Evolving multiplayer games beyond UNet
Through our connected games initiatives, we’re revamping how we can make networked games easier, more performant, and multiplayer-ready by default. To make these important changes, we need to start anew. That means existing multiplayer features will be gradually deprecated, with more performant, scalable, and secure technologies taking their place. But don’t worry – games with impacted features will have plenty of time to react.
Update: As promised, we have been following your feedback closely while building our new Connected Games solution. We’ve decided to extend UNet LLAPI critical support for an additional year from the original plan, to provide more transition time for developers. We’ve recently also updated our UNet Depreciation FAQs to address the concerns we’ve seen most feedback about, like transition timing. Head there to find out more (April 11, 2019).
Over the past few years we’ve offered Unity creators a set of multiplayer tools and services commonly referred to as “UNet.” UNet consists of two major components: Core networking (High Level API/HLAPI and Low Level API/LLAPI) and enabling services (Relay Server and Matchmaker). These features work together to enable peer-to-peer (P2P) multiplayer games.
UNet has been a tremendous learning experience for all of us, and we’ve seen our community ship some incredible multiplayer games.
The journey of these games hasn’t been without challenges, however, and we’ve heard your feedback: Unity game developers need more than what the current version of UNet can offer. Notably, you want more-scalable and transparent core networking and fully supported server-authoritative games that enable the security, stability, and consistent performance required for all levels of success. The future at Unity holds great promise for large-scale projects that are networked-by-default with the Entity Component System (ECS).
To achieve these goals, a complete rethinking of our real-time multiplayer technology was required. Here’s our plan.
UNet transition overview
UNet powers many active games today, and we take this responsibility very seriously. As a result, we are ensuring the following long-term support for developers who depend on our existing technology:
- The HLAPI will no longer ship with Unity after 2018.4 (LTS): Critical fixes will be provided for two years following the 2018.4 (LTS) ship date, consistent with Unity’s Long-Term Support policy.
- The LLAPI will no longer ship with Unity after 2019.4 (LTS): Critical fixes will be provided for two years following the 2019.4 (LTS) ship date.
- Relay Server and Legacy Matchmaker Services: Continued operation for at least three years following 2018.4 (LTS) ship date, with a clear transition plan provided before this date.
While UNet features are being deprecated, next-generation networking features will be made available soon, including:
- New networking layer, which replaces existing UNet HLAPIs and LLAPIs. This will be DOTS compatible.
- Game Server Hosting services from Multiplay, which replace the P2P-enabling Relay Server.
- A new matchmaking service, which replaces the Legacy Matchmaker Service. The new service will work seamlessly with Multiplay’s Game Server Hosting.
For more on what we’re working on, check out our blog post on connected games. In addition to the features and services above, we’re working on a lean DOTS server runtime, and have recently added Vivox to the family, delivering voice and text chat for multiplayer games.
Stay in touch
- Keep track of what we’re working on by visiting unity3d.com/multiplayer.
- Have feedback? Please share it in the sticky threads of the Connected Games forum.
- Interested in alpha testing some of the new technologies? Contact us here.
- Keep watching the blog. We’ll share more about what we’re working on soon.