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Today at GDC Unity Technologies announced that Unity 5.6 will release onMarch 31, 2017, marking the final installment of Unity 5. The company also provided an early look at Unity 2017, the next generation of Unity with version 2017.1 Beta arriving in April.
The Unity 5 cycle culminating in 5.6 represents great progress in our key focus areas: graphics, performance, stability, efficiency and platform growth. I’m really proud of what our engineering teams delivered. Features like Physically Based Rendering, Global Illumination, and Codeless IAP are just a few of the advancements that have helped make Unity 5, and the community it powers, so successful.
John Riccitiello, CEO, Unity Technologies
Key new features available in Unity 5.6 include:
- Progressive Lightmapper speeds up iteration and testing of lighting scenarios and reduces baking times.
- Navigation Mesh system adds AI and pathfinding to more easily control character navigation through giant game worlds.
- New Video Player supports smooth 4K playback to provide immersive video and enable the creation of 360 video experiences.
- Native support for Vulkan graphics API provides better performance across Windows, Tizen, and Android platforms, while consuming less device power.
- TextMesh Pro provides improved control of text formatting and layout through Advanced Text Rendering and is now available for free to users of 5.3+, with native Unity integration coming in Unity 2017.
Also at GDC, two Unity partners announced new opportunities for Unity creators seeking global distribution and discovery:
- Xiaomi, one of the top handset manufacturers and Android app stores in China, is now offering Western developers direct access to the Chinese market; interested developers can learn more in the new Xiaomi-Unity Developer Portal.
- Facebook announced Facebook Gameroom Premium support, inviting developers of premium games—like The Eyes of Ara and Skyhill—to bring their content to the PC gaming platform’s growing portfolio. For developers using Unity IAP to implement payments, the company also announced that Facebook payment support will be available in Unity 5.6.
Lastly, Unity introduced Unity 2017, the next generation of Unity that will get new features and improvements across graphics, performance, stability, efficiency and platforms as well as a new dedicated focus area: artists and designers. To improve team productivity and collaboration for non-programmers, Unity 2017 will bring the start of a series of features designed specifically for artists and designers across disciplines, from technical artists, to lighting artists, animators and more. Beta signups will be available in April.
For more information go to Unity3d.