Unity 5.6 concluded the Unity 5 cycle. We are now moving into the next generation of Unity, introducing 2017.1, and we invite you to help test the beta version.
It’s simple to get started and be part of the beta process. Simply head over to our beta testing section, read our guide and download the installer to get access to the 2017.1 beta.
The beta release is available for free to all Unity users, including Personal Edition users. In the release notes section, you’ll find a complete list of all the new features, improvements and bug fixes included in the release.
Over the course of the release of the 2017.1b version, the following features will become available:
Tools for storytelling
2017.1 beta introduces Timeline and Cinemachine.
Timeline is a powerful new visual tool that allows you to create cinematic content (like the Adam short film). You can use it to cut scenes, create gameplay sequences and much more, by orchestrating your game objects, animations, sounds and scenes.
Cinemachine brings an advanced camera system that enables you to compose your shots like a movie director, including using real world camera settings and simple directions like “follow the head of the character.”
Timeline’s track-based sequencing tool and Cinemachine’s smart cameras system bring storytelling to artists who can now create stories focusing on the art direction, not the implementation details.
Following up on the major 2D feature improvements in 5.6, we are introducing 2D Sprite masking, which enables you to use masks with Sprites to create new kinds of effects.
Management of Sprites and Atlases have also been made easier by introducing the Sprite Atlas asset, which gives the developer more control on how to pack sprites and access them at runtime.
Another example of a workflow improvement is the addition of the Physics Shape Editor to the Sprite Editor, which allows you to create and edit a custom physics shape for a Sprite, which will then be used when generating collider shapes with a PolygonCollider2D Component.
Scene and Asset Bundle Loading Improvements
We made several improvements to loading in-game scenes and Asset Bundles. The changes to the underlying architecture make the loading of scenes and Asset Bundles faster resulting in a smoother player experience.
Model Importer improvements
FBX import in Unity now supports Segment Scale compensation for models exported from Maya. We also added the option of computing weighted normals when importing FBX files and fixed normal generation for hard edges. Lights and cameras are now imported from FBX files, and visibility properties (including animation) can also be imported.
Particle system improvements
Even more features and improvements will be made available for the particle system, including culling mode with tooltip messages, edit modes for particle system collision mode planes, as well as several other improvements to collisions and physics.
Animation windows have been updated to improve the keyframing workflow of working with animations and interacting with animator state-machines. Performance Recording will be provided as an experimental release.
Collaborate is a simple way for teams to save, share, and sync their Unity project, regardless of location or role. In 2017.1 we will continue to improve the workflow with new features like browser integration and the ability to publish selectively.
And there is, of course, a lot more on the way. So stay tuned–we’ll be announcing more features as we get closer to launch here on the blog.