When it comes to developing high-end VR visuals, only 2 names come to our mind: Unity Technologies and Unreal Engine 4 by Epic Games. Both the game engines are highly powerful and competitive too when it comes to market dominancy. So, in order to dominate its market share, Unity has made its Graphical render pipeline more efficient for VR visuals.
Both the game engines in the market have their reputation for the different purposes they serve. Unity is better known in the market for its ease of use that other game engines fail to deliver while Unreal Engine 4 is known for its Graphical Fidelity. Hence, VR developers prefer Unity over UE 4.
So, in order to grab the title of Graphic intensive game engine, Unity is constantly updating its pipeline. In its most recent update, Unity has provided VR compatibility to its High Definition Render Pipeline.
Why Unity is upgrading it’s HDR Pipeline?
Unity’s HDR Pipeline is usually built for high-end PCs and consoles. This allows us to create HD and photorealistic graphics. In its previous version, not HDRP features were compatible with VR.
But in its latest update (version 7.2.0), the HDRP of Unity game engine is VR compatible. The latest HDRP will support the following VR platforms:
- Oculus Rift and Oculus Rift
- Oculus XR plugin
- Windows 10
- DirectX 11
- Windows Mixed Reality
- Windows 10
- DirectX 11
- Windows XR Plugin
- PlayStation VR.
- NEW OpenVR
- Unity XR plugin
In order to make its render pipeline more efficient for VR, Unity will phase out the support for outdated Samsung Gear VR and Google VR and OpenVR.
You might be surprised that Valve and Vive are missing. Yes, because Valve is developing and updating its own OpenVR Unity XR plugin for this update. So, in the coming Unity patch notes of March or April, the plugin will be available for Vive and Valve development.
Initially, gamers might not experience it significantly. But as the developers will implement it in their projects, it is going to raise the level of immersion of VR experiences created with Unity.
MUST-READ: Why Google discontinued Daydream?
What Features are available in this HDRP?
With HDRP for VR, you can use all render pipeline features to create highly immersive and photorealistic visuals. It uses state-of-the-art rendering that delivers visuals never witnessed in VR environments. Hence, the following features will help you to achieve the graphics that are bound by your imagination.
- Deferred and Forward Rendering
- All light types, decals, volumetrics, and shadows
- Screen Space Effects:
- Distortion and Refraction
- Screen Space Reflection
- Ambient Occlusion
- Subsurface scattering
- Post-processing techniques:
- Depth of field
- Color Grading
MUST-READ: What you need to know about Apple ARKit?
Support of Multipass Rendering
The biggest advantage of updated HDRP is the support for the multipass rendering technique. It is an advanced stereo rendering technique that will process everything twice-once for each eye.
But, the developers at Unity doesn’t suggest its use. Because if you use this technology, it will use twice the CPU power and will consume a significant amount of GPU.
However, in some cases, the use of multipass is considered appropriate. If your system has less amount of GPU then multipass will use less memory for rendering targets as compared to the single pass.
Also, if you want to render totally different viewpoint for each eye you can use multipass.
However, In a bigger frame, the single-pass technique is considered most appropriate.
MUST-READ: Check out Google’s AR platform.
Future of Unity’s HDRP VR
For the coming updates, Unity will be working on the following features which will be added shortly to HDRP VR:
- Improve the platform support for Vulkan and DX12
- Extend the use of single-pass to support more than two views
- Raising performance using variable-rate shading
If you want to study more about HDRP in detail, you can visit Unity’s official blog here. You will find the detailed implementation of these features in VR.
Moreover, You can download and use Unity for free. You will only need to pay Unity if your funding or revenue exceeds over $100K yearly.
Hence, if you have a deep interest in the VR industry and want to contribute with your development skills, you should start using Unity today. You can learn this platform from online courses. Start exploring today.
If you have any doubts regarding Unity’s new HDRP for VR or you have any queries regarding anything in the VR industry, you are always welcomed to our VR/AR Discussions forum. Moreover, you can reach us through our social media handles.