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Book of the Dead teaser shows off the power of Unity

We’ve all heard the online chatter about Unity, and its relative power and ability when compared with other game engines.

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Unity Book of the Dead teaser

We’ve all heard the online chatter about Unity, and its relative power and ability when compared with other game engines.

It’s quite irrational and ill-informed nonsense, of course. But everyone from ill-informed YouTube shouters to ill-informed Twitter eggs to ill-informed Steam reviewers – are you detecting the theme here? – have got it into their heads that Unity is somehow bad. Worse. Deficient.

They’re wrong, as it goes. A development engine is a tool, and the quality and style of the games produced are dependent on the people making them. The great thing about Unity and other tools, from Twine and Game Maker all the way through to Unreal Engine and Lumberyard, are that they democratise game development, and open creative choices up to the masses. A great artist doesn’t have to be a great programmer, and vice versa.

You can use Unity to learn to make your first game, but it can also be used to produce truly amazing works with top-notch production values, like Gone Home, Firewatch, Kerbal Space Program, and Superhot.

Through no fault of their own, however – and largely because ill-informed people fling their faeces around online with anonymous impunity – Unity finds itself with an image problem.

And how do you prove your haters wrong, when you’re a game engine with an ill-deserved reputation for low quality games? Well, you do this:

That’s a teaser trailer for Book of the Dead, by the way. It’s an interactive demo that’s in the works at Unity Technologies.

It’s been put together by their in-house production team, responsible for works like Courtyard, The Blacksmith, and Adam. If you’ve not seen those – and the rest of the Unity tech demo portfolio – you can check it out on their site.

According to the blurb, “Book of the Dead demonstrates what is possible when using Unity 2018’s new Scriptable Render Pipeline, which provides enhanced customisability of Unity’s rendering architecture, putting more control in the hands of the developers.” A preview of the High-Definition Render Pipeline is coming soon to 2018.1 public beta.

It also uses photogrammetry, which is the technique big development shops use to scan in real-world environments, textures and objects, for extreme levels of photo-realism. And it really shows.

Oh, and it’s going to be playable, when it’s completed. Yes, it’s going to be something of a ‘walking simulator’ – something else ill-informed nerds get bent out of shape about online – but it looks fantastic. The teaser is representative of the gameplay, and promises to blend first-person exploration with cinematic cuts between locales.

In short: “Look at what we did in Unity! Look how freaking pretty it is! Try talking smack about how all Unity games look now!”


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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.