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Check Out: 5.6 Is Now Available and Completes the Unity 5 Cycle
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Why Is Unity3D The Most Highly Preferred Game Engine?
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Unity 5.6 Beta Is Now Available, Brings Vulkan Support And 60% Boost In Performance Out Of The Box

Developed in June 2005, Unity is a cross-platform engine for gaming developed by Unity Technologies. It’s used to develop video games for PCs, mobile devices, consoles, and websites. Now extended to twenty-seven platforms, Unity is and has always been, known for its ability to develop games on multiple platforms. It’s one of the most successful gaming engines in the history of game development. More recent versions of Unity came with improvements in game graphics and lighting, as well as a highly optimized rendering pipeline for both VR and AR devices. The unity team is known for delivering an outstanding and stable product on release, removing all bugs and introducing new features like the new unified OpenGL rendering background.

On March 31st, 2017, Unity 5.6 was released and, as the Unity team has announced, this will be the final installment in the Unity 5 cycle. It includes Lightmapper preview, Vulkan support, a new video player, new light modes, and much more. This is a massive improvement compared to the version that was released two years ago. Here is what  Unity 5.6 brings to the table in terms of mobile game development.

The highlights of this release at a glance:

  • Incredible lighting improvements:  The new Unity 5.6 adds the Progressive Lightmapper preview. It has the ability to provide immediate feedback when trying out different lighting scenarios. It also offers new Light Modes, which allow for both baked lighting and real-time lighting for static and dynamic objects.
  • Graphics Performance improvements:  Unity 5.6 introduces another new feature, GPU instancing. It enables a new variety of effects that can be used where numerous, similar objects are needed at a very low-performance cost. Compute shaders for Metal is another feature that allows the developer to add more details to games by tapping into the raw power of both the chipsets of Apple iOS and MacOS.
  • Support for Vulkan:  This is extremely important for reducing driver overhead and CPU workload while increasing development speed. As a result, the CPU becomes free to do any additional computation or rendering. This also saves on battery life.
  • Particle System Updated:  There is a massive update on the particle system for this version of Unity, giving the user more control and more options. It also improves the actual Particle System performance.
  • Video Player:  The old video player is replaced by a new one which enables playback of four thousand videos and allows developers to build 360° Virtual Reality experiences.
  • Improvement in the Navigational system:  Unity 5.6 offers improved AI and pathfinding tools, known as a NavMesh system. It enables a whole new set of use cases and gameplay options for character navigation.
  • New 2D tools:  Complex 2D objects can be easily created using the new 2D tools available with Unity 5.6. The new features include new varieties of gameplay and effects. This is inclusive of particle effects that are featured when interacting with 2D objects.
  • TextMesh Pro: One of the top performing tools on the Unity Asset Store, TextMesh Pro can now be natively integrated with Unity 5.6. It features advanced text rendering and dynamic visual text styling.
  • Performance reporting: Performance reporting now collects native crashes for iOS. The Profiler improvements and Physics debug visualization make it easier to find the source of performance issues.
  • New platforms:  The addition of compatibility with Facebook Gameroom, Google Daydream and Cardboard for Android means that the engine has made huge advances in compatibility. Nintendo Switch Support is another compatible platform that is available.
  • Experimental support for WebAssembly:  There is now experimental support for WebAssembly, a cross-browser technology.
  • Unity collaborates:  Unity Collaborate makes it simpler for teams to share, save and sync their Unity projects. This enables developers from around the world to contribute to the project. With Ignore Files, included in Unity Collaborate, the user can ignore files and directories in your project that aren’t needed. Another valuable aspect is the new Rollback feature which allows the user to generate a previous version of his or her project. This is extremely helpful for undoing unwanted or unintentional changes.

With Unity 5.6, everything seems to get easier. It’s a fully integrated development engine which can provide rich, out of the box functionality that allows the user to create amazing games and other 2D/3D content. Unity’s rapid and productive workflows help the developer drastically reduce time, effort and cost of making interactive content. Particularly, Unity 5.6 adds many exceptional improvements in graphics as well as the new impressive improvements for shading that include reflection probes and physical shading. All these features are securing Unity 5.6 as the future of game development.

 

The name of Unity3D is familiar to almost every game enthusiast out there. Assassin’s Creed, Temple Run and Escape Plans are some of the names which would make any gamer worth his/her salt cheer loud and wild. All three belong to the house of Unity Technologies, the company credited with fashioning and developing some of the most famous and addictive games in video-gaming history. The game engine of Unity3D company was created back in the early 2000’s as a tool for development of their GooBall project. Later, GooBall received a grand launch at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. As expected, it was a hit overnight and was essential in helping to pry the process of game development from a handful of oligarchs who were monopolizing the scene. Indie developers from all over the world were able to lend expression and realization to their talent. It is owing to this platform, provided by Unity3D, that GooBall has stood the test of time and passed with flying colors. Here are some of the most prominent factors that make Unity3D one of the most preferred game engines of all times:

  • First things first Unity3D has a tremendous amount of convenience operationally. The amount of control it exercises over the interface display of its website is enough to hook anyone who takes notice of it. The visuals are designed in such a manner that they focus completely and single-mindedly on the workflow and processes related to game development. It is also markedly simple to use; any object on the screen can be adjusted and its position altered with a simple drag-and-drop action. The feature of the ‘inspector window’ can be used to properly examine the features and action carried out by an object. You can adjust the settings for the raw images and background script to be displayed on a screen, in the game.  It also includes certain plug-ins which help to make the Unity3D interface seem compact and seamless while running the game. The result heightened capacity for productivity.
  • Another cardinal point is the flexibility of the script. Almost every game engine out there can boast of having a visual editor, but only Unity can truly claim to have a broadened approach regarding the behavior of game objects. Instead of being limited to only the inbuilt modules that come embedded in the engine in its original form, it expands its capacity to lend support to high-level languages such as Java and C# and scripting languages like Boo. What’s more is that one could use all the three languages at the same time while working on a particular project. This essentially was the founding stone for Unity3D’s popularity. With its features allowing for both Java and C group languages to be used in the same project at the same time, it allowed game developers from diverse technological backgrounds to work freely on any type of project while using the Unity3D platform.
  • The use of computer languages in script form ensures that program execution is fast, iterations are done pretty quickly and designs have a consummate flexibility to them.
  • Coming to the last, but definitely not the least point, in terms of capacity, to inspire awe, any game designed by enlisting the help of Unity3D would be compatible on any platform and on any Operating System (OS). Windows (All versions), Linux, Macintosh, Android, Flash, iOS—everything can work perfectly well with whatever project is designed using Unity3D as a platform. This has been a source of huge relief to game developers since this feature successfully eliminates any worry of having to work on making a game compatible with various devices and systems.

In conclusion, one can only say that it is little wonder that Unity3D has proved itself to be the leading player in the gaming and game engine development industries. Chances of any other firm prevailing over Unity3D in the near future seems extremely unlikely.

Unity Technologies announced the official launch of Unity 5.6 beta recently. It will be available for all users including the users of the personal edition. Unity 5.6 beta consists of many new features and improvements that have been made to benefit the users and their projects. This beta release includes a refined editor and 2D features, a new video player, and better graphics performance. Unity 5.6 beta will also support Facebook Gameroom and Google DayDream. If you have not signed up for the Beta Program, you can do so by visiting the beta testing section on Unity3d.com. From there you can check the guide and download the installer. Let’s look into what 5.6 beta offers.

Graphical Improvements

The overall graphics has been greatly improved,  including the Particle System and GPU Instancing. The new drawing function allows you to draw many instances of the same mesh using an instanced shader with arguments that are supplied from a ComputeBuffer. This new way will have no CPU overhead at all.

The company has extended the system of attaching custom data to the particles in 5.6 beta which was introduced in Unity 5.5. Metal compute support is added for iOS and MacOS. The animation system will also support tracking the view position and will keep it in place when you are navigating between the State Machine of an AnimatorController. This will avoid unnecessary scrolling. EncodeToEXR is added to Texture2D which allows the user to save the content of any HDR texture to an EXR file.

New Video Player with 4k Playback

A new Video Player is included in the 5.6 beta. The video player has been built from scratch and bears hardware accelerated performance in mind. High-resolution 4k playback is now possible on even modest handheld hardware along with videos supporting alpha channel.  The user can use the video hardware capabilities of both the editor and target platforms.  The company will add supports for codecs in the future.

Support for Facebook Gameroom

Facebook Gameroom is an easy way for developers to bring games to the PC. This allows them to take full advantage of the CPU and GPU.  With Unity 5.6 beta you can install your projects to either the new Facebook Gameroom desktop app for Windows as a native window player or to Facebook.com using Unity WebGL support.

Support for Vulkan

Vulkan is a new generation graphics and computes API. It offers high-efficiency and cross-platform access to modern GPUs on both mobile platforms and desktop. The design of Vulkan allows it to run multiple threads in parallel by taking advantage of multiple CPU cores.  This feature of Vulkan is beneficial in reducing the workload on your CPU and leaving free space to do an additional computation. Vulkan support will improve the performance out-of-the-box up to 60%, in other words, the improvement is achieved without using any specifics of Vulkan API. If users make use of clever tweaks, they can actually improve the performance even more.  Use of Vulkan will take graphic performance to the next level in the Unity 5.6 beta. The company has announced that the final release will run on Android, Tizen, Windows, and Linux.

The Unity 5.6 beta also supports Google Daydream and has features that will improve the 2D game development workflow. There are a wide array of elements that are beneficial for the user and that improve the performance of Unity 5.6 beta.

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