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My experience and thoughts on HDRP since its release.

Discussion in 'Graphics Experimental Previews' started by jjejj87, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. jjejj87

    jjejj87

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    Hi everyone, I just wanted to share my experience so far regarding HDRP since its release. I've been using HDRP as a base platform to build graphical assets for my next project that would be using HDRP in the future.

    I've used HDRP for about 3 weeks and figured I'd try to share my thoughts on it. I hope this post can share a bit of insight to those who have yet tried HDRP or have just fired it up but not spending a lot of time with it. I also hope that the Unity HDRP devs can benefit from this in any way they can.

    At the time of this writing, I am basing this post on Unity 2018.2.0b7 and 1.1.1.10 preview version of HDRP. I will be referring to the current Unity as "Legacy" and HD render pipeline, "HDRP"

    Point 1) It is almost ready for production - sort of.
    Despite what Unity Devs say, I think it is relatively ready for production. It has many things constantly changing and breaking, but in general, publically released versions available via the Package Manager is good enough. I can feel the rapid improvement of HDRP week after week, and so far I've found that it is actually on par with the Legacy Unity in terms of stability. The number of patches released after its launch is quite astonishing. Given that HDRP is handling the graphical side of things mostly, starting on a full-blown project seems like a viable option. It will be a bumpy road, but every project is, and I am willing to bet that HDRP will pay off in the long run given a 2-year project versus working on a next-gen graphics project on the Legacy with Asset Store shaders and FX slapped on.
    s0.jpg


    Point 2) It is definitely a huge upgrade to graphics.
    SSS works well and is quite performant. Post-processing seems better (I found TAA and motion blur showing better results) and the PBR seems way better, especially with low gloss materials. I also find it much easier to achieve photorealistic results compared to the Legacy Unity. It is difficult to point out why, but it feels right when I import it to HDRP and I often find myself adjusting the texture a few times compared to Legacy, where I'd adjust for days and still feel something is off.

    s1.jpg
    See what I mean? The transparent backboard and the specularity on the rim always felt "off" on legacy, but with HDRP, I get results!

    Point 3) Real-time shadows are not quite there.
    I've found that the realtime shadows, in general, are not that different from the legacy Unity shadows. Personally, I appreciate the Contact Shadows, but the directional light shadows are just lacking. There are cascade settings that one can play around to control quality - especially near camera - but there is very little wiggle room in those settings that work without glitching shadows of other areas. I tried many different settings but always ended up going back to the default settings. I find the realtime directional light shadows quality to be very poor - not particularly bad compared to other engines, but given the premise that HDRP is aiming to be the HD platform, I find the lack of better shadows strange.

    s2.jpg

    Point 4) Lightmapping is still generally broken and is in dire need of GPU mapping.
    I've had issues with lightmapping from day one of Unity5. Truth be told, both Enlighten and Progressive Mapper is not production ready. It breaks, then glitches, but worst of all, it takes me 5 hours to bake a 100m x 100m scene, only to find out that there is something wrong with the configuration, or the lightmapper just acting out in general. Then another 5 hours and repeat until I flip my desk.

    Obviously, lightmapping is not HDRP's issue, but given that there is no other lightmapping/GI solution available on HDRP either, I thought I should still mention it. Whatever you do, currently on Unity, even on HDRP, you can't achieve lightmapping at its highest potential. You just can't for a production level scene. It is only viable for a small indoor sample scene. Anything beyond 10 x 10 is going to make your life miserable.
    s3.jpg

    Unfortunately, Unity doesn't seem to realize how bad the situation is. There was a presentation done about a year ago with the following title: Bake it til you make it.
    Here is the video link


    It does seem that lately, Unity is working on the GPU mapper
    Here is the video link

    While I am glad that they are working on this, it is almost 2 years late. It should have arrived with Unity 5 in the first place. CPU baking was never viable in the first place and HDRP a few years later is going to suffer. Unity said the GPU baker will be 10x faster, and it sounds great, but if you do the math, the 5 hour bake time will go down to 30 minutes. the 10x statistic could be higher or lower than 10 exactly, but 30 minutes is still a long time for a 100m x100m scene. I just hope that the GPU lightmapper coupled with PLM will be flexible enough for production.

    Conclusion
    Pros:
    • Best graphics hands up and will dominate the future.
    • HDRP team is rock solid and is working hard based on Github activity and release history.
    • HDRP is already amazing this early.
    Cons:
    • Realtime shadows aren't quite there yet.
    • Lightmapping deteriorates the whole experience in general and turns a great product into a mediocre one. Mostly renders the whole graphics department of the engine useless for large projects.
    I hope my review/thoughts helped other users. I only wrote this lengthy post hoping that HDRP will not lose traction over time and carry on pedalling to the metal! HDRP guys are doing great.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  2. antoripa

    antoripa

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    “Point 1) It is almost ready for production - sort of.
    Despite what Unity Devs say and other people moaning, I think it is relatively ready for production”
    That is not the right message.
    HD has been released as preview. Maybe it works for your requirements , but there is an entire world that is about custom shaders. There are a lot of challenge and Unity HD srp Devs are doing a great work, but it is far from production ready .
    Unity Devs are the one that know the status of their product, so community stick on their recommendations. No moaning.
     
  3. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Feedback is not moaning.
     
  4. jjejj87

    jjejj87

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    I have to respectfully disagree for the following reasons.

    "Maybe it works for your requirements , but there is an entire world that is about custom shaders."

    HDRP is a template preset made for the SRP. The approach is to create a high graphics pipeline using the power of scriptable pipeline. It begins with the premise to serve a very specific requirement, not mine, but for creating visuals suited for realistic rendering that is physically correct. Custom shaders would be nice, and the shader graph atm not working with the HDRP is not helping, but you could write your own. To be more exact, if custom shaders is what stops you, then just create your own template using the SRP. HDRP is just a template, and that template in its current status, seems to be quite ready to serve as a template taking everything I said above in account, not to serve an entire world of custom shaders.

    "That is not the right message."

    I am noticing that the use of the word "moan" seems to cause uncomfort, and I have thus removed it. But, other than that, I don't see how my evaluation of HDRP is not the "right message"? In simple terms, my words can be rephrased as "wow, it was better than I expected. I think HDRP could be used at production level given the release history, my project duration and the possible trade off of not using HDRP and trying to achieve same visuals with the Legacy Unity". I honestly fail to see how that sends the wrong message. I also don't get that it is the wrong message because Unity Devs know best. If Unity Devs know best, then why does this whole community and its forum exist? If Unity Devs know best, don't you think every feedback would be a moan? If you had different opinions to share even if it was against my opinion, we could have had a constructive discussion, learn from each other and the devs could also have benefited from our conversation, but what you said leads nowhere.
     
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  5. antoripa

    antoripa

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    Xour feedback is excellent helping the entire users community. Please don't get me wrong.

    HD SRP is a preview. SRP is a preview.That means that is experimental.
    Production means also stable enviroment and business support. Of course everyone is free to do whatever they think is best for them, but it is far from affirm "it is production ready":
    Feedback from community helps to address development and find bug., helping other users,
    A good feedback does not mean that is ready for production.
    We as users, cannot say *despite what Unity devs say" They are SRP stack developers, so if the consider as preview,, that is the only point that count.
    Your wrong message is only your statement that is production ready. That can put wrong expectation in users and can lead to misunderstanding.
    Thank you for your understanding and have a great day
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  6. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I use it, but it needs work (XR/some platforms/broken features/graph). Can I ship with it? Yes. That means for some people you can use it now, but for Unity newbies or people without a strong background, there is not enough support material or docs, so they will struggle to even use it right now. By default, it's not ready for Unity's main customer base :)

    Nice review though (which is what I took your post as).

    And for me, contact shadows are broken but dir light shadows (up to half a mile) are just fine (once heavily tweaked).
     
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  7. antoripa

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    Exactly. And I read few one star reviews to excellent assets because people expected to get it working with new SRP
    Thats the "wrong expectation".
     
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  8. jjejj87

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    I understand the caution and I agree that the documentation isn't great, but if I may, you may be cautioning more than it needs to be. HDRP has enough flags to make people realize that it is WIP (thanks to the preview flag everywhere), what I just wanted to share was the details about it, and for the curious minded, how viable it would be for using it.

    And on that note, I still think it is "relatively ready". It is stable enough graphically and has the benefits of the new 2018.1/2

    Most of the critical issues - for example, lightmapping - is the same in other Unity releases anyway.

    What could work against a newcomer is documentation, shader graph and the general non Asset Store assets incompatibility for shader based assets. However, for me at least, production readiness is largely dependant on whether an engine can do its job on regular basis. Engine issues, in my experience, is a common thing during development, regardless of the brand, history, and age. It just happens due to the complexity that any modern engines have to work with. Heck, I am still running into issues with my shipped game that uses the LTS version.

    To be more exact, maybe I did want to re-examine the expectation that people have established about HDRP - that it is not ready yet. I really really think it is good enough start. Honestly, comparing it to some Asset Store solutions it already is better in many ways.

    Other than that, I do have a question for both hippocoder and antoripa. I obviously opted in to work with HDRP, but what would your evaluation be if you were starting on a high graphics project (first or 3rd person) aiming to release the game 2020 Q3-ish on PC? Would you choose to work with HDRP, or stick with Legacy? I am genuinely curious and want to re-evaluate my decision. Don't want to be regretting my decision two years late.
     
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  9. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    When @SebLagarde says it's ready I will believe him!

    I have already ported my long term project to HDRP. I understand clearly the talent of the people working on it and have properly evaluated it for my needs. It is mine!!! :)

    As far as I can determine they are aiming for a Q1 2019 release but do not quote me!
     
  10. elbows

    elbows

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    For 2020 I would certainly be looking at HDRP. Most of what could scupper this is very hard to anticipate because it will likely be devilish detail that spoils its suitability for a particular project, and that stuff is hard to predict. How many 3rd party assets the project is going to use, and whether these all get updated to work with HDRP in a timely manner, is another factor.
     
  11. jjejj87

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    I am dancing already :)

    One thing that makes me choke at the moment is terrain. I am pretty sure HDRP terrain is going to happen one way or another before 2020, but I am not sure about the viability as no details have been shared. I started working on props and other things that wouldn't be effected by the terrain, but still I am a bit worried.
     
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  12. rz_0lento

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    There's some activity on HD SRP terrain here https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/ScriptableRenderPipeline/commits/gpu_terrain but it's using the old directory structure + no official word on this. I'd expect it to happen during 2018 cycle as it's kinda big limitation for many atm.
     
  13. rz_0lento

    rz_0lento

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    Initial Shader Graph support for HD SRP is already there, it's just not in the version we get through regular package manager atm. But for example latest SRP releases on github have HD support for Shader Graph already.

    It still got some issues, like for example shader graph shaders for HD don't currenly show up correctly in Forward Only mode (from pipeline asset) but they seem fine in deferred.
     
  14. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Terrain is getting a mega overhaul and, along with VFX requires special treatment for HDRP. As everything is still separately trying to complete it makes little sense to bring them together before then. Meanwhile we are happily doing "terrain" with the HDRP lit shader (it's just meshes) and it works wonderfully. We don't have vast amounts to render though.
     
  15. Justin_Wingfall

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    I just hate the fact the GPU lightmapper is only being release in private beta..... like release it to the public already. :( The videos showing it off like over a year ago was cool and all, but now it's like who cares at this point.


    HDRP is great. Performace is great, but the only thing holding it back is.... little to no much needed 3rd party plugins to support it, like Anti Atlasing, Custom Shaders, etc.....
     
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  16. dadude123

    dadude123

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    Check the RSS feed. Whatever it really was that they worked on has been scrapped now anyway.


    Also where did you guys hear of that "mega overhaul" ??
    I must have missed that.
    Because the pain points I have with it are not getting resolved last I heard:
    - less popping with terrain LoD
    - no seams when two terrains of different LoDs are next to each other
    - support for overhands/caves and actual holes in the geometry
    - either not taking so long to calculate the geometry, or preferably simply doing it off the mainthread when loading in a scene asynchronously.


    What I heard from the video where it was last mentioned is that none of those problems are getting resolved.
    And the thing they are working on will be a better editor and general UI tools for terrain.
    Can't find the vid right now, but that was basically it. And all of that split into 3 phases.

    But now that even this is not (from what we can see, not what we guess) even in development anymore... :p

    Personally I find it is not a big problem. Sure the terrain as it is is unusable for me, but I'm building my own solution that is simple and does what I need it to do for now. Having a fancy terrain system that takes care of all of those things would be really cool and probably save me quite a bit of work, but I'm grateful for all the other things they're already doing right now (which are - for me personally - much more important because I would not be able to work around them).
     
  17. elbows

    elbows

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    First off, I assume you mean the Roadmap RSS feed. I would certainly not assume that just because a feature has vanished from the roadmap for now, that it is scrapped, no longer being work on, etc. It probably means something has happened, but it is in no way safe to assume exactly what.

    You did indeed miss something about terrain having a large overhall. It was mentioned around the 15 minutes 30 seconds onwards mark of the GDC Unity 2018 Roadmap talk. The terrain stuff is clearly considered to be a multi-step mission and whilst some of the planned features are all about editor tools, others are not, they are about performance, rendering and overcoming limitations of the current system.

    Anyway I mention the detail from the roadmap talk only to draw your attention to what they had planned, because various timescale/version details in this talk went out of date rather rapidly. A number of things have slipped since, including terrain and the new VFX system. Maybe we will find out more about terrain next week at Unite, or maybe the confusion, lack of detail and unstable timescales trend will continue.
     
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  18. elbows

    elbows

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    To be clear about my slight moan at the end there - I have no problem with the occasional inevitability of features slipping a version or two. I do think that by the time the roadmap video was released (there was quite a long delay releasing that particular video), it was already out of date, and until very recently the roadmap on the website was even more out of date.

    Nor do I have a problem with terrain being a multi-step development process, rather than something we get all in one go. Its really mostly communication I am complaining about, eg not only has info not always been updated in timely fashion, but also a clear sense of what different features are planned for which Unity (or pipeline etc) release are not always readily available. This is bound to cause more confusion when we are talking about a fairly large system like terrain and when we already know that the plan was to deliver different improvements at different stages. The phrase 'this is the year it gets its major update' was used in the roadmap talk, and then performance was mentioned (in the context of what, at the time, they thought they were bringing with 2018.2). Then the multi-stage nature of these terrain improvements was touched on, then talk moved to brushes (which at the time were scheduled for 2018.3, not sure about now), but there really wasnt any detail about what was supposed to come in 2018.2.

    And then, just to make it even more confusing (to me at least), we have the whole HD Pipeline terrain support issue. In my mind I had kind of assumed that they were waiting for a new terrain system before even attempting proper HD compatibility, but a lot of the talk more recently sounds more along the lines of bringing some basic support in HD pipeline for the existing system. I'm not sure if this is in response to delays with the engine side of terrain, and is seen as a bridge to cover the larger gap that delayed terrain improvements has caused, or whether this is a dodgy assumption on my part.
     
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  19. elbows

    elbows

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    Or to put it another way, I'm hoping for a better roadmap talk at Unite Europe, or at least some clarity about specific things, including what has changed since that last roadmap talk.
     
  20. elbows

    elbows

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    Since I am a bit tedious when it comes to detail, I should also have mentioned that in the (now inaccurate) GDC Roadmap talk, 'Terrain Rendering Improvements' also came up on a later slide, around the 46 mins mark. Again this was mentioned in the context of 2018.2, so the info is already out of date, and I'm only mentioning it in the context of what peoples expectations of terrain improvements were.
     
  21. dadude123

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    I see, I've just taken a look at the two points in the video you mentioned.
    No mentioning of the points I mentioned unfortunately. But maybe I'm misunderstanding.
    To me it didn't sound like they'd address those problems mentioned in my previous post at all.

    But enough of the off-topic. Thanks for mentioning that video, that was what I was talking about.
    If you @hippocoder have some more info about that, let me know.

    Sorry for dragging this thread into a tangent!
     
  22. rz_0lento

    rz_0lento

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    I think it has been covered elsewhere that Terrain improvements have been postponed (sorry, I don't have a link). I also spotted the removal from the roadmap a while ago (posted about it elsewhere actually) but it doesn't really mean they have dropped it. I actually hoped for major overhaul for the terrain system myself, so I wasn't all that excited about the improvements shown at GDC. All this being said, it's not said anywhere that HD SRP wouldn't support the existing terrain once done either.
     
  23. elbows

    elbows

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    Well my point wasnt quite supposed to be that they had addressed the exact issues you mention. Just that they spoke about rendering and performance improvements, not just editor tool terrain improvements. And since there is no precise technical detail about the performance & rendering aspects, you cant really say 'none of those problems are getting resolved'.
     
  24. elbows

    elbows

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    I believe this was the most obvious forum mention that terrain improvements were no longer going to make it into 2018.2:

    #3

    I am always exceedingly grateful to any unity staff that inform us about this sort of thing. When I complain about a lack of timely info, I do not mean to include any of these people. Rather, I wish Unity was less shy about providing this sort of information through other channels as well. Personally I really like forums, but there should be ways of discovering this stuff without having to rely on an individual from Unity happening to mention it in any one of many threads here, especially as it can be a bit hard to find again later. An obvious example would be the large amount of high quality information that Seb has taken the time to post about pipelines etc on this forum. This is especially helpful because specific pipeline features to date have not had much of a staring role in official Unity roadmaps etc, and other sources of info such as blog posts tend to focus on specific things and sometimes lack a bit of context about what isnt ready yet. I sure hope this changes in future, and that once things are a bit more settled with the pipelines, future improvements to the pipelines show up in roadmaps and talks like any other future Unity feature would. Obviously I can follow along on github to see whats being worked on already but hasnt made it into a package manager version of a pipeline yet, but I really only have certain posts that Seb has made to give me clues about future features.

    Anyway the amount I go on about things in detail may create a misleading impression about the level of importance I attach to this sort of thing - I'm not sitting here getting really upset about these things, I just talk too much in general! And I know some people moan a lot about delays, which probably doesnt encourage the publishing of 'bad news'. But thats exactly what I'm asking for, since not finding out about delays for a while is a shame and can affect developers planning. If I had gone to Berlin expecting to leant more about the new VFX system, then I might have been most upset to learn about its delay only once I was there and it was conspicuous by its absence. But I was lucky enough to discover the reality via the forum & Seb well ahead of time (and I couldnt go to Berlin this year anyway but lets not let that ruin my point lol). What should really have happened is that (a) these features were on the official roadmap in the first place and then (b) the roadmap reflected them being at risk of being delayed, and then reflected the new reality of what versions they were planned for. Including experimental features.

    See, I dont think a roadmap that 'errs terribly on the side of caution' and doesnt even properly mention certain features that we've been told are coming elsewhere, is a good solution to anything. Whatever happens, people will always moan about delays or about the features they care about not happening, you cant totally stop that even in the best of circumstances. So I dont think Unity PR really saves any face by being cautious in the wrong way with the roadmap in this manner. It doesnt make the roadmap more accurate and useful to completely omit things that are less certain. eg there is already colour-coding to indicate if a feature is 'at risk' or 'delayed' beyond the version it has been ear-marked for, but I detect a reticence in recent times to actually use this feature of the roadmap. I'm seeing more of an 'if in doubt, leave it out' approach, which I think has gone to far (or the roadmap was just neglected for too long during some busy months of this year when it would actually have been most useful). Perhaps 'if in doubt, leave it out' wouldnt be such a bad approach if both the Development and Research sections of the roadmap were not quite so vague (eg description of Development section as 'timelines long or uncertain') or were joined by a 3rd section which hinted at more of a short-medium term timescale features that are looming but arent quite attached to a specific Unity version yet.

    Terrain system improvements are certainly a good candidate to examine what I just said, eg to my mind the story of Terrain on the Roadmap so far should really have been:

    Once Unity mentioned publicly that terrain improvements were coming, and that they were being earmarked for 2012.2, they should have been added to the 2012.2 entry, or multiple different parts of this mission should have been listed, with only the 2018.2 ones listed in the 2018.2 section. Then the 2018.2 ones should have turned orange, and then black (or just straight to black, or orange when first added depending on inside knowledge which I dont have). Likewise I lack inside knowledge about current situation so I cant say where the terrain stuff should be on the roadmap right now, but it should certainly not be nowhere!
     
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  25. elbows

    elbows

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    Oh dear, it really isnt possible to post this many messages/messages of that length, without coming across as more animated about the issue than I intended! Sorry about that, I'm a bit tedious! And I love information, and I dont mind bad news, I mind awkward silence and omissions. Feel free to hire me as official purveyor of bad news if it would help ;)
     
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  26. elbows

    elbows

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    Also sorry for picking perhaps not the most ideal thread to go into detail about that stuff, its just I had thoughts about HD Pipeline features not getting put on the main Unity roadmap, and then the conversation turned to terrain, and with the two combined I couldnt help myself, this felt like the time to get my thoughts on that stuff off my chest.

    But I might have gone on about terrain etc so much that my point about wanting to see specific features of the HD & LW pipelines listed on the main unity roadmap at some point might have been massively overshadowed. Part of this is a confidence thing - I dont mean the false confidence that comes from timescales which can rarely ever be truly guaranteed, but rather ongoing confidence about HD pipelines place in Unity, that its going to have ongoing development resources thrown at it for ever more, and not be treated as not all that much more than an example of what developers can do with the scriptable render pipeline feature. I know that may sound a bit like I have some silly fears or insecurities about the HD pipelines future, when actually I really love what has been achieved so far, but thats because the confidence that the sort of timely, quality information I've just been jabbering on about is lacking, or only coming through the efforts of a few individuals on the forum. Both the roadmap GDC talk and the roadmap itself have barely given a hint of the goodies HD development is adding throughout the year, and they seemed a little sparse as a result. And since the volumetric fog is one of the more important developments to land in Unity for me, I have a bit of trouble getting my head round this sort of thing not featuring. Again I know this might seem a bit silly of me given that HD Pipeline is the basis for visual treats like Book of the Dead, so it is hardly lacking headline billing on the marketing front. I dont know, maybe its not silly, maybe Unity themselves trained me to think this way over the years by treating many new features to a lot of fanfare that was not subsequently matched by much further progress after initial release, and my fears are of history repeating.

    Also keep in mind that I'm the guy thats normally wading into conversations where people are moaning about history of Unity fancy demos not reflecting raw engine capabilities, with me making comments in response about how 'things are changing on these fronts, because a lot of the fancy stuff now/in future is going to end up in HD pipeline rather than being isolated effects created for one demo only'. So its not like I have complaints about the direction Unity is going, or lack high hopes about HD pipelines place in the mix. I just like timely info to keep my faith levels up and to plan for delays/moderate expectations.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
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  27. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    This is the perfect thread for it, keep it coming.
     
  28. elbows

    elbows

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    Thanks for making me feel less bad about my posts! And sorry that I think I added an extra paragraph to the last one after you had already liked it.

    On further reflection I think some of my points are pre-Unite Europe anticipation/anxiety and a slightly empty feeling I was left with after all the Unity GDC stuff was published. I kind of hope that the timing and nature of GDC, which is of course beyond Unitys control, was responsible for that, especially as 2018 on paper seemed/still seems to be a bumper year for things arriving and progressing. Yes a fair chunk of that stuff is on the 'fresh foundations' level which takes time to lead to the 'and look what we built on those foundations' stage. Which, combined with how long ago they first started talking about some of these features, can lead to a lot of repetition and a lack of 'exciting announcements out of the blue' at keynote or roadmap talks. I dont know, I dont like having to read between the lines, and I do remember thinking how it was a bit weird that two of what could be treated as really big announcements (terrain improvements and VFX) were dealt with in a somewhat low-key manner in the roadmap talk. Never mind that they are running behind the schedule suggested in the roadmap talk, I'm just looking for signs of all forms about these and other things at future events such as the looming Unite. If I am treated to massive omissions on this front then I'm back to reading between the lines again and this isnt a game I want to keep playing.
     
  29. jjejj87

    jjejj87

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    This is what I hope Unity does:

    • Keep the current terrain system, but make it compatible with HDRP.
    • Start an open development terrain for HDRP, a brand new system, similar to post processing, focused on bringing quality graphics
    • Further develope the polybrush asset.
     
  30. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    My hope is that it will not use Gaia. I have nothing but admiration for the author but it's just not how we prefer to work. If it does then I will roll my own tools that utilise the hopefully optimised terrain technology.
     
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  31. jjejj87

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    I wouldn't mind stamping, if that is what you don't like about Gaia's workflow, but I would rather prefer something similar to map magic (procedural world generation). As for graphics quality, I expect something like this:
    https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/vfx/shaders/advanced-foliage-shaders-v-5-68907



    Also, grass lod support for 300m+ is a must, the smooth transitioning at distance technique no longer works when foliage itself have specularity/scattering/translucency when the terrain texture doesn't.

    g.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
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  32. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I already rolled something a lot better than stamping. It uses 3D meshes and conforms to those and even transfers any vert cols from those meshes to the terrain and blends them. It does not feature erosion though it's something I could think about adding.

    Using 2D sprites to stamp is not very useful vs the 3D shapes I could add. I stopped working on it because it's not a grand priority for current title and I spend my time where it is needed.

    Things I don't like about Gaia include how many steps it takes to do something, how it isn't a live refresh (mine generated height from 3D depth and was basically free to do in realtime).
     
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  33. dadude123

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    Just out of curiosity, it sounds like your thing doesn't use the unity terrain component.
    Does that mean your "3D stamping" thing can also deal with caves and holes?

    It sounds like a pretty cool workflow actually.
     
  34. jjejj87

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    I'd just be happy if the new terrain system had a non selectable tag. When I do world level adjustments, I either keep selecting the canvas, or the terrain. In the meanwhile, I just wanted to select a piece of rock.

    But yeah, 3d shape stamping with live refreshing would be nice.
     
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  35. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    It merely replaced the textures used by the existing Unity terrain with textures I generated on GPU, from 3D depth of models, then gaussian blurred (for height).

    Ideally I'd have gone with my own meshing, but meshing is really time consuming to do right (you need to worry about uvs, voxels etc).

    But it was much nicer to just move 3D objects live, rotate (greater reuse), scale them and see the terrain just update to that. The terrain was the slow part here, not generating the heightmap.

    I guess you could imagine it was a wet sheet draped over 3D models with suitable concavity along Y.
     
  36. Milanis

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    I am sitting between two worlds at the moment. We're working on an Testbed/Pitch for a roleplay game. I'm an Senior 3D Artist, using Unreal Engine 4 at my regular workplace for a couple of years now.
    This was the engine we started with, one month before "Book of the Dead" appeared on Youtube. With an realistic environment in my mind, it was this moment of disbelieve and excitement at the same time. Could Unity with HDRP be the better solution for our Testbed? Over night, we decided to switch. Now we're sitting here, learning all things Unity, defining the basic game-play elements, animations and last but not least, the visuals.

    In the last three months, we switched forth and back between HDRP and the Legacy system multiple times. Why? It's not production ready yet, but we really want to use it at the same time. We experienced a lot of incompatibility with terrains and other systems. It could be usable, but you can't really predict if it actually works or not. As said, i am sitting between two worlds at the moment. I want to have an early Testbed version running for Gamescom 2018 and an extended Multiplayer version till end of the year with an quality level similar to our UE4 projects and Book of the Dead. We're sitting on a ton of self made Photogrammetry and Megascan Assets, ready to get them married with Gaia and other Third Party tools like MicroSplat but can't use it.

    While i'm working on Characters at the moment (and within i want to support the full glory of SSS, Wrinkles, Hair), we can't really start to be productive on the visual side at all. We switched to Unity because of Unity's Book of the Dead showcase, not knowing that this visual appealing video was just a very good placed marketing ad that came out way too early.

    Here's the question of the day: Should a dev-team start a new project (like a Pitch) using HDRP and just "hope" that important things like Terrain support will be usable in the next two months plus "any!" documentation to learn how SRP works? I've read that Book of the Dead used Unity Terrain - on the other side i can read that its not supported. I've bought assets that are not compatible with SRP yet because of missing information on the Asset store, loosing money.
    We start to love Unity, but what i'm missing the most is some more communication between Unity Dev's and the Community about their current "big switch" from an old system to a complete new one. We all need to make sure that their new system is not just for the hardcore-coder-fanbase. Somehow, they did this stunning video - and there are people out in the wild who switched game-engines because of it. The forums are a good start for sure but its hard to get any usable information out if it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  37. hippocoder

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    I have spent enough time with HDRP to be convinced it is not slightly better than UE4's engine, it blows it out of the water. It's built by some of the best graphics engineers on the planet, and is fully compute-driven. It's frankly - amazing.

    But it is not for the faint of heart right now as you know. I have managed to get visuals that are totally prerender quality all realtime, no baking from it, and that took many weeks of careful testing and examination. These findings will eventually be useless as HDRP makes it's way through docs, tutorials and examples - will be a long way off yet though.

    This is not Unity's fault. Their crime? allowing us to use it this early. With that in mind, you should make a decision. I already made mine.
     
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  38. elbows

    elbows

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    I really think its a question of timescale. 2 months is way too tight, so in that circumstance I would say no, the timing is all wrong for you. The main exception to this would be projects of a limited scope, where you might get lucky and have the parts of the puzzle you need within that timeframe.

    But certainly when it comes to asset store items, its way too soon. The safe assumptions on this front are that if an asset has anything to do with the rendering side of a game engine, assume it wont be HDRP ready until the author of the asset explicitly states that it is. And also, sadly, cannot assume that all assets will ever be made HDRP compatible, for any number of reasons.
     
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  39. rz_0lento

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  40. Milanis

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    Thank you for the honest words. The timescale is short, but that's an issue we can handle. The project itself is small enough to deal with the current situation. At the moment we're thinking about using HDRP but then with an terrain mesh we made on our own, sliced into smaller pieces with LOD. Maybe that will do the trick since the Testbed itself will just be a smaller Island (500m x 500m +-). Its really just the terrain, most other Assets are coming from our side with Substance Materials / PBR Textures. We did not take a look into Shader Graph yet but some node-based Material editor would be nice to have. I bought Amplify Shader recently, we may take a look into it as well.

    I think the Unity Asset store needs some "LW SRP / HDRP" ready button that current market people can pin on their product. Sorry to ask another question. I've seen that a lot of Asset-Store programmers updating to the Lightweight Pipeline, but not HDRP. Is there such a big gap between these templates and they're probably incompatible to each other? My latest information is that LW RP is for smaller projects/devices (mobile?) and HDRP for Projects like Book of the Dead like visual end content (PS4 Pro, etc).
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  41. elbows

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    It's a good idea. I'm not used to Unity being terribly responsive with the evolution of the asset store in the past, but people should request this sort of thing. In the absence of such a feature, if someone started a thread or two in the Asset Store forum, where people could mention assets they know about that are compatible with a particular pipeline, that would be something potentially useful too.

    Yes the pipelines are very different. Compatibility varies depending on which areas of the rendering pipeline a particular asset uses, but in most areas there are many differences in both available features and how they are implemented on LW and HD.

    Reasons you might see more LW assets at this stage ranges from Unity having given the impression a number of times that LW development was far further along than HD. LW also simpler. And for assets that use some shaders of their own, LW has had Shadergraph for way longer than HD, and indeed I think the HD version of Shadergraph is mostly not ready to expose all the features of HD yet, and present version intended more for some degree cross-pipeline compatibility between LW and HD shaders. But I'm not paying too close attention to Shadergraph HD yet so when this information becomes out of date I may not realise for a while and will be spouting out of date info! Other reasons for more assets targeting LW might be more to do with what the asset does, and what they think their largest customer base is, especially as Unity is quite famous as being well suitable for mobile etc end of things. A lot of the high-end visual assets that will be better suited to HD pipeline are probably still waiting to see how things evolve, or have started experimenting with HD solutions but havent taken them all the way yet.

    And yes, LW and HD target different kinds of projects and platforms in just the way you say. If we go into a bit more detail on that, we also get more technical fundamental differences such as HD targeting platforms that support compute shaders, unlike LW. This also means that HD is a candidate for use in some higher-end mobile devices, but the devil is in the detail on this one and its probably premature to explore this since the initial focus of HD pipeline is on getting it working right on platforms such as PC and the more powerful consoles (and to a slightly lesser degree right now, macOS via Metal).
     
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  42. jjejj87

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    HDRP asset store will slowly increase, but I do want to caution you that with HDRP, you should really be going for highend assets and most preferably, 3d scanned assets. Most Asset Store assets are not highend, when it comes to models and graphics anyway.

    Almost every aspect of HDRP is sort of achievable with normal unity + shader assets. I think a combination of Uber shaders and Enviro can alread come damn close to it.

    The question is, what is your target release window. If you are planning to release anything before Q1 2019, then my honest recommendation is Unity LTS.

    Personally, I am set for HDRP and if my projects are not too wrong, HDRP will be regarded as the number one graphics engine by Q1 2019. The platform has capable developers and enough momentum and goal to achieve that.
     
  43. rz_0lento

    rz_0lento

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    One reason why you don't see many assets with HDRP support atm is because it's still very much "alive", meaning, internal things change all the time. Making an asset now for it would mean a lot more work to keep it up-to-date vs when HDRP has stabilized more.
     
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  44. elbows

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    First I'll say that I can agree with that sentiment more if we restrict ourselves to the engines that are widely available to the masses, as opposed to those that are available to far fewer devs for one reason or another, or have narrower scope in terms of platforms, type of games etc.

    As well as factors on the Unity dev side of things, there are other moving goalposts to consider. Most obviously would be that we dont really know how much or how quickly all the raytracing hype at GDC will start to turn into reality in one engine or another. I mean its not hard to say that the nvidia etc hype was laid on too thick at GDC, and that for performance and other reasons we will see raytracing used to achieve certain very specific things within the context of rasterised graphics long before we see fully raytraced realtime solutions (which is where some peoples imagination and expectations went when overexposed to the hype). Anyway, point is that I wouldnt like to place bets on which engine will achieve meaningful results with this sort of tech first. And when results come, they can quickly change perceptions about 'best looking engine'. One example is to use raytracing & de-noising for realtime area light shadowing. But area lights are another example where I have found timescales hard to predict. Its been several years since the research was published, and I long expected that we would have to wait for the pipelines before this stuff started to become a first class citizen in Unity. But often this stuff is just the start, and people like me will still consider such things as unfinished until they support textures, volumetric lighting, etc. Meanwhile, some other engines have not ignored the solutions presented by the research papers, and will on occasion perhaps beat Unity to it, regardless of where the research originated.

    I'm getting old, I would like to put all my eggs in one basket one day, and perhaps that time will arrive. Cant bet on it happening in a particular quarter of a particular year though, especially when key unity features under development inevitably slip in terms of timescale sometimes.
     
  45. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    It's policy for most if not all asset store authors to *not* support alpha and beta. This is something I do 100% agree with because Unity usually does change API before release, as well as features and this has broken many an asset plus all the projects relying on that asset - because the asset author foolishly supported something too soon.

    This isn't Unity's fault nor responsibility TBH, and is standard practise industry-wide. You don't design for a moving target. Expect support to start trickling in after the official launch (which may be 2018.3 or 2019.1 - we don't know).

    In addition it's not actually possible for many assets to support it without a complete rewrite. If you rely on asset store, it had better not be anything to do with rendering :)
     
  46. elbows

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    I agree with all your other points, but I have to say that some of my favourite developers have worked their magic in experimental form on the bleeding edge of things. So long as they understand the implications of that, they are not foolish.
     
  47. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Yeah I considered it. But it's best I said what I said, for obvious reasons. Thousands of people read these forums, and I've got a blue badge. My advice is going to be on the safe side pretty much every time.

    And those asset authors aren't weakened by that point. In the case of HDRP though, some things really aren't possible right now and require rewrites - at least until Unity figure out a form of surface shader.
     
  48. Milanis

    Milanis

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    Hello hippocoder, thank you for the information. We're not in the need to use any store assets at all, but systems like Gaia are pretty good time savers and we're happy to get such big support from asset store developers and the forum community. Thank you!
     
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  49. jjejj87

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    Milanis, I think in your case, your project has started already, and you are aiming to have a sort-of-publicly playable build by year's end which is only 6~8 months away. I honestly don't think HDRP will have matured by then.

    The thing is, my arguement that HDRP is "sort of ready" was under the assumption of 2020 release. The two could be a vastly different experience and could easily be a horrible experience.

    Personally, my project is due to begin coming October, so I feel comfortable enough to choose HDRP as my next platform. I spend my free hours on making graphical assets and small testbeds for my coming project but most of my time is spent on another project which will be over by September.

    I hope it works out for nevertheless. Good luck!
     
  50. elbows

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    Not long till the roadmap talk now, which I'm pleased is being streamed live.

    I'm not feeling very optimistic about certain things, but since its now so close and I already said so much earlier on this thread, I may as well wait before saying anything else.
     
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