Spotlight on Amplify Shader Editor: Making Your Game Stand Out With Custom Shaders

The first opportunity your game has to grab a potential player’s attention is always through what they see on the screen. Before they even have a chance to feel how well your game controls, hear the great sound effects or understand how fun it is, they look at it. In that brief first glance you have a chance to make an impression that may lead to them deciding whether or not they are interested to buy your game. As game production technology becomes increasingly available and more and more games are being released, standing out from the crowd becomes a challenge. Having unique, compelling visuals becomes more important every day.

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Until May 31, Amplify Shader Editor is included free with Unity Plus subscriptions as part of the Accelerator Pack, which also includes 2 other top-selling productivity assets that will help you fast track your development and get your project to the finish line faster. And now the sweetest deal just got sweeter — all subscribers will also receive a bonus Essentials Pack (for a total value up to $375).
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Having great art direction and stylish assets are a positive start, but there is an additional ingredient which can be overlooked by developers. The way that those assets are rendered — specifically, their shaders. When a game engine is preparing to render a frame to the screen there are a few key pieces of data that are required. These pieces include the mesh (or 3D model), the position of the camera, and any lights. We can think of this data as what we are going to render. The missing ingredient is how that data will be rendered as colored pixels on the screen using a program called a shader.
In Unity, shaders must be assigned to a Material. Each Material holds a set of property values. Properties may define things like colors to use, how smooth or metallic a surface should appear, or fields for textures or normal maps. The shader uses the values stored in the material along with its specific rendering instructions to transform all of this data into a two dimensional image on your player’s screen.

Creating custom shaders by writing them in code, either CG or HLSL, is challenging, and has a fairly steep learning curve. Fortunately, graphical shader editing helps to reduce some of the challenges that may arise from typing or syntax errors, and allows you to quickly see the visual effect you are creating. Tools like Amplify Shader Editor offer user-friendly node based visual tools to allow you to create your own custom shaders without typing code. Working in a visual, graphical environment allows you to quickly experiment and try new shader ideas. This improved pace of iteration allows you to hone in on a unique visual style to make your game stand out. In the following Live Training session we will create a transparent, refractive material to simulate an ‘invisibility cloak’ effect using Amplify Shader Editor.  
For additional learning material on Amplify Shader Editor check out this tutorial on the Learn area of the Unity website. 

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Until May 31, the Accelerator Pack, which includes Playmaker, Ultimate FPS, and Amplify Shader Editor, is included free with new Unity Plus subscriptions — now including a bonus Essentials Pack (a total value up to $375).
Along with the amazing value of the Accelerator Pack and Essentials Pack, you’ll enjoy the enhanced features of Unity Plus:
Editor Dark Skin UI
1 month of free access to Unity Certification Courseware
Performance Reporting: troubleshoot and identify issues in real time
VIP Cloud Build Queue, enhanced Unity Analytics, Multiplayer, and more!
For more information and frequently asked questions, please visit the Accelerator Pack page.

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The Accelerator Pack is included with new Unity Plus and Pro subscriptions. If you subscribed to Plus or Pro in the past 30 days, you are eligible to receive the Accelerator Pack at no charge, simply contact Unity Support for assistance.
For current Unity Plus and Pro subscribers, we are pleased to be able to offer you the Accelerator Pack for $75 —  a significant discount of 60% off the retail price of these assets. To claim your Accelerator Pack at this special discounted price, simply contact us at [email protected] Inquiries will be processed in the order they are received.

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Spotlight on Amplify Shader Editor: Making Your Game Stand Out With Custom Shaders