a great look at what to expect from Unity-based games coming in 2016. Unity will showcase the full film at Unite Europe 2016 in Amsterdam. But what's most impressive about Adam perhaps is that Unity says that this is all being run in real-time at 1440p resolution on just an upper-midrange GeForce GTX 980 card.
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Cinema-Quality Unity Engine 'Adam' Demo Claims To Run Real-Time On GeForce GTX 980

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  • Whatever (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2016 @08:29AM (#51730567)

    This is nowhere near cinema quality. The textures aren't all that great and the lighting needs work.

    Also note how they used robots exclusively because plastic and metal is easy to do. I'd like to see them try making a realistic looking human or animal.

    • Re:Whatever (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Junta ( 36770 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @08:45AM (#51730625)

      It's interesting that it's at the point where you probably have to actually have some experience working in the field to spot the 'cheats' going on compared to realtime. Things have come very far and it looks very impressive. The quality of the cheats have just gotten crazy over time.

      No indirect lighting, no indirect lighting, no caustics, no hair/fur. Lot's of places where the lighting looks complex, but can be baked into the textures. Very carefully set to avoid those being noticable omissions/limitations.

      All the shader work going on is pretty impressive.

      The Unity demoes finally look to be even with the Unreal demoes.

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        You should watch Toy Story 1 again and be surprised by how dramatically graphics, both realtime and cinematic, have improved.

        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          Oh, I'm very keenly aware and have recently seen it (which had the same things avoided that realtime rendered scenes avoid today). It would be silly to claim realtime can't best Toy story. The fastest supercomputer in the world the month Toy story came out would be bested by a single quad-core Haswell 3.0 ghz (though only barely). However as the pre-rendered cinematic have been able to start featuring more and more of the things they had to originally skip, realtime hasn't been able to do the same for ev

      • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

        Unity still has a way to go to catch up with Unreal Engine in terms of impressive demos. That real-time mo-cap fed straight into real-time rendering live on stage at GDC was bloody impressive in several technical areas. []

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @08:34AM (#51730589)

    Especially considering that we're not talking about an engine with a price tag that makes AAA studios stagger. This is affordable, high quality rendering.

    One of the last big strongholds of AAA gaming, i.e. high speed, high quality graphics, is coming to an end. Certainly we won't see everyone who happens to have an idea for a game to crank out something over the weekend that dethrones the next clone in the Battlefield series, but this could well mean we're heading to a time when "indie games" are no longer games that have to convince with their content, wit or charm because they can't simply blow us down with effects.


    I don't know... should I welcome this or mourn it?

    • by Junta ( 36770 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @08:51AM (#51730659)

      Though the engines are capable, it still takes a great deal of work to actually bring out those capabilitiies. You still need laborious modeling and texturing work if you want something 'AAA' and can't just assemble things out of stock content from the asset stores.

      Titles developed on a budget have not come remotely close to the aspirational demos of the engines they have used to date, and I wouldn't expect that to change anytime soon.

      • Sure, but from what I see there it seems the limiting factor for whether or not you get a good game off the ground shifts more and more towards modelling, texturing and general the "artsy" parts rather than programming and optimization.

        Which I'd consider a good thing. That's after all what the user gets to see in the end and that's where the time and money should go.

        • by mikael ( 484 )

          Some game companies now have only a 10 or so programmers for the graphics, AI and gameplay, while there will be over 500 3D modelers, texture artists, concept artists, testing. What you put in is what you get out in terms of artwork in terms of detail, texture layers going all the way up to normal and displacement maps.

          • by Shinobi ( 19308 )

            That's not quite true: Sure there are fewer programmers working on adapting the actual engine, since few game studios create their own engines now. But, you have more programmers in the art department instead, programming/optimizing shaders, particle systems etc

        • It's partly that, and it's partly just the fact that commodity game development hardware has simply gotten that insanely good. These game engines all use the exact same low-level APIs and hardware. There's nothing inherently special about one rendering engine vs another other, despite what they'd have you believe.

          Interestingly enough, contrary to what most users believe, the runtime rendering engine is actually a surprisingly small part of what a game engine does. A game engine's most important feature i

          • Also, among the reasons cinematics (even if real-time rendered) can look so much better when specifically targeted like this:

            Moreover all of the animation, camera work, story board is a custom job from start to finish. What I most saw from the short movie was the animation was exquisitely detailed (although perhaps this is common now in video game cutscenes) but try to make it a Quake clone with a human player walking around in the middle of that scene with the cyborg and none of that will work. What if you're blocking the passage or poking him with an axe or whatever else. Well you can't do that.

            • True, but animation in realtime cutscenes is pretty much all mo-capped custom animations these days, and the player is typically not interacting with the game while the cutscene is running. So, I think doing custom animation work is not really "cheating", per-se. Some games, including ones I worked on, used to do really horrible cutscenes (by today's standards) using scripts that direct characters around using pre-set animations, but no AAA games do that these days, thank goodness.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I've seen more impressive graphics in demoscene releases than in most AAA games.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No it isn't. Pre-baked lighting, very slow camera movements, and nothing to render in the background. It's smoke and mirrors from the shitty Unity engine that makes fast PCs and consoles run like shit. Give a mouse/controller camera control and watch the misleading engine demo fall to pieces.

      Anyone with more than 10 minutes experience of game engines can spot how much cheating is going on, and how contrived this "demo" actually is. You're on /. you should know better. So you're a shill, rumbled!

      • Or maybe someone who plays games rather than write them?

        But you seem to know a thing or two, elaborate.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          I play and write games (I'm still working on a 2D Second Life and we're almost in Beta.)

          Unity is crap. 2D pixel games which would've run fine on a 300 MHz Windows 98-era computer need something like 2.4 GHz C2D just to freaking operate at a measly 30 FPS *MINIMUM* Simple 3D demos are insanely bloated.

          Even the BYOND engine does better than this.

  • by Cowclops ( 630818 ) on Saturday March 19, 2016 @08:45AM (#51730623)

    The GTX 980 is not an upper midrange card. Its $500 and about the only thing faster is a GTX 980 TI. I know it sounds like a big deal for it to run well on a so-called midrange card, but if they wanted to do that they'd need to try it out on a GTX 950 or 960.

    If I were the dictator of "video card performance nomenclature," it would be more like this:

    GTX 950 - Midrange
    GTX 960 - Upper Midrange
    GTX 970 - Entry level High End
    GTX 980 - High End
    GTX 980ti - Cost No Object.

    If a video card costs about what the average person spends on a whole computer these days, the phrase "midrange" does not get to be associated with it.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      There's also 'Titan-X'. So there's a a very very high ceiling.

      • Oh yeah, i forgot about the Titan-X. Thats more expensive, but its not really any faster than a 980 ti, it just has more GPU memory. Which is definitely something to put it even higher end, but at the end of the day they're basically both "I have money and want to be parted with it" solutions.

        I'd get a GTX 970 if i were in the market for a GPU, but I don't play enough brand new games to warrant upgrading currently.

        • by waTeim ( 2818975 )
          The 980 is probably best for neural networks in terms $ for capability while Titan-X has more memory but requires additional extra money. Google's Deep Dreams runs 100x faster than CPU NN, but for video it runs out of memory for anything over HD. Not sure if Titan-X can do 4K. Supposedly both of them get blown away by the new stuff this year. Another benchmark, but not completely disconnected to games.
      • by kav2k ( 1545689 )

        Not to mention that multi-GPU configs are probably included in the calculation of the "range".

        • Well, if 2 980 tis are higher end than one 980 ti... three 980 tis are higher end than 2. If you just start stacking more of the same thing, its certainly a more high end overall solution, but it doesn't make the product that comprises that solution more high end. A Porsche 911 GT3 is a high end car, but a Bugatti Veyron costs more. The fact that you can always find something even more expensive to throw your money at doesn't mean that anything that was previously high end is now midrange. Of course, I d
      • by delt0r ( 999393 )
        titans are more about CUDA performance than graphics. They aren't really any better than the GTX when it comes to games.
    • I picked up a HP gaming PC with 980Ti and 4790K last year for $950... That's the price of a low-end Surface Pro or high-end iPad.

      These days the "high end" gamers are running SLI/Crossfire, and the "cost no object" ones have Triple- and Quad-GPU rigs with PCI-e SSDs, 1.5KW PSUs, water cooling, etc.

      • Money can't buy everything. Triple/Quad GPU is dumb and dual is debatable, you get more and more stuttering and high latency. Or idle GPUs with incompatible games.

        You must have had some crazy fire sale price : cost of 980 Ti and 4790K add up to more than $950 on their own.

      • Where did you get that deal? (honest question!)

        Last time I looked, just the CPU and GPU together cost almost $950.

        (CPU for $320 on newegg and amazon, and GPU $600 cheapest one on amazon)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They really should focus on support for dynamic global illumination. Real-time GI does ten times more in terms of creating atmosphere than any localized shader effect: []

  • All the HQ-graphics video increase their resolution but if one stops the video each frame is ugly because of the lossy inter-frame motion compression. They do not show anything spectacular crippling it in the final delivery stage. Although I do not know what format to choose myself, MJPEG is too big, maybe some MP4/VP9 can tune the motion compression impact.
  • Two things I dislike are all of these blurry effects and going overboard with bloom. In my view it isn't "cinematic" and doesn't make scenes look better. It is just plain annoying.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.