Let’s talk v1.3
For this release, there are only some minor tweaks to technical quality. There is something that I think a lot of you have been waiting for though. Stars. Lots and lots of stars!
In this first iteration. stars are generated from a number of parameters describing the galaxy shape, size, star color variation and the total number of stars. Stars are split into meshes with at most 65k stars each (due to Unity limitations) and rendered using a nifty little shader. It requires your graphics hardware to support geometry shaders. If you’re still on hardware older than that, though, perhaps it’s time for an upgrade?
How’s the performance? …I hear you ask loudly in your mind. Well, on our modest test machine with an NVidia GTX 960 we got 10 million stars rolling before seeing the framerate drop while also running the volumetric galaxy at a medium setting. Please know that this result is heavily dependent on your star size setting! If you exaggerate your star size a bit, you may see slowdown on comparable hardware as early as a few hundred thousand stars. All in all, the volumetric renderer is much heavier on the hardware than the new star rendering.
So what’s next? Well, like I said, this is only the first iteration. Upcoming updates to this feature may include but also not be limited to:
- Legacy/mobile hardware support for the star renderer
- Star picking (selectable stars)
- Star segmentation and in-software culling to support much, much higher numbers of stars
- Satellite star clusters
Anything you would like to add to that list? Let us know! Find this latest update any day not, in the Unity Asset store!