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Unity and Imagination Partnering to Bring Ray Tracing to Real Time Games

Game developers using Unity 5 in the near future will have access to interactive ray-tracing technology from Imagination for cinematic level CG in mobile games


One of the news items from the Game Developers Conference last month centered on Imagination Technologies and its partnership with Unity Technologies, the makers of the Unity game engine and development environment.

The companies were broadening their partnership to include a new multi-faceted agreement around Imagination’s groundbreaking PowerVR Ray Tracing technology and Unity’s industry leading game development engine that will bring photorealistic graphics to the mainstream gaming experience across a wide range of devices.

Integration Into Unity 5

The two companies will work together to integrate Imagination’s real-time ray tracing technology directly into the upcoming Unity 5. This will allow game creators to view in-game lighting effects with immediate feedback at the same level as the final results in the game. The product of that development can be deployed across a range of today’s existing devices.

The two companies have also entered into a longer-term strategic collaboration to blend ray tracing capability seamlessly into the gameplay experience, enabled by consumer devices supporting Imagination’s newly announced PowerVR Wizard Ray Tracing GPUs (graphics processors).

Integrating ray tracing directly into the game engine through this hardware IP solution will lead to interactive game graphics that will look at realistic as CG movies do today. The PowerVR Wizard IP provides programmable ray tracing, accessible within the shaders running on the PowerVR GPU, enabling all mobile developers to trace rays freely within their existing applications, even in combination with existing rasterization methods.

01 - A "before" shot of a scene without hybrid raytracing/rasterization methods.

01 – A “before” shot of a scene without hybrid raytracing/rasterization methods.

02 - An "after" shot of a scene with ray tracing enabled.

02 – An “after” shot of a scene with hybrid ray tracing enabled.

David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies says: “Unity integrated Imagination’s ray tracing software into the Unity 5 editor due to its high performance on the broadest range of consumer laptops, ease of integration and unique future hardware roadmap. We will continue to work with Imagination to fully utilize the PowerVR Ray Tracing GPU IP within the Unity game engine to further enhance the in-game experience and simplify content creation for our developers.”

James A. McCombe, GM and technical director, PowerVR Ray Tracing, Imagination, says: “Today we are seeing just the tip of the iceberg. While many games are just ‘more pixels, same look’ ray tracing technology delivers ‘prettier pixels’ and a new exciting level of realism and creativity to games. We are very pleased to have been able to work with our friends at Unity to provide the performance and integration needed to enable real-time lighting previews directly within the Unity 5 editor, especially on low profile laptops where power-intensive GPUs are not available. With the availability of our newly announced PowerVR Ray Tracing GPU IP, we continue to work together with Unity to ensure that their game engine takes full advantage of ray tracing hardware once it arrives in consumer devices.”

Unity will be shipping Imagination’s ray tracing software in every copy of the Unity 5 editor beginning this year.

To learn more about Unity go here. To learn more about Imagination Technologies visit here.

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