Volumetric Real-Time Smoke and Fog Effects in the Unity Game Engine ; Indie Game Developers Navigate Risk in a Competitive Market

Wang, Jeffrey, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Tychonievich, Luther, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

Indie developers, using robust low-cost commercial game engines, often struggle to compete in a saturated market. What do they want from game development, and how can their tools be improved to better suit their needs?
Smoke and fog effects are commonly used in games, but real-time implementations of these effects are less accurate than offline rendering techniques. As hardware grows in power, more accurate representations of these effects are possible. A new method of rending smoke effects in real-time is possible by the combination of GPU particle systems and volumetric rendering techniques. The new rendering algorithm is implemented on top of the Unity game engine’s High Definition Render Pipeline. The implementation in this paper acts as a proof of concept that can be improved in the future to offer more realistic lighting, better simulations of smoke, and better performance in real-time.
Most indie games are not profitable, but many indie developers still enter the industry in search of success. Among these developers, different perceptions and attitudes towards success in the games industry encourage some developers to become independent developers and others to become hobbyist developers. The conversation of developers on online answer sites and forums was analyzed to find common attitudes and identify what groups expressed those attitudes. Using this information, it is possible to better predict the effect of certain narratives on the games industry. This helps ensure that developers have the right information to make the right decisions for their personal goals.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Computer Graphics, Real-Time, Visual Effect, Indie Game, Video Games

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Luther Tychonievich
STS Advisor: Peter Norton

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