Unity hosted their Unite Berlin 2018 conference last week, and revealed a lot of exciting, innovative additions coming to the unity engine. Here’s our round-up of Unity’s Keynote.
Unity opened the Unite Berlin 2018 Keynote with Project MARS. MARS is short for Mixed and Augmented Reality Studio, a brand new Unity extension that aims to give creators the power to build applications that interact with any real-world environment, with little to no coding involved. Unity has given Project MARS the motto ‘Reality is our build target’ with the aim of creators thinking outside of Phone, console and PC, and to think about creating experiences that truly take advantage of real-world surroundings. Unity have stated in their blog:
“AR differs fundamentally from traditional game design. Instead of having a level designer build your entire world from scratch, your level design is the real world. MARS will help you solve this challenge, enabling you to easily create AR experiences, from face masks, to avatars, to entire rooms of digital art”
Project MARS Will be coming to unity as an experimental package later this year. You can keep yourself in the loop with all of Unity Labs’ updates here.
Augmented Reality for Animation
Unity announced the new Facial AR Remote Component, a tool designed to allow users to perform, capture animate characters, using Augmented Reality as the tool-set. This takes the premise of Virtual Cinematography, which connects a physical camera on a film set to a digital camera in Unity. This allows users to shoot CG content with your hands, just like you would with live action. The new Facial AR Remote Component brings this premise to smaller studios, and could well save teams days, if not weeks of animation work.
Unity’s Facial AR Remote Component will be coming to Unity in the near future.
The people over at Unity Labs’ AI Group have been hard at work on Kinematica, a new system that utilises machine learning to create seemless, smooth animations. While a regular animation workflow requires the user to explicitly define every possible transition, Kinematica has no set sequence, instead working in real-time to combine fragments from the animations library into a sequence that matches the players’ controller input, the environmental content, and any gameplay requests.
Kinematica brings the benefits of a highly polished animation, extreme versatility, and the ease of no longer having to manually map out animation graphs.
Kinematica will be available within Unity as an experimental package later this year. You can view a short demo of Kinematica below:
Games within Messaging Apps
Unity is putting an emphasis on allowing developers to hit new platforms this year, with project MARS working to bring augmented reality to the forefront, and now Unity is also helping developers bring their titles to the smaller stage, through messaging apps.
Unity is bringing forward a new small runtime, with a modularised architecture and compression, designed for light and fast delivery. This will enable users to create games for messaging apps within the unity editor they know and love.
Unity is going above and beyond, while most games within messaging apps are best delivered in 2D HTML, Unity are working towards native deployment and 3D.
Book of the Dead: Environmental Project now Available
Unity first showcased Book of the Dead at GDC 2018, an award-winning interactive narrative experience created by the Unity Demo Team. Book of the Dead features an expansive library of photogrammetry-scanned, objects and textures, with the majority coming from Quixel Megascans, a publicly available library of high-quality assets.
Book of the Dead is optimised for console performance, and showcases the power of Unity 2018’s new HD render pipeline.
We had the chance to talk to some of the team behind Book of the Dead back in February, and you can read the full interview here.
Users can get a taste of Book of the Dead’s gorgeous assets by downloading the Environment for free here.
Creator of the Oddworld franchise, Lorne Lanning, has been using Unity 2018 to develop the latest installment in the franchise, Oddworld Soulstorm. He and his team have been developing on the cloud with Unity, and are hoping to be able to ship the game sometime in 2019.
You can view a short chat with Lorne Lanning, Showcased at Unite Berlin 2018 below:
Harold Halibut is an upcoming title from developer Slow Bros, and is a game that uses stop-motion animation, and hand craftsmanship to create its assets. Using traditional Stop motion techniques, building the sets from scratch, as well as the character models, Slow Bros. brought the world to life within Unity using photogrammetry. The team is also using Unity 2018 with HDRP, to help them with transparency sorting and lighting. The results speak for themselves.
You can view Harold Halibut’s gameplay trailer below:
Flipping Death is a platformer that blends 2D characters with 3D environments. Developed by Zoink! Games, Flipping death is set for release this summer on the Nintendo Switch.
Zoink Games allowed Unity to use assets from Flipping Death to showcase two new features coming to Unity for 2D development. Sprite Shape is a new world building tool, designed to help users sculpt and bend with a smart, visual layout system. Unity is also adding a new 2D Animation system in the form of a set of tools designed for the easy set up skeletal animation, allowing users to animate characters using a single sprite. Users will be able to add and edit bones, paint weight and add mesh tessellation.
Both of these are now in Preview within Unity.
GTFO is the highly anticipated title from 10 Chambers Collective, a 4 person co-operative experience with a focus on team-play and atmosphere. The atmosphere has been achieved by taking advantage of Unity’s lighting engine, and the results are fantastic. GTFO first debuted at The Game Awards 2017, and since then has become one of the most anticipated FPS titles of the year.
You can view the exclusive gameplay footage showcased at Unite Berlin 2018 below:
Developer Madfinger Games have announced several interesting developments for their mobile shooter Shadowgun Legends. The developer is in the process of making the game fully co-operative online, converting hundreds of missions so that friends can play together.
The developer also announced that they are in the process of porting the game over to the Nintendo Switch, and intend to release on the platform later this year.
Unity Partners with Google Cloud
We were greeted by Diane Greene, CEO of Google Cloud Businesses, to join the announcement that Unity are migrating our infrastructure to Google Cloud, as well as creating a strategic alliance with the company to help with the creation of connected games.
Today, games across all genres are connected with the cloud in some capacity, and Unity is looking to make these connections considerably easier for creators to utilise. By collaborating with Google Cloud, Unity will be building a suite of native features within Unity, tools that will help users to create and run connected experiences, as well as scale them to meet the needs of the title’s player-base. The aim is to make it possible for all creators to harness the Cloud, without having to be an expert.
Unity have covered Connected Games expansively, and you can have a full read here.
New Prefab Workflows
Oh how this news made a room full of Unity developers absolutely wet themselves. Unity has been doing its research into how its users work with Prefabs, and has announced that they are improving the entire system. the new Prefab workflows will have a focus on reusability, control, and safety. New additions to the workflow include the new Prefab Mode, prefab variance, and nested prefabs.
Prefab Mode functions as an isolation mode for editing Prefabs. The new mode is intended to be a faster and more efficient place for creators to edit Prefabs, without adding them to the scene. Unity has also developed new prefab variance and nested Prefabs features designed to improve users’ productivity with Prefabs. This allows users to edit Prefabs and then the changes will propagate to all prefab variations within the scene. The new Nested Prefabs are designed to allow development teams to be more flexible, allowing teams to work on different sections of a Prefab to have them all come together in the final asset.
The best part, users can access a preview build now! You can also view how these all work below!
That’s it for Unite Berlin 2018’s keynote, offering a host of exciting things for developers and players alike. A big thank you to Unity for having us along for the event!