Today, at the biggest show in the game development industry, we threw the veil off of Unity 5 and announced that it’s coming this year! This release is about combining all perspectives of game development together. We’re adding crazy fancy middleware to Unity, helping you out with your business, optimizing the engine dramatically, creating better workflows and filling gaps where we knew we could do better.
You will be blown away.
Unity 5.0 ushers in the 64-bit era, we’re upgrading PhysX to the newest and most powerful 3.3, and a new multithreaded job scheduler will be introduced so that you can light all the cores on fire.
But the biggest thing of Unity 5.0 is our new physically-based unified shading system (example screenshot below) and the new Geomerics’ Enlighten real-time global illumination engine.
If you haven’t heard of Enlighten yet, it’s the most advanced lighting system the games industry knows and is used for some of the most beautiful games today, across many art styles. For examples, just take look at Battlefield 4 or Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare both.
The lighting workflow is made even more incredible by the first-ever in-editor real-time lightmap previews based on Imagination’s PowerVR Ray Tracing technology. Artists receive near instantaneous feedback on changes to lighting in-scene while lightmap baking completes in the background meaning artists can keep playing and refining without interruption.
Game visuals often get the most glory, but without the backing of incredible sound, the best of game designs falls flat. That’s why Unity 5.0 is introducing a completely overhauled sound system, which is much more robust and has visual tools for sound designers. The entire audio pipeline was ripped out and reconstructed to be more flexible and efficient. The first huge addition to this pipeline is our awesome Audio Mixer providing the power to create highly complex and dynamic soundscapes in game.
There are a load of other improvements as well. Several big changes to Mecanim like StateMachine Behaviors make the tools even more incredible. NavMeshes get an upgrade, SpeedTree is integrated, and a set of 2D physics effectors add important changes that affect a wide variety of developers.
Unity 5 will also introduce our Unity Cloud integration, a big part of our new focus on helping developers succeed beyond phases of game construction and in the crowded and competitive landscape of mobile games. It’s integrated, easy to use, and gives developers the tools to cross-promote their games with other developers via interstitial ads.
But that’s not where it stops, not by a long shot. Unity has long been one of the leading engines for games on the web and it’s a position we take seriously. That’s why we’re finally announcing the work we’ve been doing with Mozilla to get WebGL and asm.js support in Unity. The results are already pretty awesome. In fact, we’ll have a nice shiny playable WebGL demo of Dead Trigger 2 (big thanks to our friends at Madfinger!) at GDC, so make sure to drop by and take a look! WebGL deployment will be available as an add-on in Unity 5.
And, as you’d expect, Unity 5 is available now for pre-order from the Unity Store. You can also feel free to contact your local sales rep. Those who pre-order Unity Pro 5 will also receive Unity Pro 4.
Btw. if you were wondering, the new GUI system is getting really close and it’ll be included in Unity 4.6, which will also be the last major update in the Unity 4 cycle.