What can Unity 4 and DirectX 11 do together?
With the new version Unity 4 introduces support for DirectX 11 which can really take your graphics to the next level. The company released a video explaining a bit about the new features, however we believe it was not enough for the game developers to learn even slightly for all the possibilities.
Using DirectX 11 with Unity 4 means taking full advantage of features like:
The main purpose of this feature is to solve a common problem in current game engines: the upsurge in the number of shaders due to the large number of permutations. In other words, for each kind of material and light the game developers must include a shader in order to handle all cases.
DirectX 11 offers an elegant solution through dynamic shader linkage.
Tessellation is one of the biggest features around DirectX 11 and Unity 4. It is simply breaking down polygons into finer pieces which brings profound improvements to 3D graphics. For example, game developers can cut a square across its diagonal to make 2 triangles and use them to depict new information. You can see the difference in the images below.
Compute shaders provide high-speed general purpose computing and takes advantage of the large numbers of parallel processors on GPU. They provide with memory sharing and thread synchronization features to allow more effective parallel programming methods.
A great example is this demo made by Nvidia showing a real-time simulated ocean under twilight lighting condition.
Unity 4, DirectX 11 and UI
As you may already know, Coherent UI have been recently integrated with Unity. Coherent UI natively supports DirectX 11 rendering and we are really happy that in Unity 4 it is supported too so users will be able to use its features to create better game UI. Inspired by this we integrated one of the Unity 4 samples with Coherent UI components and we made this demo to show you what Coherent UI, Unity 4 and DirectX 11 can do together.
As you can see there is a HUD on the main camera and two more Coherent UI Views on the paintings. You are allowed to scroll and select the paintings, interact with the UI and even play a game within the game. At the same time the performance has improved up to 50% compared to using Unity 3.5 version and DirectX 9.