Today Unity Technologies has released not just an update for its videogame development engine, Unity, but the next fully fledged version Unity 5.4.
It was back in March this year that the company unveiled a beta version of Unity 5.4, ideal for studios who’s titles were still in development with features still being experimented or prototyped. But after all those months of testing Unity 5.4 is now available to download, and among its improvements virtual reality (VR) performance and support has been improved.
The software now includes built-in and optimized rendering support for OpenVR (SteamVR/HTC Vive), Oculus Rift, Gear VR, and PlayStation head-mounted displays (HMDs). And because of a single API developers can build for multiple platforms with device-specific tweaking kept to a minimum. This is achieved by Unity refactoring the VR subsystem, eliminating redundant code that duplicated functionalities across devices.
Unity 5.4 VR performance is now even better as the team has added the Optimized Single-Pass Stereo Rendering feature (previously called Double Wide Rendering), so now both viewports are rendered in a single pass, to help sustain high frame rates.
The announcement also features a small note on Google Daydream. Stating that “Unity will be natively supporting the new Daydream platform. If you can’t wait for the native integration, go to the Google developer portal and get the Google Daydream VR Dev Kit for Unity.”
That’s all the VR features but there’s lots more, here’s a quick rundown:
Graphics & rendering performance improvements:
Better multithreaded rendering
Fewer draw calls with GPU Instancing – available on Windows, OSX, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One
Improved low level graphics features: texture arrays, compute shaders, and more
Thanks to sizing controls, a new trigger module, and better lighting with Light Probe Proxy Volumes (LPPV) particles are now more customizable.
In-engine support for motion vector rendering
VR Improvements: more built-in multiplatform VR support and better performance
IL2CPP for Android is now an officially supported platform (previously it was labelled ‘experimental’)
The editor now supports Mac Retina displays (Windows HiDPI support is in the pipeline) and we’ve added a zoomable game view function (OSX & Windows)
Cloud Build setup is now available from the within the editor.
Performance Reporting is now fully integrated in the editor, 1-click activation without plugins or code
A major Analytics feature update with raw data export, Heatmaps, Live Stream, and Ads data in the dashboard
In-App Purchasing now supports the Amazon Appstore
Web Player and PS3 Build target options have been removed along with iOS 6 support (we now support iOS 7.x and above)