With videogame engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine playing a key role in supporting virtual reality (VR) development, it’s always been important to keep an eye on their latest developments. Unity is one of the biggest, only a couple of weeks ago the company released Unity 5.5, bringing with it native support for Windows Holographic and thus Microsoft HoloLens. Unity Technologies hasn’t been idle since then as this week its released the beta version of Unity 5.6, adding support for Google’s latest mobile head-mounted display (HMD), Daydream View.
Naturally with a new version on the way there’s lots of new features being tested with not all of them included in this current beta release. For VR specifically the beta mainly focuses on native Google Daydream and Cardboard support. Unity has integrated the Daydream NDK to leverage the platform’s asynchronous reprojection and VR performance modes.
The blog posting for Unity 5.6 also notes: “Compared to the Google VR SDK for Unity released at Google I/O, we now provide a more streamlined workflow, significant optimizations and reduced latency. No prefabs, scripts or manual manifest modifications are required to get started–simply enable VR and add Daydream as a targeted platform to begin making your own virtual worlds.
“We have also made it easy to switch in and out of VR mode so that your applications can easily expand to the Google VR audience. You can also have your application target Google Cardboard with native support. Applications which target Cardboard will work on older devices so you can reach as many users as possible. At this time, Cardboard support is exclusive to Android with iOS Cardboard support coming soon.”
Other features will be implemented over the new few months as Unity aims for a full release in March 2017. Unity 5.6 will be the last version in the Unity 5 cycle, with a new numbering system being put in place. The new Unity 2017 will make its debut beta release in April 2017, with customers already signed up on Unity subscription plans getting access as soon as it’s available.