Unity Technologies has announced the release of their latest platform update Unity 2018.1 giving artists, developers and game engineers the power to express their talents and collaborate more efficiently to build games. Unity 2018.1 also marks the start of a new release cycle. Since 2017, Unity has adopted a new release plan where they come up with a new version every quarter and Unity 2018.1 marks the first version of the 2018 series.
According to Brett Bibby, VP of Engineering, Unity Technologies, “With Unity 2018.1 we are introducing one of the largest upgrades in the history of our company, and it’s centered around two major concepts – next-level rendering and performance by default,” This release features two new upgrades: the Scriptable Render Pipelines and the Entity Component System. Together they make it easier for creators to make richer experiences utilizing modern hardware to deliver beautiful graphics.
Next-level rendering with Scriptable Render Pipeline (SRP)
Scriptable Render Pipeline (SRP) is available in the preview of Unity 2018.1. With SRP, developers and technical artists can now work directly with hardware and GPUs without having to go through millions of lines of C++ engine code. SRP makes it easy to customize the rendering pipeline via C# code and material shaders.
Unity 2018.1 also introduces two render pipelines.
- The High-Definition Render Pipeline (HD RP) is for developers with AAA aspirations.
- The Lightweight Render Pipeline (LW RP) is for those looking for a combination of graphics and speed. It optimizes the battery life for mobile devices and other similar platforms.
Performance by default with the C# Job System & Entity Component System (ECS)
The C# Job system enables developers to write very fast, parallelized code in C# to take full advantage of multicore processors. It also provides protection from the pitfalls of multi-threading, such as race conditions and deadlocks.
The runtime system is now combined with a new programming model, the Entity Component System. This new runtime system enables developers to use multicore processors without worrying about the programming. They can use this power to add more effects and complexity to games or add AI to make their creations richer and more immersive. It uses a data-oriented design instead of an object-oriented approach which makes it easier to reuse the code and easier for others to understand and work on it as well.
Level design and shaders
Unity 2018.1 reduces the time and effort required by artists, designers, and developers by allowing them to create levels, cinematic content, and gameplay sequences without coding. For this, new tools like ProBuilder/Polybrush and the new visual Shader Graph offer intuitive ways to design levels and create shaders without programming skills.
- ProBuilder is a unique hybrid of 3D-modeling and level-design tools optimized for building simple geometry, but capable of detailed editing and UV unwrapping as needed.
- With Polybrush developers can blend textures and colors, sculpt meshes and scatter objects directly in the Unity editor.
- Shader Graph can build shaders visually using a designer tool — without writing a single line of code. They offer easy drag-and-drop usability to create and connect nodes in a graph network.
Unity Package Manager UI
Unity 2018.1 builds on the package manager introduced in Unity 2017.2. It has a newly released Package Manager User Interface, the Hub, and Project Templates, to help start new projects faster and more efficiently.
The Unity Package Manager UI improves the following aspects of the project management workflow:
- Quick access to newly released features
- Get the latest fixes, instantly
- Access to Preview features
- Easily share lightweight projects
You can refer to the release notes for the full list of new features, improvements, and fixes. Unity will be showcasing all their latest innovations during Unite Berlin scheduled on June 19 – 21, 2018.