Unite Shanghai 2019 was held from May 10 to 12, 2019, in Shanghai, China. As the Unity* annual blockbuster event, this edition of Unite gathered Unity developers, publishers, artists, and fans from all over the world. Besides showcasing the latest technological achievements of Unity and the outstanding Made with Unity games and industry applications, a platform for sharing, learning, and exchange was also provided for Unity developers and industry experts. This let developers learn about the latest technical knowledge and practical skills in graphics technology, and let the audience see how to create high quality, cross-platform and interactive content.
At Unite Shanghai 2019, Intel worked with the developers of My Time at Portia*, eSports Legend*, Earth From Another Sun*, Super Buckyball Tournament*, and other games made by Chinese developers, to showcase the latest developments in Chinese games to participants, while also introducing how the Intel® Game Developer Program area and its accompanying game development services have helped to promote innovation within the game industry. During the technology session at Unite Shanghai 2019, Mr. Peng Tao, senior engineer at Intel, shared with the audience how Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel® GPA) were used to improve gaming performance to help gamers achieve a smooth experience on a wide range of hardware devices.
Unite Accelerates China’s Localization Progress
Figure 1. Unite Shanghai 2019
During the main forum on the first day of Unite Shanghai 2019, John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity*; Clive Downie, CMO of Unity; Zhang Junbo, general manager of Unity greater China region and vice president of Unity; Zhang Liming, technical director of Unity greater China region; and other guests gave speeches and introduced Unity’s (Unity China in particular) latest strategic directions and the establishment of its ecosystem.
- Unity announced that it will develop specifically localized features, provide online support in China, and local product and technical support, as well as establish relationships with local partners to localize in China and expand in the Chinese market.
- Unity continues to expand the developer’s ecosystem in China by providing quality traffic and monetization opportunities and presenting exposure for Chinese developers.
- Unity demonstrated its high-performance data-oriented technology stack (DOTS), real-time ray tracing technology, Shader Graph, Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP) and other next-generation graphic technologies that have improved rendering quality by leaps and bounds.
Intel Works with Game Developers to Shape the Future of Gaming in China
Within the exhibit area of Unite Shanghai 2019, Intel worked with Chongqing’s Panthea Games, Multiverse, Coconut Island Games, and other partners to showcase My Time at Portia, Super Buckyball Tournament, Earth From Another Sun, eSports Legend, and other games developed in China, while introducing the Intel® Game Dev Program and how it supports developers.
My Time at Portia*
Figure 2. Participant experience, My Time at Portia*
- Game introduction: My Time at Portia developed by Panthea Games is a 3D role playing and business simulation game. Most of the content in the game was produced using the Unity 3D Engine, and includes features and functions such as game scene switching, auto saving, autonomous citizen behavior, planting, growing, random copying, season changes, and holiday celebrations. It is an innovative and enjoyable game that is compatible on many platforms.
- Game graphics performance: A developer from Chongqing Panthea Games said that although My Time at Portia has a rather cartoonish style, it is set in an open world with an ultra-large map. Vegetation rendering is usually implemented with real-time rendering and there are dynamic weather and time changes; therefore, the game has certain requirements for hardware performance.
- Game optimization: During the initial development phase of My Time at Portia, the developers encountered some obvious optimization problems, which made the game run at a low frame rate on lower spec PCs. To settle the problem, Panthea Games made quite a few optimizations such as baking some of the game scenes as images, which significantly reduced the load on the hardware, but slightly compromised the user experience. Panthea Games has worked closely with Intel’s technical department to optimize the game running on integrated graphics cards, to ensure that users can experience a smooth user experience.
- Development plan: The technical director at Panthea Games said that while they are further optimizing My Time at Portia they are also working actively on developing sequels. Meanwhile, Panthea Games also worked closely with Intel and used the Intel Game Developer Program to enhance market promotion.
Super Buckyball Tournament*
Figure 3. Poster of Super Buckyball Tournament*
- Game introduction: Super Buckyball Tournament is another game being developed by Panthea Games, and is a 3D multiplayer cooperative sports game. The game simulates real physical collisions, and the player controls a hero who uses special powers to win the match. Furthermore, tools are randomly dropped into the arena and can be used for attack or defense.
- Game graphics performance: The scenic design in the game is a real eye-opener thanks to the excellent art design and innovative graphic technology applications, and the game’s cyberpunk style is well presented. Since most game scenes are made of fixed, smaller scenes in this game, the demand on hardware performance is not too high to be able to ensure quality graphics and gameplay. Something worth mentioning is that Super Buckyball Tournament has enhanced AI competitors, which further enhances the human versus computer gaming experience, thanks to Intel multicore and multithreading technology.
- Development plan: The technical director of Panthea Games said they will complete the development for Super Buckyball Tournament and release it on the market soon. Furthermore, Panthea Games will also launch the game on PC, mobile, PlayStation 4*, Xbox* and other platforms, to cover even more gamers.
Earth From Another Sun*
Figure 4. Participant experience, Earth From Another Sun*
- Game introduction: Earth From Another Sun is a multiplayer, cooperative, rogue-like, first-person game developed by Multiverse. Set in the second half of the 21st century, a parallel Earth from 600 years in the future has introduced some trauma to our world after a worm hole was opened up. Haotian, an elite dispatch team member, is sent to the future to learn about the fate of Earth. The random maps, enemies, and rewards in the game, as well as the pressing time-lapse system and the system function combinations create a unique gameplay that gives a distinctive gaming experience.
- Game graphics performance: Earth From Another Sun is set in a parallel universe in the future, and blends together sci-fi and fantasy artistic elements. To create the atmosphere and improve the gamer’s immersive experience, the game features many scenes with dynamic collisions of dense concentrations of particles that require computation by the processor. Real-time monitoring of complex surfaces is required during the game, which places a high demand on processor performance.
- Game optimization: Alex, the head of development at Multiverse, indicated that since Earth From Another Sun involves a rather large number of particle and physical destruction effects, there is a high demand on processor performance, especially when a large number of particles appear at the same time. The rendering of the displacement behavior of the particles also relies heavily on the performance of the processor’s multithreading. Intel provided Multiverse with technical support and helped it to sufficiently use and optimize the use of its multicore and multithreading processors. Furthermore, Multiverse also set up different game graphics options in the published version of the game so that gamers with higher spec equipment can play with better graphical effects, while gamers with lower spec equipment can reduce the gaming graphics effect for a smoother gaming experience.
- Development plan: Jeremy, head of marketing at Multiverse, said that Earth from Another Sun is still being tested, and Multiverse will be working even more closely with Intel to further enhance gaming performance optimization, and improve the game’s basic controls, artistic style, and gaming experience.
Figure 5. eSports Legend*
- Game introduction: eSports Legend is an eSports management simulation game distributed by Coconut Island Games. The player acts as a professional manager of an eSports team to put together a team and nurture them toward global domination. The game lets gamers choose which style of player to recruit or train, what type of strategy to use for each level of competition, and which tactics to use. The gameplay experience makes gamers feel as if they were actually in the game.
- Game graphics performance: eSports Legend has relatively simple graphical elements and no complex scenes, and runs on Intel® graphics to ensure a good user experience.
Intel’s Support for Chinese Game Developers
Figure 6. Intel booth
- The Intel® Game Dev Program aims to support the game development community, from independent developers to large developer studios, and help them to optimize game performance and enhance the user experience. By following this program, you can learn more about technical training, development tutorials, development tools, and kits. Also, learn the development experience of other game development programs based on Intel® platforms, learn how to better plan and design your own games, and receive better technical guidance and software and hardware tool support.
- Intel mainly provides technical support to game development in two ways. First, by helping game developers continue to optimize game performance to get as many games as possible to run at 30 to 60 frames per second on Intel graphics platforms, while satisfying the basic requirement for smooth gameplay. Second, Intel supports game developers by using hardware performance sufficiently, and providing powerful graphics adjustment options. As for smaller games with simple graphics, Intel platforms can sufficiently satisfy game performance requirements. For developers of games that require higher game performance and higher graphics performance, Intel also provides options for powerful multicore and multithreading processing. For example, better particle effects and physical damage effects can be achieved to realize better performance and user experience at the same time, which promotes the development of high-quality games.
Intel® GPA Helps to Optimize Gaming Performance
Intel and Unity have launched a wide-ranging partnership targeted at development of the game industry, game performance optimization, game development technology innovation, and other important areas. During the technology session at Unite Shanghai 2019, Mr. Peng Tao, senior engineer at Intel, shared with the audience how Intel GPAs were used to improve game performance and the gaming experience. Following is the key information shared by Peng Tao:
- Intel is making efforts to help game developers improve game performance, in particular on lower spec PC platforms. After performance optimization, most games can be run at more than 30 frames per second.
- Many small issues could affect gaming performance during the game development process; for example, excessive drawing function calls, long-range view rendering, rendering of images out of view, text rendering, and so on. By reducing or removing graphic effects that do not really affect the overall experience, the smoothness of the gaming experience can be improved.
- Bottlenecks for gaming performance can occur in the CPU, GPU, and other areas. By performing graphical performance analysis, we can determine which applications take up the most GPU or CPU resources, and analyze the frame capture situation, CPU and GPU trajectory, real-time performance indicators, and other areas.
- Intel GPAs are able to capture the Event Tracing for Windows* (ETW) events and graphical API calls for a specific period of time to see how the CPU and GPU process different tasks. This can help developers learn about issues that may occur during the game so that they can optimize the computations and rendering tasks carried out by the CPU and GPU. Intel GPA uses the trajectory data collected while the game is running and provides developers with the source codes being run on every thread, with a view of the associated workload on the CPU and GPU.
- The advantage of Intel GPA is not limited to the fact that it is provided to game developers free of charge; it also helps developers perform detailed analysis without changing the game’s source code. Intel recommends the use of this tool for game performance optimization by all developers.
Figure 7. Mr. Peng Tao, senior software engineer at Intel, makes a presentation
Exploring Cutting-edge Graphics Technology at Unite Shanghai 2019
The technology session of Unite Shanghai 2019 explored a large number of innovative graphics technologies via many different technology demonstrations and industry trends analyses. Dozens of the world’s leading companies, developers, and software and hardware vendors within the industry showcased their outstanding Unity-related technologies, tools, equipment, and content, and demonstrated how they can be used to create high quality, cross-platform, and interactive content.
Figure 8. Unite Shanghai 2019 technology session
- Currently, most games require the best visual effects and the most outstanding performance, and have requirements for high frame rates and low latency. Physically based material rendering, DOTS technology, real-time ray tracing, and other technologies help to significantly improve the visual performance in games to create a more realistic and inspiring gaming experience.
- Besides being used in game development, Unity technology is also widely applied in art production, car simulation, construction, and other areas. Unity’s powerful graphics technology is used to capture artistic inspiration and to find the perfect balance between technology and aesthetics to create stunning visual experiences.
- The technology session also showcased related technologies in augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) development. For example, the large-scale VR project created by The Palace Museum in Beijing uses information from historic records and literature to creatively recreate the vegetation, the animals, the rock garden, and the Court of the Imperial Garden, allowing participants to have a true-to-life experience of the Emperor’s Imperial Garden.
Intel Works with Unity* to Co-create a Wonderful Game Developer’s Community
The three-day Unite Shanghai 2019 event not only showcased Unity’s latest technological achievements, outstanding games, and industry applications, but also demonstrated the strong cohesion of the global Unity developer’s community. Intel will continue to work with Unity to serve the Chinese game development industry, and co-create the ever-expanding and optimizing ecosystem, to inject new innovative vitality into the game industry!
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