One can never stop learning, and that’s true of developers who are constantly seeking new techniques to realize the things you may overlook in your games. Whether it’s the way light bounces off a character’s skin or consistency in smooth framerate, what you don’t notice means the developer has probably put hundreds of hours into it precisely so it blends in with the game, undetected.
So after the exciting Capsaicin show revealing the logo and brand for Radeon RX Vega, developers ebbed into our venue at Ruby Skye in San Francisco for an incredible line-up of developer talks.
It was, put simply, a talk by developers for developers—much like a discussion roundtable, topics ranged from forward renderer to texture compression all in the name of giving each other some tips, tricks and peeks.
These developers are experts in their craft, so we won’t go too much into the details that may make your head spin—but take a look below to see what they talked about, to give you an idea of how developers are constantly pushing the boundaries.
Arne Schober, Epic Games
“A sampling of UE4 rendering improvements”
Schober gave a quick rundown of Unreal Engine 4, going into detail with a variety of techniques to improve rendering. As the players of the games developers put out, we don’t think about the incredible attention-to-detail these techniques require that make our gaming experience better. Take a look at Schober’s session:
Aras Pranckevicius, Unity
“Scriptable Rendering Pipeline”
To lay out the future of rendering in Unity, Pranckevicius went through an interesting comparison with what Unity is in theory vs. what it is in practice. You may recognize games like Ori and the Blind Forest, Inside, Firewatch, the highly anticipated Cuphead and even Pokemon Go—all built with Unity. With so many games relying on the engine, especially indie developers, Pranckevicius laid out the map of what Unity is doing to improve the overall game development process.
Stephanie Hurlburt, Binomial
“Improving Texture Compression in Games”
The most we probably know about file compression is trying to stuff multiple photos in one Zip file to send to a friend. Hurlburt from Binomial went into depth on texture compression, which isn’t only seen in games but in web apps, mapping software, mobile apps and animated textures. Binomial is responsible for Basis, a texture compressor used by Netflix. With GPU formats improving texture compression, we’re about to see these techniques used more and more for games.
Tamas Rabel, Creative Assembly
“How We Rethought Device Abstraction”
Rabel dove into device abstraction, where current abstraction started with DirectX 9 and updated to match DirectX 10. The main issue with abstraction, Rabel noted, was that while nodes are platform-independent, they aren’t as platform-independent as developers want—they’re built on assumptions and select APIs. See his talk below on how developers are rethinking device abstraction.
Dan Baker, Oxide Games
“Moving Forward: An Optimized Path for VR Rendering”
Where does VR go from here? That’s the big question, and it comes down to new approaches in VR development. Baker closed off the development sessions by looking into the VR sunset, proclaiming that the average FPS is not a useful metric for VR as most run at 90 FPS. Baker breaks down how to make use of available tools more effectively:
Check out what the event was like at a glance: