Earlier this month, I attended the Unite conference in LA, where tons of video game developers working on everything from console games to VR to Android titles converge to talk about the technology they make games with.
The average player might not think there's much interesting in such a tech-y, business-y, jargon-y conference — it's not E3, after all. But if you love games or movies, there were some tidbits you probably didn't know. And some of them are really, really cool.
Project Wight Gameplay Video
The game puts you in control of a now-extinct creature fighting for survival against medieval Vikings. And it looks very, very cinematic.
That's because Unity, the game engine and software that developers met at Unite to discuss, is making big strides to make games more immersive in every way.
Bringing Games And Movies Closer Together
The most striking things I noticed when watching the live presentation of Project Wight were the textures and ground details. I learned in a talk given by the developers at the conference that they're using a technique called photogrammetry, which was also used in Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefield 1. It's really impressive.
But that's not all that's going on here. Unity started out as a game engine primarily for mobile and indie games, but it has developed over time into something much, much more.
To learn more about that, I went to the source: Marcos Sanchez, Head of Global Communications at Unity.
He was quick to cite the company's Adam demo, a video that demonstrates the full power of the game engine. Watch it here.
Rendered in real time, it's as impressive as any Crytek or Unreal engine demo, or as any major E3 game trailer. Sanchez told me the tech is getting so close to CG movie quality, film studios are starting to use it in certain situations. He started with an example from The Jungle Book, a real technical marvel of a film.
"When they were positioning their shots, they used Unity," Sanchez said. "It allowed them to, in real-time, render out a scene and look for different angles ... they were using Unity to render out the scene so they could see what was happening."
When I asked him about future applications, he said, "I think the line is going to start to blur between games and film."
He says filmmakers have started approaching Unity interested in doing entire films in Unity because it's fast and easy compared to existing tech standards in Hollywood.
Maybe we're reaching the point where movies are chasing games as an art form and technical signpost, and not the other way around. We don't know yet when Project Wight will be available, but you can bet I'll be keeping an eye on it.