High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) is a modern rendering pipeline introduced by Unity, aiming to produce high fidelity visuals with realism closer to AAA-quality. The decision of whether HDRP is worth it or not depends on various factors related to your project needs and resources.
HDRP utilizes physically-based lighting and materials, which results in more realistic images. It is designed for high-end hardware and allows the creation of detailed scenes with advanced shadows, reflections, and light interactions.
Features such as volumetric fog, screen-space reflections, and ray tracing (with compatible hardware) are part of HDRP, which can drastically improve the visual quality of your game.
HDRP includes tools for creating cinematic content, including a unified set of shaders that work across both real-time and offline rendering. This makes it easier to achieve film-like quality.
HDRP is resource-intensive and requires powerful hardware. If your target audience does not have high-end PCs or consoles, the performance hit may not justify the enhanced visuals.
HDRP requires a new approach to setting up lighting, materials, and overall scene rendering. There is a learning curve involved, and small teams or solo developers might find it challenging to adapt.
HDRP is mainly suitable for PC and console platforms. Mobile platforms typically use the Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP) or Universal Render Pipeline (URP), which are optimized for lower-end hardware.
For smaller projects or games where ultra-realism isn't a priority, HDRP might be an overkill, and you could be better served by using URP instead.
Here's an example of how you might set up a simple HDRP scene programmatically. However, much of HDRP's setup is done through Unity's graphical interface, so code examples are often unnecessary.
In conclusion, HDRP could be well worth it if you aim to push the boundaries of visual quality in your game and your target audience has the hardware to support it. On the other hand, consider sticking with URP or even the built-in renderer for less graphically-intensive projects, mobile games, or if you're prioritizing a broad player base with varying hardware capabilities.