How Stunlock built V Rising’s open world using DOTS

To meet their early access deadline, Stunlock Studios partnered with Unity’s Accelerate Solutions team to fine-tune V Rising’s implementation of the data-oriented technology that powers the game’s sprawling, immersive open world.

Bringing a vampiric vision into reality

How do you efficiently design a vast open world and responsive gameplay for up to 50 concurrent players in a dynamic world that feels alive? Find out how Stunlock Studios used DOTS to execute their ambitious vampiric vision for V Rising, ultimately delivering a game that sold over a million copies in its first week.

  • The challenge
    Building a massive open-world, multiplayer, vampire survival game with a small team
  • Platforms

    PC (Windows)

  • Team members


  • Location

    Skövde, Sweden

Developing on the bleeding edge with DOTS

Unity’s Data-Oriented Technology Stack (DOTS) enabled Stunlock to scale up the size, complexity, and concurrent player count in their game V Rising. During soft launch, the game’s immediate success overwhelmed servers, so Stunlock partnered with Unity’s Accelerate Solutions to get players back to stalking their prey.

VRising vampire bite effect

VRising horseback riding scene

The results

  • Used innovative tech to stream and render more than 160,000 interactable objects in real-time
  • Designed an expansive server-based game world, distributed across a five square kilometer map with more than 600,000 entities
  • Crushed targets with over 1 million early access copies sold in one week
Aiming higher with data-oriented architecture

DOTS and ECS enhance game performance through data-oriented programming, parallel processing, and multithreading. The efficiency gains from DOTS and ECS grants developers more latitude to build bigger and bolder games.

V Rising Combat Montage

Achieving massive scale with DOTS and ECS

When Stunlock Studios set out to build V Rising, they realized quickly that the scale of their vision would require a different design pattern from their previous titles. “We wanted the world to feel alive with lots of destructables and interactibles,” says cofounder and software engineer Rasmus Höök. 

Höök started experimenting with DOTS “because its use cases seemed to fit perfectly with the problems we were trying to solve.” Using DOTS and ECS, Stunlock decreased server strain and minimized client CPU resources, resulting in more concurrent players, lowered system requirements, and a robust tech stack that can scale up to meet Stunlock Studios’s creative vision.

V Rising Inventory view

Getting support at critical times

As with any soft launch, Stunlock experienced a few day one challenges. Something was causing player GPUs to overheat. The team needed to get a solution to their players fast, so they turned to Unity’s Accelerate Solutions team for guidance.

This issue was something that Accelerate Solutions had seen before, so they knew what to look for and uncovered some uncapped framerates on the loading screen and in full-screen UI elements. Two days later, V Rising was back on the path to success. Stunlock saw the value in collaborating with Accelerate Solutions, so they invited a Unity Dedicated Expert Advisor to work alongside their development team to expedite optimizations.

“I'm very, very happy I made that decision to trust in Unity and Accelerate Solutions,” says Rickard Frisegård, Stunlock’s CEO. “We have a bigger and better game because of that partnership.”

V Rising character in a field fighting incoming enemies

Building confidently with source code access

Having source code access to DOTS gave Stunlock the confidence to be early adopters of a new technology. This access made debugging easier and provided a deeper understanding of the Unity game engine. With a clear view into the inner workings of Unity, Stunlock was able to improve performance, debug faster, and customize the engine to fit their needs.

As Höök puts it, “having source code access was really important to us. It helped a lot to be able to fix bugs, make improvements, or look under the hood to see how to work better with the engine.”

Through their partnership with Unity, Stunlock Studios leveraged bleeding-edge tech and Unity Source Code to build exactly the game they envisioned. The payoff has been tremendous – V Rising is taking over the night.

Watch Unite session
Rasmus Höök, Cofounder and Software Engineer, Stunlock Studios

“We would absolutely use DOTS again in the future. The Entities package is much faster to instantiate and update than GameObjects. The packages are streamable, and they are easy to parallelize with jobs because of how the data is laid out.”

Rasmus Höök, Cofounder and Software Engineer, Stunlock Studios
Rickard Frisegård, CEO, Stunlock Studios

“A main factor behind the design decisions for scaling up the world size and amount of players came from the performance boost we were to gain from DOTS.”

Rickard Frisegård, CEO, Stunlock Studios

Power your ambitions

DOTS lets you take control over memory and processes so you can build games at massive scale. With Success Plans and Accelerate Solutions, Unity experts are with you every step of the way so you can innovate with peace of mind.

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