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Unigine Releases a Benchmark We Wish Was a Game: Valley

Posted on February 15, 2013 8:55 AM by Rob Williams
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We sure didn’t see this coming. A mere two days ago, Unigine released the fourth major iteration of its popular “Heaven” benchmark, 4.0, and now, it’s gone ahead and released an entirely new benchmark called “Valley” – and wow is it gorgeous. So gorgeous, that we can’t help but wish it were an actual game.

Whereas Unigine’s Heaven benchmark focuses on eking the most amount of detail out of objects in a smaller game field, Valley tones down the level of detail in favor of increasing the draw-distance. What we’re given, then, is a huge valley that spans for miles and at times can be breath-taking.

Here’s a collection of shots I captured during a run of Valley’s demo-looping:

Unigine Valley Benchmark 02

Unigine Valley Benchmark 02

Unigine Valley Benchmark 02

Unigine Valley Benchmark 02

Even with the free version of the benchmark, Unigine allows users to turn on wireframe mode. Doing so reveals the absolute lack of tessellation in this particular benchmark – a stark contrast to Heaven.

Unigine Valley Benchmark 02

While lacking in tessellation, Valley does offer a slew of other graphical features, such as dynamic sky, volumetric clouds (which are some of the best I’ve ever seen), sun shafts, depth-of-field (which does look a little poor at times) and ambient occlusion. A quick run of the benchmark on my personal machine (Intel Core i7-990X, GeForce GTX 680) yielded a result of 40 FPS.

Like its Heaven benchmark, Unigine offers Advanced and Pro editions of Valley. The Advanced version costs $20 and will add benchmark looping, command-line support and CSV reports. The Pro edition is designed for commercial use and adds a software-rendering mode, per-frame analysis and opens up technical support. This edition retails for $500. Linux or Mac OS X user? Unigine’s got you covered.

Given its ease-of-use and spectacular visuals, we’ll likely add Valley to our benchmarking fleet at some point in the future.

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