Simulation / Modeling / Design

Change the Rules of the Game: NVIDIA Omniverse Brings an Arsenal of RTX and AI-Powered Apps, Extensions and DIY Toolkits to Accelerate Game Development Pipelines

Collaboration and simulation platform simplifies complex challenges like multi-app workflows, facial animation, asset searching, and building proprietary tools.

Content creation in game development involves multiple steps and processes, which can be notoriously complicated. To create the best experiences, game artists need to build massive libraries of 3D content while incorporating realistic lighting, physics and optimal game performance with AI. An explosion in the number of Digital Content Creation (DCC) tools to design different elements of a game leads to long review cycles, and difficulties in maximizing iteration. And often, studios are spending development hours creating their own proprietary tools to enable these workflows.

At GDC 2021, NVIDIA introduced a suite of Omniverse apps and tools to simplify and accelerate game development content creation pipelines. Developers can plug into any layer of the platform stack — whether at the top level, utilizing pre-built Omniverse Apps such as Create, Machinima, or Audio2Face; or the platform component level, to easily build custom extensions and tools to accelerate their workflow. 

USD Comes to Game Development

Universal Scene Description (USD), the foundation of NVIDIA Omniverse, is an easily extensible, open-source 3D scene description and file format developed by Pixar for content creation and interchange among different tools.

Because of its versatility, USD is now being widely adopted across industries like media and entertainment, architecture, robotics, manufacturing — and now, game development. 

Luminous and Embark Studios, two of the early evaluators of NVIDIA Omniverse for game development, have adopted USD to leverage the Omniverse-connected ecosystem and accelerate their workflows.

“Game development content pipelines are complex and require us to use the best aspects of multiple applications,” said Takeshi Aramaki, Studio Head and VP at Luminous. “By adopting Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD), we will leverage universal asset and application interoperability across our tools to accelerate time to production and optimize our workflows.” 

Accelerate Workflows with Live-Sync Collaboration and Intuitive Tools

When it comes to creating content, game developers must use various industry tools, many of which are often incompatible. Omniverse Connectors, which are plug-ins to popular applications, provide game developers with the ability to work live and simultaneously across their favorite applications, so they can easily speed up workflows.

And with Omniverse Create, developers can leverage simple, intuitive tools to build and test content, and rapidly iterate during creation pipelines. Use paint tools for set dressing, or tap into Omniverse Physics — like PhysX 5, Flow, and Blast — to bring realistic details to 3D models. NVIDIA RTX technology enables real-time ray tracing and path tracing for ground truth lighting. And users can easily stream content from Omniverse, so they can view models or assets on any device.

Simplify Asset Management Woes

Game developers are burdened with extremely large asset catalogs being built over several years, by thousands of artists and developers, across several studios. Accelerating and simplifying asset search and management is critical to maintaining productivity and limiting cost spent on duplicating assets that can’t be found. 

With Omniverse Nucleus, the core collaboration and database engine for ease of 3D asset interchange, assets are stored as ground truth, and can easily be passed from artist to artist, or studio to studio. 

Plus, with Omniverse’s AI and advanced rendering capabilities, developers can leverage Omniverse DeepSearch to easily search through thousands of 3D assets using still images or natural language, including adjectives or qualifiers. 


An AI-Powered Playground

Realistic facial animation is a notoriously tedious process, but game creators can add enhanced levels of detail to characters using Omniverse Audio2Face, an app that automatically generates facial animation using AI. Audio2Face allows developers to create realistic facial expressions and motions to match any voice-over track. The technology feeds the audio input into a pre-trained Deep Neural Network, and the output of the network drives the facial animation of 3D characters in real time. 

And Omniverse Machinima is a tool that helps game developers create cinematic animations and storytelling with their USD-based assets, or they can seed to their community to generate remixed User Generated Content to promote iconic characters or scenes. Today, Machinima includes notable assets from Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord and Squad, with more to come.

Kit Extensions System

The Omniverse Kit Extensions system enables anybody with basic programming knowledge to build powerful tools quickly and distribute them to the content makers, or to package them into micro-services to empower new distributed workflows. Extensions are mostly authored in Python for ultimate usability and have source code provided, so developers can inspect, experiment and build to suit their needs using a Script Editor.

Image: Extension Manager in Omniverse Kit

Developers can also use the powerful Omni.UI system — an ultra-lightweight, GPU-accelerated user interface framework that is the foundational UI for all Omniverse Kit-based applications which is fully styleable, similar to HTML stylesheets, and works on Linux and Windows with DX12 and Vulkan-accelerated backends.

Graph Editing Framework
For team members without extensive scripting or coding experience, Omni.UI Graph is an easy-to-use graph editing framework to develop custom behaviors for extensions or apps. With Omni.UI Graph, Omniverse Kit and some skills in Python, users can intuitively create and customize extensions at runtime for fast iteration.

Image: Omni.UI Graph – graph editing framework

Dive further into NVIDIA Omniverse for Game Development with free access to our GTC On-Demand sessions, Omniverse Tutorials, and Twitch live streams. For technical questions, chat with our team in the Omniverse Forums, and connect with the community on the Omniverse Discord server.

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