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August 3, 2021
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Unity acquires SpeedTree creator Interactive Data Visualization

Unity acquires SpeedTree creator Interactive Data Visualization

July 22, 2021 | By Alissa McAloon

Unity has announced its acquisition of Interactive Data Visualization, the company best known as the creator of SpeedTree.

For those not familiar, SpeedTree aids in creating in-game foliage, and allows developers to more quickly populate environments with high-fidelity flora. It has so far been used to decorate the landscapes of games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, Hitman 3, and many more.

As explained by Unity's R&D SVP Ralph Hauwert, "creating natural, organic-looking environments is currently a costly and labor-intensive process. If you’re pursuing a high level of detail and realism, the process of manually creating one tree - not to mention a forest - can take upwards of four months."

SpeedTree aims to accelerate that process.

The current plan is for the technology to become more deeply integrated into the Unity ecosystem over time, starting with the engine's upcoming 2021.2 release.

"With IDV’s SpeedTree suite of products part of the Unity product ecosystem, we can now offer creators native authoring workflows for creating real-time, rich, organic environments," continues Hauwert.

And while there's no mention of the exact amount Unity paid to bring IDV under its umbrella, the press release does note that current plans see SpeedTree remaining engine agnostic despite the acquisition, and therefore still usable by devs using engines other than Unity.

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