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Updates from Unity’s GDC 2017 Keynote

February 28, 2017 in Community | 7 min. read
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Our GDC 2017 Keynote just ended a few moments ago here in San Francisco. For those who couldn’t join live, you can watch the recording here:

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CEO John Riccitiello was joined on stage by CTO Joachim Ante, Technical Director Lucas Meijer, Founder David Helgason, along with other Unity Technologies staff and some of our esteemed partners to celebrate a few milestones, reflect on the Unity 5 lifecycle, and share our vision for 2017 and beyond.

2016 was a pivotal year and after hard work we’re releasing more stable builds -- a 38% drop in support tickets shows we’re making great progress! We’re more committed than ever to our pledge of improving the quality and stability of Unity and we can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for 2017.

Unity 5.6

Unity 5 came to life two years ago at GDC 2015. It’s been an incredible era, with so many remarkable Made with Unity games and experiences created in that time such as Firewatch, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, Lara Croft Go, Job Simulator, Assassin’s Creed Identity, and Super Mario Run. Today we announced that 5.6, the final installment of Unity 5, will be released on March 31.

Here’s a brief rundown of the key 5.6 features talked about in the keynote:

Progressive Lightmapper: Gives you immediate feedback when trying out different lighting scenarios, with selective baking, super fast iteration, and debugging.

Vulkan: ARM, Infinite Dream & Unity built a demo with SkyForce Reloaded to demonstrate how how Vulkan maximizes performance and reduces battery usage.

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To learn how to get the most from Vulkan in Unity, be sure to attend the GDC session presented by ARM on Thursday, 10AM - Room 3022 West Hall.

Metal: Apple Metal graphics API gives you access to the raw power of the chipsets on your devices. Now, available directly in the editor on MacOS, you can view scenes in editor as it will appear when you deploy on a device. Unity 5.5 added instancing, the ability to write native Metal shaders -- 5.6 brings Metal Compute. Developer nWay got on stage with their upcoming game Power Rangers: Legacy Wars to show off the full potential of Metal. Thank you to surprise special guests Ludi Lin and Jason David Frank of Power Rangers fame for joining us on stage!

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2D Tools: Unity 5.6 is adding CompositeCollider2D, an outline editor, 2D physics contacts API and more.

New NavMesh tools: improving AI and Pathfinding to more easily control character navigation through giant game worlds.

Unity Collaborate Beta: A simple way for teams to save, share, and sync their Unity project -- all Cloud hosted! Unity Collaborate has entered open beta so be sure to sign up now!

Performance Reporting: Unity Performance Reporting automatically collects errors across various devices and platforms making it easier for you to find and fix issues in real time. New in Unity 5.6, it will capture and report native crashes recorded for iOS games.  

TextMesh Pro: We’re happy to announce that one of the top performing tools on the Unity Asset Store which features Advanced Text Rendering with Dynamic Visual Text Styling along with greatly improved control over text formatting and layout, will now be available for free to users of 5.3+ and natively integrated into Unity in the future.

Visit the Unity Asset Store to get TextMesh Pro now.

VR platforms: 5.6 will ship with Google Daydream and Cardboard which includes Android and iOS.


Because your success is our success, we’re grateful to work with wonderful partners like Facebook and Xiaomi to bring you new opportunities to seek global distribution and discovery.

As one of the top handset manufacturers and Android app stores in China, Xiaomi is now offering Western developers direct access to the Chinese market. Unity developers with global vision can learn more here.

In 5.6 Unity developers will be able to choose Facebook as a build target and enjoy Facebook payment support for Unity IAP. We’re also pleased that Facebook today announced premium content support for Gameroom, opening the doors for a wider variety of games to join the PC gaming platform’s growing portfolio, and giving developers more opportunities to access Facebook’s 1.8 billion users.


Since the alpha release in December, Editor VR has been downloaded more than 6,000 times. We’ve been so pleased to see all the useful and amazing tools the community's created in response, that we've been inspired to hold a contest for the best EditorVR tool. There’s a cash prize and the winner will be chosen and showcased at Vision Summit 2017. We’ll have a few more details for you soon.

The Unity Labs team is also working with partners like Oculus, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and Daydream on a newly announced XR Foundation Toolkit, a framework for XR developers and artists to get up-to-speed as quickly as possible creating immersive experiences. We'll have more info at our upcoming Vision VR/AR Summit, so stay tuned!

As part of our commitment to artists using Unity, we are excited to announce our Artist in Residence program. Our first position is now open and you can apply here.

A look ahead at Unity 2017

We’re excited to enter this new generation of Unity with Unity 2017, entering beta in April. We’ll continue our commitment to improve key areas like graphics, stability, efficiency, and platform growth, as well as a new dedicated focus area: artists and designers. Unity has always been a tool for programmers, but to improve overall team productivity and collaboration for the entire team, we're starting to introduce a series of features designed specifically for artists and designers across disciplines, from technical artists, to lighting artists, animators and more.

Upcoming features include:

  • New scriptable rendering pipeline that will allow developers to customize and extend render loops for mobile, HD and VR/AR.
  • Timeline & Cinemachine:
    Timeline is a track-based sequencing tool that applies a “drag and drop” approach to choreograph animations, sounds, events, videos and more, will make it easier for storytellers to compose stunning cinematics. Cinemachine is Unity’s smart camera system, for gameplay cameras, cutscenes, film and TV pipelines and everything in between. It allows you to create cameras which follow your direction and dynamically compose shots of variable scenarios.

You can check out the video of the demo presented at GDC, and best of all you can try the preview build of Timeline now.

Needless to say, we're very excited about the year ahead, and thank you for being part of this journey.

We hope you enjoy the rest of GDC week! You can find out more about Unity at GDC by visiting our landing page, but don’t forget to visit our Made with Unity Showcase and Partner Pavilion at our booth South Hall #1402. Hope to see you there!

Not at GDC in person this year? Take your networking online! Now is a great time to join Unity Connect, our talent marketplace. Whether you're an artist, programmer, VR/AR developer, Unity Connect is a place to showcase your work to industry talent seekers with a free online portfolio.

Or, if you're looking for help, try Tasks, where you can reach out to the Unity Connect community to find experts to help you overcome roadblocks and keep your project moving toward the finish line. You can also leverage your own skills to earn some extra income helping others with their projects. Whether you're looking for talent or a place to use your strengths, take a look: nearly 1,000 companies have already joined Unity Connect looking for game dev talent and are posting jobs.

Fast Track Your Development with Unity Plus: Accelerator Pack

And one more thing. We recently introduced the Unity Plus: Accelerator Pack designed to help developers, artists, or programmers fast track their development. For a limited time, every new Plus subscription will come with the Accelerator Pack, which includes three top-selling productivity assets (a $190 value) for FREE:

  • Playmaker, a powerful visual scripting tool
  • Amplify Shader Editor, an intuitive shader creator
  • Ultimate FPS, a first person controller solution  

Altogether, the pack helps boost your productivity and bypass time-consuming coding so you can focus your energy on the parts of their project that inspired you to get started in the first place.

Developers who are looking to get further faster can visit to learn more and sign up.

February 28, 2017 in Community | 7 min. read

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