ARTICLE CONTENT
20/12/2023
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Product updates

Setting New Standards. How Zibra Effects' Advanced Real-Time Simulations Bring Liquid, Smoke, and Fire to Life in Gaming

The vast seas of games like Assassin's Creed and Subnautica, the expansive battles in Battlefield and Call of Duty, and the captivating fire magic in Skyrim and The Witcher. 

If you're a gamer and game dev enthusiast, you surely remember those scenes and effects.

Is that the same thing in the games as we see in real life? Hardly. Even the games we truly love and get inspired by have not much in common with realistic water and fire. It's not rare when VFXs look good but lack interactivity, so they aren't really immersive. 

Consider Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, where developers employed a new particle-based fire simulation for more lifelike, dynamic fire effects. This impressive feat, achieved through various particle types to mimic flames, smoke, and sparks, came at a steep cost of tens of millions of USD.

However, the cost of creating authentic liquid, smoke, and fire effects is no longer as high, thanks to the Zibra Effects toolkit.

Making water and fire real in 3D

The journey of game development is fraught with challenges, not least in achieving realistic fire, smoke, and liquid. 

Traditional methods for replicating fluid dynamics, including particle systems and shader effects, are visually striking but demand substantial hardware resources. Fluid simulations, while accurate, necessitate wasting a ton of time to write specialized algorithms and require a lot of computational power.

Achieving realistic natural elements like fire and water is a complex task that requires a careful mix of advanced technology and artistic skill. Fire, for example, needs to be more than visually impressive; it must also exhibit authentic behavior, reacting to the game's environment and player actions, which involves intricate simulations and significant computational efforts.

Water realism, similarly, presents its own set of challenges. Techniques like real-time fluid simulation are resource-intensive, while baked simulations lack interactivity and realism. Striking a balance between performance cost and realism required both technical and artistic expertise and a large amount of time. 

Introducing Zibra Effects 

Zibra Effects offers a comprehensive suite of solutions to streamline the game development process.

It simplifies integrating advanced liquid, smoke, and fire effects into virtual environments, catering to a wide range of platforms and covering a variety of use cases such as PC games, cinematics, and training simulators.  

This ecosystem includes several key products: Zibra Liquid, Zibra Smoke & Fire, and Zibra Effects.

Creators can also benefit from a complementary Assets Library to fast-track the creative process with a ready-made VFX that can be used right out of the box. 

Zibra Liquid 

Zibra Liquid is an extension for real-time 3D liquid simulation. Born from the synergy of a powerful physics solver and unique object representation technology, it's equipped with advanced features that allow you to create high-quality, performant, small-to-midsize 3D liquid simulations.

This tool empowers creators to enhance environmental visuals with lifelike VFX, such as flowing rivers, serene ponds, and dynamic lava streams. It also enables the integration of interactive gameplay elements, leveraging realistic liquid physics to design unique puzzles, obstacles, and more.

Zibra Liquid also introduces a new dimension to visual storytelling, enabling the creation of dynamic gameplay components through real-time simulated liquids. It's ideal for crafting imaginative concepts like elemental entities, shape-shifters, and other creative designs.

Zibra Liquid feature set includes:

  • Real-time 3D liquid simulation
  • AI-accelerated interaction with static and skinned meshes
  • Force fields
  • Numerous physical and visual parameters (viscosity, density, surface tension, color, metalness, etc.)
  • Liquid mixing
  • Foam simulation
  • Liquid initial state baking

Read more on features and specifications on the Unity Asset Store.

Zibra Smoke and Fire 

Zibra Smoke & Fire, utilizing custom physics simulation and the object representation technology applied in Zibra Liquid, enables the creation of real-time, physically accurate smoke and fire effects, along with other functionalities.

This solution includes a multigrid pressure solver and a fully custom volumetric rendering system for Unity. While its core functionality is akin to that of Zibra Liquid, Zibra Smoke & Fire introduces several new features.

One notable addition is an advanced lighting system, which allows for realistic integration of effects into scenes, ensuring they are lit correctly to fit the environment.

With Zibra Smoke & Fire, it’s possible to illuminate environments with real-time simulated fire, like torches that light up walls, or use the light in the scene to enhance the effect, making it more appealing. 

Plugin functionality enables you to use smoke and fire simulation to improve the interactivity of your project with custom game mechanics, such as combat effects, magic effects, puzzles based on smoke control, and more, or you can create immersive VFX of burning fires, smoke trails, and weather effects, such as clouds, dust, debris, and fog, etc.

Both plugins provide access to an API that lets you control the simulation and query data. Using this API, you can create new game mechanics, animate component parameters, programmatically change rendering quality, and many other things.

Check out the Zibra Smoke & Fire feature list below:

  • Three simulation modes: smoke, colored smoke, and fire. 
  • Many parameters, both for rendering and simulation. 
  • AI-powered functionality that enables smoke interaction with 3D objects of any shape
  • Custom, high-quality volumetric renderer for smoke rendering. 
  • Advanced lighting system. Illuminate smoke with multiple lights or light your scene with real-time simulated fire. 

Read more about Zibra Smoke & Fire on the Unity Asset Store. 

Ready-made assets for Zibra Liquid and Zibra Smoke & Fire 

Zibra Liquid and Zibra Smoke & Fire are designed to be as user-friendly as possible. Their core functionality is covered in the User Guide. 

We've curated a gallery of ready-to-use assets to simplify the game creation process. These assets are readily compatible with Zibra Liquid and Zibra Smoke & Fire, allowing you to achieve instant results without the need for manual effect creation.

Our Asset Library already includes a variety of assets compatible with Zibra Liquid and Zibra Smoke & Fire, and it's regularly updated with new additions. These assets are designed for immediate use — drag and drop them into your scene, and you're set to start.

Zibra AI Asset library offers a lot of benefits to game creators, specifically: 

Quick start: Buy an asset and add it to the scene. Everything works out of the box. 

Deep customization: Tweak and modify the asset to fit your needs. Easily change the simulation's appearance and/or behavior with vast customization options.

Cross-platform support: Set up a high-quality simulation for high-end PCs, and with simple parameters change, run a scaled-down version of the same simulation on mobile.

Flexible integration: Easily integrate the asset into any project with comprehensive URP, BRP, and HDRP render pipeline support. 

Zibra Effects for XR 

Zibra Effects is a comprehensive product crafted to fulfill all your creative requirements. Created with versatility in mind, it combines Zibra Liquid and Zibra Smoke & Fire capabilities in one place, offering additional XR support. 

In other words, it’s a game-changer for game dev teams struggling with realistic and immersive assets. 

Zibra Effects unlocks the full potential of VR gaming. It enables the creation of stunning virtual worlds with life-like water features, flowing rivers, dynamic smoke, and intense fire simulations.

Players can interact with these authentic elements, deepening their sense of immersion and engagement in the virtual realm.

Apart from this, it opens the door for numerous virtual training possibilities. Whether it's firefighting scenarios or airplane simulations, Zibra Effects solution provides the tools to replicate real-world situations with authenticity and accuracy. 

Trainees face realistic challenges like water-based obstacles, dynamic smoke, and fire simulations, which are crucial for honing skills and improving decision-making in high-pressure situations.

Zibra Liquid, Zibra Smoke & Fire, Zibra Effects and complementary assets for these tools are available on the Unity Asset Store. 

Zibra Effects ecosystem: tech specifications

Supported Configurations:
Editor platforms:

Windows

  • Supported Graphic API: DX11, DX12, Vulkan
  • Supported CPU Architectures: x64

macOS

  • Supported APIs: Metal
  • Smoke & Fire requires a device with MTLReadWriteTextureTier2 support. Intel Macs without dedicated GPU will likely not satisfy that. All Apple Silicon macs do satisfy this requirement.
  • Supported CPU Architectures: x64, arm64

Build platforms:

Windows

  • Supported Graphic API: DX11, DX12, Vulkan
  • Supported CPU Architectures: x64

UWP

  • Supported Graphic API: DX11, DX12
  • Supported CPU Architectures: x64

macOS

  • Supported Graphic API: Metal
  • Smoke & Fire requires a device with MTLReadWriteTextureTier2 support. Intel Macs without dedicated GPU will likely not satisfy that. All Apple Silicon macs do satisfy this requirement.
  • Supported CPU Architectures: x64, arm64

iOS

  • Supported Graphic API: Metal
  • Supported CPU Architectures: arm64
  • Supported OS: iOS 12 or later
  • Supported Devices: iPhone 6s or newer (Metal GPU Family Apple3 or higher)
  • Supported Xcode versions: 14.2 or newer
  • iOS Simulator is unsupported
  • You can run iOS build on Apple Silicon instead

Android

  • Supported Graphic APIs: OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan
  • Smoke & Fire doesn’t support OpenGL, only Liquid will work when targeting OpenGL
  • Supported CPU Architectures: armv7, arm64
  • Supported OS: Android 7.0 or later
  • Meta Quest 2 and Pro are supported
  • It is only supported in Zibra Effects
  • Smoke & Fire doesn’t support Quest devices.

VR Support:

  • VR is only supported in Zibra Effects
  • Liquids - Supported only in Unity Render mode
  • Smoke - Supported only in Single Pass Instanced mode, except for the Effect Particles feature

Unity version: 2021.3 or later (the latest patch version is recommended)

Supported Render Pipelines: Built-in RP (BRP), URP, HDRP

For console support reach out to hello@zibra.ai

Yana Sobetska
Content Manager

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