If you have never run Unigine Heaven, it's an extremely impressive tech demo that's currently the best at stressing the Linux OpenGL graphics stacks. Under Linux, the Unigine Engine sports a demanding OpenGL 3/4 renderer that can completely stress the system while providing stunning visuals. It was nearly two years ago that Unigine Heaven 2.0 was released for Linux yet it still remains the most demanding OpenGL workload at the moment.
What's new to Unigine Heaven 3.0? From the press release announcing version 3.0:
- Added Mac OS X version compatible with 10.7+ (no tessellation).
- Added support for Intel HD 3000 GPU (no tessellation).
- Improved support for multi-monitor configurations.
- Added support for NVIDIA 3D Surround (multi-monitor stereo 3D).
- Enhanced NVIDIA 3D Vision support.
- New cross-platform launcher without .NET dependencies.
- Fixed Phoronix Test Suite compatibility issue.
- Fixed minor visual artifacts.
- Improved compatibility with Mesa drivers.
- Improved detection of new GPUs.
It's nice to see Mac OS X support arriving for Unigine Heaven. It was only last year that Mac OS X support for the Unigine Engine arrived (along with Apple iOS support) to complement the long-standing Linux and Windows support for this beautiful game engine. The Intel HD 3000 "Sandy Bridge" support and the "Improved compatibility with Mesa drivers" is the same changes that were made to the Unigine Engine to improve the compatibility with their OilRush game (read Unigine & Mesa Move Closer To Playing Along). Likewise, the multi-monitor work, NVIDIA 3D Surround, and enhanced NVIDIA 3D Vision work is all part of general improvements made to the Unigine Engine in recent months; Heaven 3.0 is simply pulling in a newer version of the Unigine Engine. (Of course, if you follow me on Twitter the Unigine news today shouldn't be a surprise.)
The other important change is the "Fixed Phoronix Test Suite compatibility issue." The Phoronix Test Suite relies upon a special code-path within the Unigine Engine for carrying out the automated benchmarks and being friendly towards our open-source test suite and its needs (set by passing "-extern_define PHORONIX" to the Unigine Engine client). With the Unigine Engine revision found in the previous Heaven release, version 2.5, there was an issue in that code-path that could cause the testing to loop indefinitely. This problem is now fixed. So rather than using the release of Unigine Heaven from two releases ago (version 2.1), it's now safe to upgrade to using Unigine Heaven 3.0. The Unigine Heaven test profile on OpenBenchmarking.org has already been updated against today's public update.
With the test profile already being updated against Unigine Heaven 3.0, the Linux benchmarks have already begun rolling in. Here are some benchmarks from Unigine Heaven 3.0 on a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 "Fermi", benchmarks on an Intel Core i7 laptop, an Opteron-based workstation with FirePro graphics, and (the soon-to-be reviewed) AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics under Ubuntu Linux. The Unigine Heaven 3.0 performance appears to be measurably better than the older Unigine Heaven release while still delivering the same level of impressive OpenGL visuals.
For those wishing to run your own tests of Unigine Heaven 3.0, thanks to the Phoronix Test Suite it's simply a matter of running phoronix-test-suite benchmark unigine-heaven. This will automatically download and install the latest Unigine Heaven followed by automatically executing it in a seamless, automated manner followed by reporting the results. (Though if you have run the Phoronix Test Suite in the past three days, you may need to first manually run phoronix-test-suite openbenchmarking-refresh to pull down the latest Heaven 3.0 test profile data, otherwise just wait a day or two before the data is automatically refreshed when running the GPLv3-licensed Phoronix Test Suite software.)
There's no fundamental change with Unigine Heaven 3.0 like any major demo changes, but just some modest improvements to highlight this promising multi-platform engine. Meanwhile, still slated for release is the Unigine Valley demo that should trump Heaven in terms of its visual quality while pounding the daylights out of your system's hardware and drivers.