The frame debugger in Unity 5

Aras Pranckevičius wrote on the Unity blog about the new frame debugger feature they added to their editor: Frame Debugger in Unity 5.0. The hack, he calls it, is very simple and just consists in interrupting the rendering at a given stage and display whichever frame buffer was active at the moment. Just a couple of days of work; most of the work went into the editor UI.

From the article:

There’s no actual “frame capture” going on; pretty much all we do is stop rendering after some number of draw calls. So if you’re looking at a frame that would have 100 objects rendered and you’re looking at object #10 right now, then we just skip rendering the remaining 90. If at that point in time we happen to be rendering into a render texture, then we display it on the screen.

This means the implementation is simple; getting functionality working was only a few days of work (and then a few weeks iterating on the UI).

Illustration

Illustration from the article: “Here we are stepping through the draw calls of depth texture creation, in glorious animated GIF form”

Oculus Rift and eye tracking

People on twitter are starting to mention that their Oculus DK2 are being shipped or are arriving. Exciting.

Meanwhile some people have mentioned how eye tracking could be a great addition to a VR set, and some have even started hacking their headset. See for example:

So what’s the point? One use is explained in this paper: Foveated Real-Time Ray Tracing for Virtual Reality Headset. In this excerpt from AMD Developer Summit 2013, the rendering architect of the Frosbite engine, Johan Andersson talks briefly about foveated rendering.

Long story short: Oculus and eye tracking could really mean real-time ray tracing in a matter of years.

Exciting. But I’m repeating myself.

The camera work in the game Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is a 2D shooter with an outstanding visual style (and this is where my description ends since I am yet to try this game, even though I already bought it). In this 10mn video, Ryan Meyer explains how the camera system he wrote for the game works.

Bret Victor – Seeing Space

Following on his previous talks on data visualization and programming interfaces, Bret Victor presents the idea of what he calls a “seeing space”, meant to improve understanding of problems in the context of collaborative engineering.

Seeing Spaces from Bret Victor on Vimeo.

Volumetric light scattering

Here are a couple of links on how to render light scattering effect (aka. volumetric shadows):

 

Developing for the Oculus VR

In January, Oculus shared a list of recommendations for a good VR experience as a PDF, and kept updating them since then: Oculus VR Best Practices Guide.

More recently, Tom Forsyth gave a talk at GDC 2014 where he gave some guidelines on what to do, what not to do, and what they haven’t figured yet about making VR experiences. The talk is available in the GDC Vault: Developing VR Experiences with the Oculus Rift.