Maintaining a stable version of Unity while keeping up the pace of innovation

March 15, 2016 in Technology

In response to recent user feedback, we’ve decided to make a full public beta of Unity 5.4 available in addition to our current stable release (5.3.4). This is a direct result of our decision to focus on improving quality, and always deliver stable releases of Unity.

Balancing the pace of innovation and the need for stability has always been a challenge; especially given the mixed feedback we’ve received, which depends largely on what phase of development a given project is in.

Regardless, we’ve been busy shipping updates to the product since the launch of Unity 5 one year ago. We’ve added new build options and features as well as introducing a quarterly release cycle with frequent minor and patch releases. We also launched our public roadmap.

Today, in addition to the stable release of Unity, we’re making a public beta available to all our users:

5.3.4 is our latest stable release. We are focused on continuously improving the quality of editor releases, and we’ve been working hard to ensure this is a dependable and stable release, so we encourage you to upgrade. We will continue to work on further improving the stability of Unity 5.3.x with additional minor and patch releases over the next 6 months.

5.4 is our public beta. With a focus on and commitment to stability, we’ll be making Unity 5.4 a public beta to allow more time for testing. In fact, moving forward, Unity betas will be available to everyone, including Unity Personal Edition users. Read more about what’s in the beta here.

Once we are confident in the quality of our public beta, it will be promoted to a stable release. From that point onwards we will begin shipping minor and patch releases for the new stable release of Unity (e.g. 5.4.x), and we’ll also continue to provide patch and minor releases for the previous release (e.g. 5.3.x) for a few months.

This approach to releases will allow us to make new features available faster and ensure that everyone who wants to check out our latest tech can do so. But more importantly, by opening up access to betas and enabling everyone to provide valuable feedback, we can ultimately work towards ensuring that our releases live up to your expectations.

As Unity coverage and usage skyrockets, the diversity of applications made with Unity continues to grow, and with them the number of edge cases that our QA passes may miss. We very much appreciate your feedback on releases and encourage you to file bug reports both on betas and on stable Unity releases using the Unity Bug Reporter accessible through the Help menu.

We’d love to see lots of you open your projects in the Unity 5.4 beta. It contains a wealth of performance improvements and upgrades to the out of the box visual quality you can achieve with Unity. We hope and expect that your Unity project can benefit from these many improvements right now.   

We are fully committed to delivering the highest quality product possible, and we look forward to shipping new releases to you in the coming months.

Comments (38)

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  1. Bryan Thatcher

    March 27, 2016 at 12:10 am / 

    Yea, there is nothing more infuriating that hearing about all of your terrific new features, only to have existing the ones we were counting on to earn a living stop working.

    You have always had previous releases available. All you have done is rename your already late 5.4 release to Beta because you couldn’t get it working.

    Slow clap……………………

    At lease your PR gut knows what he’s doing.

    1. Edward

      March 28, 2016 at 10:43 am / 

      This is exactly what I though after the release date came and went, then a sudden public beta and a push of the “real” release date back to June. Using the beta for several months It’s very obvious they have broken more than they have fixed (unrelated things that have been stable in 5.3)

    2. ellon

      March 29, 2016 at 4:37 pm / 

      +1

      Maybe they might feel a lot of shame when they had to change 5.4 release into beta and delay to june so suddenly.

  2. Robert Kabwe

    March 26, 2016 at 7:51 pm / 

    I think this is a great idea.

    It must be tough for you guys too basically maintaining 3 – 4 concurrent editors. I think a lot of devs are right there with you – in order to support various platforms like Apple TV, performance issues and compatibility I’m mirroring 3 project files in 4.6.8, 5.2.2 and 5.3.4, and now testing in 5.4 – i think all of us want to focus on just one release:)

    Stability is REALLY important. It’s safe to say millions of people love Unity very passionately, and if we can rely on upgrading without production breaking changes, that will have as much value as introducing new features.

  3. usama khan

    March 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm / 

    can we code in c++ in unity

  4. Vladislav Smirnov

    March 23, 2016 at 10:08 am / 

    New personal edition splash screen looks wirse, to my mind. It’s some sort of unprofessional..

  5. isbudoyo

    March 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm / 

    Kerdonmiri

    1. isbudoyo

      March 20, 2016 at 1:54 pm / 

      Good nigth, friend is all n your country.

    2. isbudoyo

      March 20, 2016 at 1:59 pm / 

      Mt mlm tuk smua teman n salam knal.

  6. Romano

    March 17, 2016 at 6:22 pm / 

    That’s a good concept.

    is there a way to install the unity beta and stable release at the same time?

    I’d like to try beta, but that will mean overwriting the already existing stable 5.3 release on my machine.

    How can I give feedback to unity about the beta? Is there a bug tracker?

    1. Ricardo Arango

      March 18, 2016 at 7:38 am / 

      On OSX you can rename the folder where Unity is installed to something different (e.g: “Unity5.3”), before installing the second version. The new version will be installed to the “/Applications/Unity” folder.
      On Windows you can select the destination folder where Unity will be copied to, during the installation process.

    2. Richard Fine

      March 18, 2016 at 7:42 pm / 

      As Ricardo says, Unity is perfectly fine to have multiple versions installed side-by-side – you just have to be careful on OS X that you rename your existing Unity install first, as we always install to /Applications/Unity on OS X.

      For giving us feedback, there is indeed a bug tracker – there’s info here on how to submit reports.

      1. Rob Aldred

        April 14, 2016 at 10:46 pm / 

        I’ve tried renaming Unity folders on OSX but the renamed versions don’t work.
        Whenever I try to start a project with it, it just hangs.

  7. Flavio

    March 16, 2016 at 11:49 pm / 

    Olá amor,

    que texto lindo!
    Eu sei o quanto é recompensador fazer posts frequentes!

    Tenho escrito sobre Gmail no site Revista Ícone

    Beijos!
    Flavio http://www.pearltrees.com/flaviobecker

  8. Adam Thompson (@EmotionTheory)

    March 16, 2016 at 8:54 pm / 

    Can anybody advise on the most efficient way to upgrade Unity installations without having to re-download gigabytes of data each time – or is this just the norm?

    For eg. with the Unity installer, there is a large list of checkboxes for each module. If my previous installation checked all of these, am I to check them all again for future updates?

    It’s a sincere question since I’m always a little anxious upgrading Unity. All responses appreciated!

    1. Karl Jones

      March 17, 2016 at 5:20 pm / 

      You need to tick the same boxes for each version. You can’t take the downloaded modules between versions as they will have changed. We are working on things so one day this may not be the case but for now you do need to download them all for each version.

  9. Hertzole

    March 16, 2016 at 5:24 pm / 

    Since you say that Unity betas will be available to everyone, does that mean even 5.5, 5.6 etc and even things like the new 2D tools that are currently hosted on bitbucket?

  10. Inno

    March 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm / 

    I have a question about retina Support. It says retina will be supported for 5.4 but it not yet supported. I have been waiting for years for. it is only supported on Mac OS but not on Windows. When can we expect Windows Support of HiDPI? Thanks.

  11. artyomisflash

    March 16, 2016 at 9:42 am / 

    How about 3D effectors? That will make water simplier to make.

  12. Terry Pratchett

    March 16, 2016 at 8:51 am / 

    THX, MAN!

  13. Jesse

    March 16, 2016 at 4:35 am / 

    Thank you! Does the 5.4 BETA allow support for 9Slice and 2DSprite tiling ?

  14. Dudester

    March 16, 2016 at 4:30 am / 

    I say bravo unity , this is the right direction to take .
    Unity always surprises me with how much they actually care about what the community thinks .
    So bravo and thank you for taking your time , Dont rush it at all I can wait for a well performing and stable release so again thanks and keep up the good work!

  15. Pedro

    March 16, 2016 at 1:51 am / 

    When are you actually going to fully update all the documentation and tutorials? Every update seems to break some old functionality of the tutorials projects. I want to learn on my own and teach other people, and messing about fixing old projects doesn’t help at all.

  16. Jack

    March 15, 2016 at 10:58 pm / 

    Thanks

  17. Christopher

    March 15, 2016 at 10:32 pm / 

    You need to focus on your unit tests. You add a feature and break things not even related. “Around 300 unit tests” is a joke for a project this large and so many platforms. That needs to be your first step to making things right.

    As some point you need to deal with the serialization, it’s such a mess and is the root of a lot of the issues developers run into as well as you guys do implementing features. From what I hear, it is the main reason your number one requested feature (nested prefabs) keeps getting abandoned.

    I still am skeptical, the entire 5.x release has been a joke. There are great features hidden in there but it is so buggy and quirky it isn’t even up to 4.x in terms of reliability. Building in 5.x is so damn slow now as well, Cloud Build isn’t the solution for everyone.

    1. Richard Fine

      March 16, 2016 at 7:03 am / 

      I’m not sure where you got the idea that we have “only 300 unit tests.” Calculating the exact number of automated tests that we have in the codebase is nontrivial because we have many different suites that are run at different times, parametrised tests, etc – but we ran over 16,000 unique tests (i.e. not counting running the same test again) on the 5.3 branch between 5.3.3 and 5.3.4.

  18. Michael

    March 15, 2016 at 10:05 pm / 

    It’s a really good move to open up your beta to Personal Users. I feel it’s a great move to help Unity get more feedback on what’s working and what’s not. My personal project will most likely move to the Beta but at my work we will use the stable

  19. Peter

    March 15, 2016 at 7:23 pm / 

    This is very much appreciated and needed! The 5.x cycle so far was far from optimal to us, targeting iOS. What we (my team) need from Unity is a robust and fast engine. We don’t feel we need more feature than the current version already offers, this might of course totally differ from project to project.

    We’re still stuck with 5.1.x due to performance issues in more recent Unity versions. We tried to update to 5.2.x a few weeks after it has been released, but experienced many crash issues that made us decide to roll back to 5.1.

    This was when we realized upgrading Unity just doesn’t work as smooth as we expected and put a lot of effort into an experimental build of our game that builds with 5.3 and runs automated tests to (hopefully) catch many crashes and performance issues that we report to you guys hoping to get a stable and fast build.

    Unity 5.3 seems to be more robust than 5.2 at the time, but suffers from performance issues (Case 761024), which I believe is the main reason why we didn’t upgrade to 5.3.

    Thanks for concentrating on bug-fixes and performance issues. Looking forward to every new beta!

    1. Richard Fine

      March 15, 2016 at 9:56 pm / 

      This was when we realized upgrading Unity just doesn’t work as smooth as we expected and put a lot of effort into an experimental build of our game that builds with 5.3 and runs automated tests to (hopefully) catch many crashes and performance issues that we report to you guys hoping to get a stable and fast build.

      Did you build your automated tests on top of the Unity Test Tools? One thing we’re very interested in doing is finding games that have done this, and actually bringing their test suites in-house and making them part of the tests we run regularly. Reach out to me (richardf@unity3d.com) if you think this might be an option for you.

  20. Stephen

    March 15, 2016 at 7:06 pm / 

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you…

  21. Alex

    March 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm / 

    …. for varying definitions of “stable.”

    I look forward to Unity 5.3 truly stabilizing. Patch-level releases should not introduce new features.

    1. Richard Fine

      March 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm / 

      Patch-level releases should not introduce new features.

      We agree – you should not expect to see new features arrive in 5.3 releases.

      1. Joel

        March 15, 2016 at 7:02 pm / 

        Hah, you posted right while I was writing my reply. Awesomesauce. Glad to hear it.

      2. Scott

        March 15, 2016 at 10:01 pm / 

        Glad to see Unity agrees with that. Personally, 5.3 was a disaster by releasing the multi-scene stuff, causing unplanned work on our part to fix things up and also caused big issues for several middleware packages we use, some of which still are not fixed properly.

        1. Tethys Interactive

          March 16, 2016 at 5:57 pm / 

          Indeed, you nailed it – for people with a live project, updating to Unity 5.3 was a disaster(from 5.1), especially if you use a decent amount of third party assets from the asset store. It took us a couple weeks to put everything back together and fix stuff, and we still have the quality settings bug in our LIVE GAME on Steam. Still waiting for Unity to fix it – currently users cannot change the quality of textures due to the bug in builds – if they do all UI textures gets jacked up. Both the UI bug in builds and the Multi Scene editing bugs just seems like results of not testing enough.

    2. Joel

      March 15, 2016 at 7:01 pm / 

      This is key. We’re currently focusing on this in my non-Unity day job (300+ developers and QA). Stable branches should only release fixes, not new features unless it’s absolutely necessary *AND* a completely tested back-merge. And even then, only merge to the Version.X unstable stable branch before merging to Version.Release stable.

  22. Trigve

    March 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm / 

    That’s a very welcome move, I think. Now, if they try to get rid of this bastardized “issue tracker” and get a real one, would be even better.

    1. Scott

      March 15, 2016 at 9:58 pm / 

      Agreed. I would personally love to see Jira for tracking.

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