Unite LA keynote shows incredible new capabilities of game engine and editor

Unity has unveiled a cyberpunk cityscape containing millions of objects and five million AI cars. It’s an epic Blade-Runner like world, but it was created in just a few months by a team of two, thanks to improvements to the engine’s capabilities.

The ‘Megacity’ demo was the high point of the company’s Unite LA keynote, as the three-day event kicked off last night.

The company’s new ECS (Entity Component System) allows the engine to handle the millions objects in the scene, which ran at sixty frames per second. Joachim Ante, presenting the demo, also revealed that the scene has 100,000 audio sources, one for every car, every neon sign, and more – creating a huge, complex soundscape.

While the runtime version of the demo is impressive, it’s equally impressive to see the huge scene in the editor, where it loads quickly, streams in smoothly and can easily be manipulated.

MCV talked to the Martin Kummel, one of the two men behind the demo, in Copenhagen last month.

“The demo was assembled by just two people working part-time on it,” Kümmel reveals. “It’s just me and Janus [Kirkegaard, environment artist at Unity]. With a relatively small amount of effort going in from the art side.”

“Typically in Unity it would not really run that well because [objects] were not stored in an efficient format, so right now you have the entire world here, and basically I have a collapsed group for each city section.” He selects one of the many buildings and then one of the air conditioners on its side. “I open that, and unfold that with the classic Unity game object representation. That one AC unit, you want to move that up, and then collapse that into the streaming ready representation of the city scene.

“Now you’ve got this workflow. This is a big city, but it could be an incredibly dense narrative environment, an interior with all the objects that would be in the real world. The point is not that it’s a big city, we’re environment artists and this was just something we could do in a reasonable amount of time."

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