With every year come new games that will push our hardware to generate graphics ever-better than what we have seen before, but before these graphics can exist in games, the engines they are built in must see improvements too. Unity3D has announced some of the new features the Unity game engine will be getting this year, and many of them will be to enhance its rendering capabilities.
One of the changes coming to Unity is the Scriptable Render Pipeline (SRP), which should have a significant on what is possible with the engine. Current versions of Unity use a hardcoded pipeline, which means they need to be large and complex to handle everything a developer throws at them and there is no means to work around issues and adding state-of-the-art effects is very difficult. With SRP it will be possible developers to create their own pipeline from C# script, making custom renderers possible, and new modular blocks can be added by Unity for users to easily add to projects.
Also coming are two rendering pipelines targeting different classes of hardware. The Lightweight Rendering Pipeline is meant for platforms with limited or absent compute shader capability, but it can still scale well from mobile to VR and PC. The HD Rendering Pipeline (HDRP) is much more capable but requires support for Shader Model 5.0 (DX11 and above). It does bring many advanced features with it though, including physics based rendering, linear lighting, HDR lighting, and several material effects like subsurface scattering and clear coating. An improved post-process stack to enable high quality effects and a shader graph that allows users to build shaders visually instead of handing writing the code involved.
These features are already in the latest beta of Unity and once they reach the release version, we will likely see them used to create better performing and better looking games.
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