Unity Technology has long been aligning itself closely with virtual reality (VR) technology with its popular Unity Engine. Last year saw the company reveal that it was adding Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) development tools to both the free and pro versions of Unity 4, and that support has only expanded with the release of Unity 5 earlier in 2015. Today sees the company launch the latest version of the engine, Unity 5.1, including some major new features for VR developers to take advantage of.
Unity 5.1 adds a ‘highly optimised’ rendering pipeline for both VR and augmented reality (AR) devices. It also adds native support for the Oculus Rift HMD, allowing developers to plug in their development kits and start using them straight away. Unity itself will handle some of the specific features of the device itself, applying head-tracking and an ‘appropriate field of view’ to the user’s camera. Support for other devices such as Gear VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality (MR) device is still yet to arrive.
“There’ll be much more to come from us in the VR space,” the company wrote in an update blog, “so stay tuned, and don’t forget that there are lots of third-party SDKs available for those looking to target other headsets!”
Elsewhere, Unity 5.1 adds a number of other updates, such as a preview of the new Unity Multiplayer Service, which includes matchmaking and relay servers, support for Mercurial source control in Cloud Build and over 170 bug fixes. While not specific to VR, these improvements will of course help those working with the engine in any capacity to be build better experiences.