Do people still use the standard render pipeline in new Unity projects?

I'm curious to know if anyone chooses to use the standard pipeline instead of URP or HDRP and why? I completely understand when it is needed to support legacy projects and assets, but nowadays in 2023 I don't see any advantage to starting a new project with the standard RP. Any arguments for it?

In my own projects, I go with URP for mobile and anytime high performance is needed, and HDRP only for high fidelity projects. I much prefer having Shader Graph and the other features that come with them.

I also want to know because I'm an asset creator and wonder how much time I should spend testing and providing examples for standard RP. I see it more as a legacy feature, though maybe I'm wrong?

HDRP is too demanding for the stuff I'm currently doing, URP seems to me a lot more limiting and tough to extend (at least in the ways I'm used to) than built-in every time I try it.

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Alot more users use BuiltIn than you think. As AcidArrow posted, HDRP is too heavy most times, and URP really is just for mobile. So for PC you have 2 choices BuiltIn and HDRP. Ive been using BuiltIn for years, and heres why:

  • I can make BuiltIn look close to HDRP.
  • BuiltIn can use at least 80% of the assets on the store, try that with URP or HDRP.
  • Legacy can be used, but i never use it, but its an option other RP's dont have.
  • BuiltIn most times is a more solid version of Unity.
  • Overall BuiltIn is the most supported, and has the most options, and the least amount of restrictions.
  • New users tend to start with BuiltIn.

As a asset store developer you have to cover all bases, as we never know what direction Unity is going to go in, or what may change.

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I was using URP for a bit, and was so burnt out by the random errors and differences in features that I decided the best move was to start from scratch on the built in pipeline. My process of thinking is that countless good games were made on it without a problem in the past, so why would I need to use the new features? I understand wanting the new RP features, but people have been able to get what they need from built in for years so I will too and not have to worry about small annoyances anymore.

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I'd probably stick with built-in for as long as possible for new projects. With a few assets here-and-there to add soft shadows, volumetric light and such, you can get it to look really good and it's pretty easy to use.

I have a few custom shaders that I like to use. Right now there's no easy way to create a shader with a custom lighting model in Shadergraph, whereas in built-in I've finally learnt enough of Unity's surface-shader template to do whatever I want.

I feel like URP does not have feature parity with built-in at the moment. I don't know if it ever will, or even if that's a goal that Unity has.

I could imagine adopting HDRP eventually (HDRP looks great) but the learning curve is steep. I don't if I can really explain it well. You have physically accurate light levels and you have to use "exposure" and tone-mapping to compress that in to the relatively tiny "computer monitor" color space. The default setting is to adjust the exposure automatically based on the overall light level, so it's difficult to visually judge what the actual brightness of anything is by looking at it because your point of reference is always shifting. It makes it difficult to compose a scene that looks like how you want.

On top of that, it seems like there are hundreds of environmental settings and multiple levels of overrides which can affect the overall levels of the scene, so it's really easy to get lost in the weeds.

I eventually gave-up on physical accuracy all together. I just set the exposure to a fixed amount and set the lights to where they look about right.

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All of the responses to this post so far have been really helpful and I definitely will include standard examples in my next update.

I can relate to running into limitations and issues when switching from standard to URP or HDRP. More or less though I’ve learned to work with it and accept the differences. There are tradeoffs with each.

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I agree. I’ve used HDRP a lot in my personal projects and understand enough, though certainly can’t claim any mastery over it. Dissecting a project like Enemies is daunting and although it demonstrates the capabilities wonderfully, in reality it takes a dedicated team of specialists to achieve something like that. It’s cool to see but isn’t very practical for a solo dev like myself.

So true! Many times I’ve run into problems that have taken hours going through all the various settings to figure out how to resolve it. I’ve done some work with custom render features too, but it’s not easy to figure out or get working in a short time.

I am currently using URP in a new project but that is due to the fact that some rendering stuff requires features that are only available in it. Otherwise I would still be using Built-In. It's more stable. Has far more documentation. Has an unlimited number of shaders all over the internet freely available and most importantly, I am far far more familiar with it which is of the utmost importance when I want to make progress quickly on a project. I really can't understate that last point. I only adpot new tech for big projects if it shows itself to be a) required or b) I've spent enough time with it already in small unimportant things that I feel confident it will save me time in the long run. URP and HDRP have so far not met that second criteria and I've been playing with them for years now.

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That is just untrue, as the docs say URP is for all platforms. I believe the plan is for URP to replace builtin eventually, although they may have a battle there

well given the default install hasnt urp template downloaded and the default 3d is builtin… i feel this summerises where most people start

Sorry about that, yes URP can be used in PC too, but its mostly used in mobile dev. If you were to Poll URP users, at least70-90 % are mobile devs...

Unity recently added support for inline ray tracing, so you can dispatch rays directly from pixel and compute shaders. What did they use to demonstrate it? Built-in, of course, because it's the quickest way to bolt together a quick and dirty full screen render pass.

Also:
- No surface shaders on URP/HDRP.
- Number of shader variants go out of control way too easily.
- Very limited ways to implement graphics settings for PC games.
- Render pipeline frame logic runs on the same thread as your C# game logic (good luck making a 60fps HDRP console game).

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Hands down i use BuiltIn every damn time for a project. I can get close to HDRP look by the end of the project (4k textures, camera tweaks, etc.), and performs better than HDRP. Not to mention the compatability with asset store and shaders.

Good luck trying to dev your project in URP or HDRP, ill wait, lol.

It’s really just a war of attrition. Eventually the built-in just won’t work with your average hardware due to lack of support and maintenance. No need for Unity to even push the subject or try to justify the new pipelines. They will be the only viable option.

In the present situation though, I have to say that I feel for anyone trying to maintain anything in the asset store that needs to touch any of the pipelines. Years ago I used to provide one that used the UI system and I just couldn’t keep up with the rate at which updates would introduce new bugs while fixing old ones that I had specifically accounted for, then swapping the fixed and broken stuff with every other update. That sounds like a pizza-cake compared to what renderpipeline-based assets need to deal with.

I'm glad I asked the question because I have learned a lot and value the various perspectives on it.

One of my gripes with it all, though no clear way to fix it that I can see, is the difficulty in switching between render pipelines. Although there are are tools to convert materials to the current RP, they don't really work well and mostly it requires some tedious work reassigning shaders and remapping any properties that reference them (such as animations etc). Also, there are often no equivalent shaders and so compromises are required.

I've thought about creating a tool to help with the process and have scripted some, but the problem is complex, especially when it gets into using any custom or 3rd party shaders. One tool however that has been very helpful is Curved World (a very cool asset!) which has an editor that displays materials by shader and allows bulk reassignment.

Switching between render pipelines on a frequent basis is probably not the ordinary case, however I've gone through the process many times. Not only for managing assets I sell in the store, but also for converting between HDRP for high quality rendering features, and URP for real time mobile performance using the same assets.

I will say the converters are getting better. my main project never used to convert to urp, now does, its darker but thats a lighting thing and i do get more fps if i do it. Im just not sure if i need it, or am just doing it because it seems the in thing to do…