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Unity 5.5 Launches, Bringing Support for Microsoft Holographic

With videogame development engines such as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and Unity Technologies’ Unity playing an important role in the continued expansion or virtual reality (VR), VRFocus closely follows the latest improvements of the engines. Today Unity has received its latest major update, v5.5, bringing with it a slew of new features and improvements.

Earlier this month the company revealed details of what to expect during its Unite 2016 conference in California. With today’s release of Unity 5.5 the biggest addition comes for Microsoft Holographic – essentially fully supporting HoloLens. Unity’s blog post states: “Support for Microsoft Holographic is now shipping with Unity 5.5. We also improved the workflow by bringing Holographic Emulation right into the Unity Editor. Developers creating applications for HoloLens will be able to prototype, debug, and iterate on design directly from the Unity Editor without needing to build and deploy to an actual HoloLens device.”

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The update also adds – among other things – a new particle system, line renderer components, improved Animation Window, a new Splash Screen tool and an experimental tool called Look Dev.

There are far too many details to list here, but VRFocus has rounded up all the VR and mixed reality (MR) improvements below for a quick look over. For all the latest Unity updates, keep reading VRFocus.

Features:

  • VR: HoloLens support graduated from the Technical Preview!
  • VR: In-Editor holographic emulation

Changes:

  • VR: Oculus Touch Controllers and Oculus Remote now present themselves as standard joysticks.
  • VR: OpenVR controllers now present themselves as standard joysticks.

Improvements:

  • VR: GUI elements now work with single-pass stereo rendering
  • VR: UnityEngine.VR.InputTracking.GetLocalRotation() and UnityEngine.VR.InputTracking.GetLocalPosition() can now be used to query the position and orientation of Oculus Touch and HTC Vive controllers.
  • VR: Updated the native plug-in support for VR devices. Plug-ins in user projects override native VR plugins when used.

API Changes:

  • HoloLens: Removed the preview mode parameter from PhotoCapture.StartPhotoModeAsync.
  • HoloLens: Spatial mapping component API changes:
    • The “Custom Render Setting” property is now “Render State”.
    • The “Custom Material” render setting is now “Visualization”.
    • “Custom Material” is now “Visual Material”.
    • “volume” property is now “volumeType”.
    • “sphereRadiusMeters” is now “sphereRadius”.
    • “boxExtentsMeters” is now “halfBoxExtents”.
    • “lod” is now “lodType”.

Fixes:

  • VR: Fixed crash when VR Support is enabled but no actual device drivers could be loaded.
  • VR: Fixed rendering issues when using the Global Fog standard asset in VR. (815914)
  • VR: Graphics.DrawTexture places image at incorrect screen location when VR enabled. (696245)
  • VR: Using Deferred Rendering + MSAA + Blur Image Effect, renders black screen. (713551)