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Our latest beta release includes improved editor and 2D features, better graphics performance, a new video player and support for Facebook Gameroom & Google DayDream.

We are excited to announce the release of the Unity 5.6 beta. The beta release is available to all Unity users, including Personal Edition users.

We hope that your projects will benefit from the many features and improvements in the 5.6 beta. We look forward to your input and to delivering increasingly polished releases throughout this coming beta cycle.

Please check the release notes for a list of the known issues.

Join our beta testing process

If you are not already part of our Beta Program, it’s simple to get started. Head over to our beta testing section on Unity3d.com, check the guide and download the installer to get access.

If you experience problems in the beta

If you experience issues with the 5.6 beta, we encourage you to file a bug report using the Unity Bug Reporter accessible through the Help menu in the editor, and post in the Beta Forums.

What’s in the 5.6 beta?

Support for Vulkan – Take graphical performance to the next level

Vulkan is a new generation graphics and compute API that provides high-efficiency, cross-platform access to modern GPUs on desktop and mobile platforms. It’s designed to take advantage of multiple CPU cores by allowing multiple threads to run in parallel. This means increased speed with reduced driver overhead and CPU workload, leaving the CPU free to do additional computation or rendering. In total, we’ve seen a rendering performance improvement out-of-the box up to 60% using Unity – that is without having to deal with any specifics of the Vulkan API.

In the 5.6 beta, use Vulkan to take the graphics performance to the next level, and at final release, Vulkan will run on Android, Windows, Linux, and Tizen.

Graphical improvements: Metal Compute, instancing, particles & much more

The 5.6 beta also includes a lot of improvements for overall graphics, including the Particle System and GPU Instancing.

The new DrawMeshInstancedIndirect function allows you to draw many instances of the same mesh using an instanced shader with arguments supplied from a ComputeBuffer. This new way of rendering instances via script has almost no CPU overhead.

In Unity 5.5, we added support for attaching custom data to your particles, which can be accessed from both script and shaders. In the 5.6 beta, we have extended this system, so that you can configure it directly in the Inspector, making it simple to define curves and colors, which can be used to drive custom logic in your scripts and shaders. As a bonus, colors defined in this module can also make use of the High Dynamic Range, something that hasn’t been possible with our particle system until now.

We have added a physically based rendering material validator enabling Albedo and Specular values to be validated against acceptable ranges. Albedo values can also be validated against user defined luminance ranges.

We have also added support for Metal Compute in 5.6 beta for both iOS and macOS. The compute shaders are written in HLSL just as for other target graphics APIs in Unity, and they get translated to Metal Shading Language (currently limited to Metal v1.1).

As for the animation system 5.6 beta supports tracking of the view position to keep it in place when navigating between State Machines of an AnimatorController, thereby avoiding unnecessary scrolling.


Finally we have also added EncodeToEXR to Texture2D. This allows you to save the content of any HDR texture to an EXR file on the disk.

Several new features improve the 2D game development workflow

We’ve been working hard on more 2D support, and are happy to announce several new 2D  features in the 5.6 beta.  

The new Axis Distance Sort addresses Z sorting problems by enabling you to set the Transparency Sort Mode to a custom axis. With the Sorting Group Component, you can render a set of objects separately from others on the same Sorting Layer. It ensures that all renderers that are children of the sorting group are sorted together, making it  useful for managing complex scenes.

The Outline Editor is a new addition to the Sprite Editor Window providing the ability to either automatically generate a selectable level of tessellation, or manually edit the mesh shape of the sprite. We have also added numerous improvements for 2D Physics, including a 2D Physics Casting API and a new 2D Contacts API. Using the new CompositeCollider2D you can now merge multiple types of colliders into one combined collider.

We’re introducing 9-Slice, a 2D technique which allows you to reuse an image with variable dimensions without preparing multiple assets. This allows you to stretch or repeat defined areas of an image as dimension changes, providing a quick technique for creating platforms or backgrounds while still using a small amount of texture memory.

The particle collision code for 2D colliders has also been completely rewritten using the new SIMD library, resulting in a significant performance increase.

New Video Player with 4k playback

The 5.6 beta contains a complete new Video Player rebuilt from scratch with hardware accelerated performance in mind, high resolution 4K playback is now possible on even modest handheld hardware, along with videos supporting alpha channel.It aims at using the video hardware capabilities of both the editor and target platforms.  It has H.264/AAC hardware support available on a wide variety of platforms, and VP8/Vorbis software implementation for situations where using H.264/AAC is not possible or desirable. Support for other codecs will be added in the future. The Video Player simply works as a new game object component for playing back movies in your scene to provide immersive interactive video experiences with high quality hardware accelerated performance. We are also working on 360 degree support for the Video player. To see a demo of how it works check out the keynote from Unite 2016:

New Features for Unity Collaborate

For those not familiar with Unity Collaborate already, it’s a new cloud based service enabling small teams to save, share, and sync their Unity project, so the team is always up to date. It’s easy to use so the entire team can contribute to the Project, regardless of location or role, thereby improving the workflow significantly.

Based on customer feedback from earlier Betas, we’ve added some of the most requested features including Partial Publish, which lets users to publish selected files; previously, you’d have to publish all changed files at once.

With Ignore Files you are also able to ignore files and directories in your project you don’t want to push to the project, and the new Rollback feature enables you to open up the Collaborate History window and in just a few clicks revert the changes to your preference.  

iOS Support Added for Unity Performance Reporting

Unity Performance Reporting automatically collects application errors, across devices and platforms, so it’s easier for you and your team find and address issues in real time. Performance Reporting for Unity 5.6 beta will capture and report crashes recorded for iOS games.  Expect support for even more platforms in the future.  For now, try out Performance Reporting on your Unity project.  No code required,  just click the On switch for “Performance Reporting” in the Services window.  

Google Daydream & Cardboard VR support

The beta supports native Google Daydream. To get optimal performance and latency from the platform, we integrated with the Daydream NDK to leverage the platform’s asynchronous reprojection and VR performance modes.

Compared to the Google VR SDK for Unity released at Google I/O, we now provide a more streamlined workflow, significant optimizations and reduced latency. No prefabs, scripts or manual manifest modifications are required to get started–simply enable VR and add Daydream as a targeted platform to begin making your own virtual worlds.

We have also made it easy to switch in and out of VR mode so that your applications can easily expand to the Google VR audience.  You can also have your application target Google Cardboard with native support. Applications which target Cardboard will work on older devices so you can reach as many users as possible. At this time, Cardboard support is exclusive to Android with iOS Cardboard support coming soon.

If you are interested in learning more about Google Daydream with Unity, see the Unite 2016 Daydream presentation.

Support for Facebook Gameroom

With Gameroom, Facebook has introduced an easier way for developers to bring high-quality games to the PC, and take full advantage of the CPU and GPU native power as a dedicated PC app separated from the news feed.

With the beta you can deploy your projects to either the new Facebook Gameroom desktop app for Windows as a native Windows player, or to Facebook.com using Unity’s WebGL support.

Everything you need comes integrated with Unity out of the box, from sharing content with Facebook friends to handling in-app purchases—you can even upload your builds to be hosted by Facebook directly from the Unity Editor.

Physics Debug Visualization

It can sometimes be hard to tell what objects in your scene should and should not be colliding, especially when the Render and Collision meshes are out of sync. To help you quickly inspect the collision geometry in your scene, we have added a debug view mode for physics collision geometry. It’s designed to provide a “ground truth” for what is going on in our physics middleware and to quickly find the corresponding Colliders in the Unity scene. It also serves as a profiling tool as it can hide all sleeping Rigidbodies, as well as show all concave MeshColliders.

Exposed physics depenentration functions

We’ve exposed two new functions, Physics.ComputePenetration and Physics.ClosestPoint, to help with writing custom depenetration functions. This is useful for custom character controllers as well as other game code where you need extra control over how something reacts to the surrounding Colliders. The functions exposed don’t require to position anything prior to the call thus saving on the cost of updating the spatial search structures.

Notice there is a moving sphere as well as the static capsule. The sphere is moved around while clearly overlapping the capsule. Notice as well that there is a red ray from the centre of the sphere showing the direction and distance the sphere needs to be translated by in order to be completely separated apart from the capsule

Coming soon in 5.6

We have several other features coming in 5.6 cycle which are not part of this beta release. The most notable is the new Progressive Lightmapper for baked lightmaps providing fast iterations and predictable ETA

When we launched Unity 5.0, we replaced Beast with Enlighten for both baked and realtime global illumination (GI). The brand-new inhouse solution for baked lightmaps is built on industry leading technology, which greatly increases baking performance, makes bakes much more robust and less prone to producing artifacts.

Progressive lightmapping greatly improves the workflow for baking lighting in a scene, and we have added an ETA on the progress bar so it’s easy to see when the bake will finish.

To see the progressive lightmapper in action check out the keynote from Unite 2016.

In beta 2 we’ll add light modes. Light modes are replacing mixed mode lighting, providing flexible and efficient ways to merge baked and realtime shadows. This come with the ability to bake shadowmasks, providing seamless “past realtime shadow distance” shadows. The result will be a high reduction in realtime shadow distance for increased performance. Realtime shadow fade out has been added for every light type and rendering path.

We have also redesigned the lighting window for better usability, and added a new Light Explorer window to streamline the work of lighting artists.

Unity 5.6 wraps Unity 5 cycle, what’s next in 2017?

Check out our blog post with all the details about Unity 5.6 concluding  the Unity 5 cycle, and what’s coming next in 2017.

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  1. How I can fix this problem in 5.6
    Use of UNITY_MATRIX_MVP is detected. To transform a vertex into clip space, consider using UnityObjectToClipPos for better performance.

  2. Richard Copperwaite

    1月 20, 2017 5:00 pm

    Hi, really excited by 4K/360 Video Player, excited to see Unity finally getting some more mature video support.

    So I’ve given the beta a try, and although the new player does appear to support 360 videos, there doesn’t appear to be any support for stereoscopic videos, particularly 360 split image videos. Are there any plans for the importer to support TopBottom/LeftRight Split Stereo videos?

  3. Will sprite masks from the experimental preview be making it into 5.6?

  4. Ok, I’ve just figured out that for some reason my comments does not upload if I have links in them. Great.

    I am searching for example projects with effects mentioned in Unity 5.4’s blog post, particularly “Viscous volume effect” and “Shimerring particles effect”.

    Can I get those effects somehow? Or maybe I can read about them somewhere?

  5. Sorry for my last message – for some reason one of my previous messages got completely lost.

    I am searching for test projects with effects mentioned in Unity 5.4’s post:

    Particularly this effect:

    and this one:

    Can I get those effects somehow? Or maybe I can read about them somewhere?

  6. I wish unity would put more effort into bugfixing and consolidating the features that are there.
    I dont want to say unity is buggy but there are some disturbing issues with it.

    I like the effort to give more 2D support.

  7. Great demo on the video playback. Can we please get more information on how she did the destinations demo? I would love to test this out.

  8. Sorry for the typos :)

  9. Will you be able to open work created on 4.5.1 in your new version?
    It is annoying that with 5.5 none if the work I’ve created in past few months will open.

    I now have several versions of Unity on my Mac. Not an ideal way if working.

    —-

  10. Unity keeps a collection of Colliders in the scene, right? Can you please expose that? If not, what does Unity use in Physics update for collisions of all active Colliders?

    FindObjectsOfType is slow, as stated in the docs. Currently, I’m keeping a static list of scene’s Colliders and ones I instantiated, but there’s gotta be an easier way.

    Thanks

    1. Frank Tinsley

      1月 7, 2017 7:10 am

      Why are you using FindObject? Why not just have a script attached to any object with a collider listen for the collision callbacks and have it tell whatever system is interested in collisions?

  11. Please can we have the demo files to get 360 video working? Inside shader?

  12. Yesss more physics expose :D
    Is it now possible to handle collision physics on my own for kinematic rigidbodies?
    Will OnCollision methods get called for kinematic-kinematic collision?
    I should depenetrate on FixedUpdate, am I correct?
    Suppose kinematic-kinematic collision will call OnCollision and I use the depenetration ray, will it still call OnCollision or do I need to reduce the ray length a little? Do I need to have it overlap a little on every physics update for OnCollisionStay to be called?

    Thanks

  13. Unity UI need a List View or some thing like that.

    1. For now, you can make something similar with VerticalLayoutGroup, ScrollRect, Mask, ContentSizeFitter, and LayoutElement. Yes, it’s quite a hassle.

  14. Does this include fixes for onDesiralise and onSerialize for the UMMORPG asset?

    1. Epic features! Please don’t forget to update the API docs for UNET/MatchMaker/HostMigration/HLAPI/Lobby 2 major versions behind <3 docs are more important than features, sometimes.

      But really though these features rock!!

  15. Then Enlighten will be totally replaced or only the bake system?

  16. What happened to http://WWW.GetAudioClip() ? If it’s being removed, what’s it being replaced with?

  17. Looking forward to the update on DrawMeshInstancedIndirect! Will make a fine addition to my / systems, especially the grass one!

  18. Nonato Sousa

    12月 14, 2016 2:32 pm

    Nice job :). I would like to know if Facebook games are gonna run on mobile devices via facebook.com, I mean, using unity webGL through mobile browser. Thank you, you’ve doing a great job at Unity.

  19. Stefan Pulciu

    12月 14, 2016 2:28 pm

    Any news or updates for the multiplayer system or any ETAs ? Earlier this year three phases were mentioned and I’m curious as to how things are progressing and where you guys would consider we currently are, end of phase 1 maybe? Thanks!

    1. Lárus Ólafsson

      12月 15, 2016 1:54 am

      We’re currently done with phase 1 yes and started with phase 2 work, however, we’ve since gone back to stabilising, improving and bug fixing the foundation so to speak and are holding off any big feature work until that is done, back to polishing phase 1 so to speak. Improvements which are coming are more like phase 1.5 (NAT punchthrough support, dashboard improvements, improving existing features). Unity 5.6 does contain a big improvement with in the network transport itself (stability/performance). We’ll have an update on the future roadmap in january.

      1. Faizan ghasura

        12月 16, 2016 9:26 am

        Please provide support for Samsung gear vr

      2. Hi Lárus,

        What would even be better than stabilization is API doc updates. There’s sparse/conflicting updated documentation for UNET, HLAPI, lobby (or anything pregame), and HostMigration (confirmed broken in June, any news on this?).

        Also some love in the multiplayer forum while you guys don’t have docs ready yet. Even 1 line replies would help us all. We’re dying here without proper docs :/ in game has 25 pages, pre game has 8 bullets.

      3. Great, have been waiting for built-in NAT Punchthrough.

  20. Excellent Stuff. Keep ‘em coming. I’m dreaming of a completely new UI for 2017 with customizable key/mouse bindings so I can make Unity editor work with the same input as my other tools. How about it? I like the “personas” concept from Affinity Designer. Keeps the UI clean and focused on the current task.

  21. The new pathfinding system is here? when it will come?
    10x

  22. What happened to all the 2D level design stuff?
    Been waiting for this for over a year..

    Unity doesn’t even have a snap-to-grid functionality.

    1. Apparently 5.6 is going to have a good amount of 2D stuff so I guess we just have to wait until later on, probably closer to release in March. D:

  23. Caleb Stevens

    12月 14, 2016 1:10 am

    I finished my first game and published with unity personal edition. And I use unity ads. I’m hoping to one day, when I have enough revenue, pay you back.

  24. Carlos Cabral

    12月 14, 2016 12:26 am

    New 3DS support??

  25. Great! I hope the new NavMesh also lands in 5.6.

    1. Yes – it’s available from 5.6b1.

      Make sure to check out the open-sourced components building on top of the extensive low-level API : https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/NavMeshComponents

      1. This is looking so AWESOME, I’m digging in to the docs now, and will be testing it out thoroughly :D

  26. What happened to the jobs system and timeline? They won’t come in 5.6 ?

    1. Timeline and the new job system will be coming some time in 2017. Keep your eyes on our roadmap, and we’ll also have some more updates about what’s coming in 2017 at GDC.

      1. By the way consider renaming Timeline. We already have enough issue googling Unity UI, timeline is another super generic term that will make searching for solution online a nightmare.

        1. Robert Cummings

          12月 14, 2016 4:52 am

          Then you learn how to use google and prefix the search with “Unity”. Context works!

        2. Ever heard of :
          1-Ubuntu Uniry interface( context match)
          2-Unity UI meant as editor gui ( context match)
          3-Unity older GUI methods( context match since google can’t distinguish UI name from UI generic word).

          This is the first result of Unity timeline :
          https://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/animeditor-UsingAnimationEditor.html

          Searching on the roadmap page this is the first result of the timeline word :
          In-progress, TIMELINEs long or uncertain

          So tell me context do really matter?
          And I even know of the existence of double quotes for exact searches and minus to remove words from Google, do I reserve a cookie?

        3. You DO deserve a cookie Chris. This is something that’s not considered often enough when naming things. I’m with you.

        4. Couldn’t agree more. Very excited about this feature, but it definitely needs a more distinctive name.

      2. You might want to be more specific when you say things like “coming in 2017”. I initially took that to mean that Timeline will be released in the new 2017.x product cycle, but this tweet suggests otherwise.

        Assuming that tweet is still accurate (and I would hope so as it’s only 6 weeks old), it might be more clear to say that Timeline is coming to Unity 5.6 some time next year.

  27. Thank you for more 2D feature support :D Would love to see an update on the 2D tile system.

    1. If you haven’t already, be sure to take a peek at our recently updated 2D experimental build on our forums. Keep in mind it’s an experimental build, but you’ll be able to take Tilemap out for a spin. We’d love to hear your feedback :)

  28. We need video playback with alpha channel. Is this feature too far away in the future?

    1. We support webm with alpha, and Apple’s ProRes (on Apple platforms).

  29. Robert Cummings

    12月 13, 2016 7:39 pm

    Good stuff. Some questions:

    Does it include the 2D tools for rayman-style level generation? pulling points around etc or just 9 slice?

    Regarding compute based draw calls, does this mean we’ll see some form of fast vegetation coming soon? ;)

    Great work, please keep it up !

  30. Performance Reporting now reporting crashes sounds interesting. We use Crashlytics for that at the moment (iOS and Android). If Unity Performance Reporting is also able to report out of memory crashes (reliably) and perhaps with hints where that memory is used, that would be really useful and adds something where Crashlytics isn’t really good at imo.

  31. patrick thiel

    12月 13, 2016 6:38 pm

    Does the new video system means any better performance for the ultra slow webcam texture function on android or is that still lame?

  32. Yeah, yeah.. But what about nested prefabs? Enums as parameters on events on Inspector? And so many other very old requests on forum?

    1. C’mon man. Unity have made a lot of bad stuff fixed, many improvements and many things were introduced in 5.4 (did you read all release notes?). You should appreciate their work, especially they are giving beta stuff to free users now. Would you want unity say “Hey, we will supporting nested prefab but with X bug, breaking Y features and pausing development of X, Y, Z”?. If you want X feature right now, you should do it yourself.

      1. Every time I see someone been so gratefull for the free things Unity Personal offer, I remember: Unity Personal ONLY became soo good AFTER UDK became free first. It’s not kindness, it’s market. Kindness would be to implemente a really usefull request made by users.

  33. Catalin Nastase

    12月 13, 2016 5:11 pm

    “We’re introducing 9-Slice, a 2D technique which allows you to reuse an image with variable dimensions without preparing multiple assets. This allows you to stretch or repeat defined areas of an image as dimension changes, providing a quick technique for creating platforms or backgrounds while still using a small amount of texture memory.”
    Is this for Sprites? UI already has this. I have installed Unity 5.6b1 and can not find this in the Sprite Renderer component. Is it somewhere else?

    1. It is for sprites, but the change is in flight, but not yet landed. Expected it in an upcoming beta release soon.

      1. Catalin Nastase

        12月 13, 2016 9:01 pm

        Ok,
        I thought is was for b1 as is was not under the “Coming soon in 5.6” or specified as for beta 2, but fair enough. I know it’s the first beta out and it’s cool so far.
        Cheers

  34. Cool. More innovations!