Unity Founder: DX12 Alone Doesn’t Give A Significant Performance Boost

Archie Paras
May 30, 2015

During this year’s GDC, Unity demonstrated the advantages of DX12 along with the Unity Engine. Unity’s Graphics Engineer, Kasper Engelstoft spoke during the demonstration about shadow maps rendering in Unity. When using multiple threads, the frame time to render shadow maps was 23 ms but when developers switched over to DX12 the frame time was reduced to 13 ms. Kasper explained however that for this to happen they had to revise their threading schedules.

Developers wanting to include DX12 support in their game engines would need to make top level changes to their framework structure.

GamingBolt caught up with Unity CEO David Helgason learn more details on how the new API will work.

“The API alone doesn’t give a significant performance boost, it simply allows scaling on multiple cores, and that’s what we demonstrated at GDC,” Helgason said to GamingBolt. However he believes that once their threading and scheduling strategies are in place, rendering in Unity will be much faster. The developer won’t require to change a thing in frameworks resulting into native DX12 support. “Once our code is ready Unity rendering will just be faster – most users probably won’t have to change a thing in their projects to receive the performance improvement, because all we will do is scale their rendering on to multiple CPU cores.”

Helgason also talked about Enlighten, a lighting middleware from Geomerics.

“One of the great things about Unity 5 is the inclusion of Enlighten from Geomerics. It’s known for in-game real-time GI, but it also provides is a vastly improved lighting workflow for artists. Faster workflow means faster iteration which means better looking levels and content in general. Part of this is due to an iterative mode which removes the need for explicitly baking the scene. This basically means the scene will precompute and bake in the background and the Editor will automatically track changes made to the scene and execute the tasks needed to fix up the lighting. Many of these lighting iteration tasks will be nearly instantaneous.