Get the Unity 5.5 beta now
Today, it’s our pleasure to announce that Unity 5.5 beta is available for all users. We encourage you to download it and try out the many new and improved features on your project. Don’t forget to backup your projects first though – it’s a beta!
This wide release of Unity 5.5 beta continues the release pattern introduced with the release of Unity 5.4 beta in March. Meaning, that once we have sufficient feedback on real life usage of the Unity 5.5 beta, it will get promoted to stable release. Until then, those of you looking for our current stable release should grab Unity 5.4.x. We are committed to always providing you with a stable and dependable development platform.
Without further ado, here are a few of the highlights in Unity 5.5 beta:
Improvements to Line Rendering and the Particle System
Unity 5.5 beta also offers a major improvement to how Unity renders lines and trails: The LineRenderer, which renders a line between a specified set of points, and the TrailRenderer, which renders a trail behind a moving object, have both been upgraded to use an improved line drawing algorithm. The resulting difference in rendered output is evident:
Additionally, the particle system has received a number of new updates in Unity 5.5 beta. We’ve added new options enabling you to get creative and customize visual effects using the particle system, for example:
A new Lights Module allows you to attach real-time lights to a percentage of your particles, and lights to inherit properties from the particles they are attached to. Now it’s simple to make your particle effects cast light onto their surrounding environment:
Examples of a number of the settings available in the Lights Module:
The new Noise Module enables you to apply noise to particle movement, with quality settings provided that allow you to choose between cheap and efficient noise or smooth high quality noise:
An example of the Noise Module being put to good use:
Easily add ribbonized trails to a particle system with the new Trails Module that takes full advantage of the improved line/trail rendering capabilities in the Unity 5.5 beta:
The Trails Module features a range of useful settings to achieve various effects:
We have also made the Color Gradient system more flexible, allowing you greater control over your particle colors. Use it to select an explicit list of colors, each with their own weighting:
It’s now possible to send custom data into your particle shaders, such as their size, rotation and velocity. You can also finally send tangents to your shaders, allowing for normal mapping. Plus, if you want to attach your own custom data to particles from script, that is also possible. Here are a few of the custom effects we created during testing of this feature:
For those of you who demand even more control and customization options, all properties in the main particle settings have now been exposed to script. And if you are comfortable writing your own shaders, we’ve added support for sending custom data to particle system vertex shaders.
Finally, we’ve also lifted the restrictions on how many Sub-Emitters you can add to your effects. It’s now possible to create as many Sub-Emitters as you need, and they can also inherit properties from their parent particles, such as color, size, rotation and velocity.
We can’t wait to see the amazing visual effects you create with these updated tools!
But wait, there’s more..
Of course, that’s not the full story about Unity 5.5 beta, we also have a number of other new features and improvements for you to try:
- The Mono C# compiler has been upgraded to Mono 4.4, and now provides better performance and many bug fixes. Note that for now, this is only an upgrade of the C# compiler, not the full Mono runtime, but we feel that it represents an important step on the journey towards modernizing and improving Unity’s .NET experience.
- WebGL 2.0 is now enabled by default in new projects, enabling improved rendering and visual quality in browsers that support the standard, on par with OpenGL ES 3.0. Although browser support is still experimental, we expect browser vendors to start supporting the upgraded standard in stable releases soon.
- New 2D Physics improvements, including additional collision detection options and new properties for the Rigidbody2D physics component.
- Unity’s Texture importer has been improved, with additional options to decouple texture format from compression, texture shape from texture type, and much more. For HDR textures, Unity now supports the FP16 format and BC6H compression to offset the increased memory cost.
For an exhaustive list of features in Unity 5.5 beta, check out the full release notes. Please keep in mind that the full list of features that will be available in Unity 5.5 is still subject to change, pending feedback received during the beta cycle.
New Splash Screen Tools
The new splash screen tools will be available in a subsequent 5.5 beta, coming soon. We know you’re all excited to check this out, but as we’re moving away from holding features back for big releases, we didn’t want to hold back the other 5.5 beta features that are currently ready.
Enjoy the Unity 5.5 Beta!
We hope that your project can benefit from one of the many improvements in Unity 5.5 beta already today, and look forward to delivering increasingly polished releases of the editor throughout this coming beta cycle.
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