We’re adding a third Tech Stream to our Unity 2023 release lifecycle to include production-ready additions for graphics, performance, and productivity.
Last September, I kicked off a blog series called Games Focus. It reiterated our commitment to building the best game development tools we can for you, our creators and partners. Our vision has remained unchanged:
Unity enables you to create extraordinary games of all kinds and reach your players wherever they are.
After releasing the Unity 2022 Long Term Support (LTS) and 2023.1 Tech Stream, we looked at our roadmaps and realized that a tweak to our schedule would give you access to features earlier than planned.
So, rather than making you wait until the development cycle AFTER Unity 2023 LTS for some amazing updates that will further deliver on our Games Focus promise, we decided to add an extra Tech Stream release to get them into your hands sooner.
Unity 2023.3 Tech Stream will be released in April 2024, meaning that the Unity 2023 LTS will ship later, toward the end of that year. We’re committed to providing you the most rock-solid and productive version of the Editor, so we’ll use the additional time between 2023.3 and LTS to further polish the rest of the experience.
Adding this Tech Stream allows us to bring you some critical developments, particularly in the areas of Universal Render Pipeline (URP), artist workflows, platform integrations, DOTS, and cross-play multiplayer. It has given engineering teams an opportunity to accelerate features that were otherwise not planned for 2023 LTS.
Before we look at some of the additions coming your way in 2023.3, I’d like to remind you that the 2023.2 releases have already started, and the feature highlights forum post is well worth a read to see what’s included.
Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the updates you can expect in the 2023.3 tech release.
First up, we announced Unity’s visionOS beta program in July, and we continue to scale it. With a deep integration between Unity’s new PolySpatial technology and visionOS, your apps can sit alongside other apps in the Shared Space on Apple Vision Pro.
We’re maintaining our momentum on platform support and have examined opportunities to improve rendering on newer devices. As a result, we’re building on Unity 2022’s Foveated Rendering API for PlayStation VR2 support and extending it to Meta Quest 2 and other devices to offer full integration with the Oculus XR and OpenXR plug-ins. This enables you to create more immersive and high-fidelity XR experiences.
The newly introduced Split Graphics Jobs threading mode, initially available for DX12 platforms and PlayStation 4 in previous releases, improves CPU performance for render thread-bound applications. In Unity 2023.3, Split Graphics Jobs support is extended to PlayStation 5, with additional platform coverage planned for the future.
In 2023.2, the PS5 graphics backend includes support for the Adaptive Vsync presentation mode. We’ll also make this available for Xbox Series and Vulkan desktop platforms in Unity 2023.3. This feature reduces Vsync-related frame stutter by dynamically adjusting Vsync rates based on rendering performance, providing a smoother viewing experience.
Unity 2022 LTS delivered important foundations for the creation of casual co-op and competitive action multiplayer titles. To help get you started, we’ve shipped an ambitious 64+ players competitive gameplay sample, Megacity Multiplayer. We aim to reach the next level by delivering a sample showing how those capabilities can be implemented in a cross-play environment, including mobile devices and with a significantly larger number of concurrent users.
With Unity 2023.3, we plan to make significant progress in simplifying the overall creation workflow. Development teams are hard at work on a series of improvements to the Editor, the management of dedicated server targets, code stripping and deployment, tools for Play mode testing, and samples and educational content to help you get started more quickly.
With our focus on performance and quality, the integration of Render Graph into URP increases access to URP frame resources, making it easier to customize your rendering and create custom render features. Render Graph enables you to craft more advanced and performant extensions for URP to create your own unique visual style for your game, all without modifying the URP source code.
Render Graph seamlessly and automatically optimizes GPU memory, but more importantly, it’s been improved to also optimize GPU bandwidth utilization while automatically applying the NativeRenderPass API. This ensures optimal performance and minimal energy consumption on untethered and tile-based GPU devices.
All URP render passes now harness the Render Graph framework, solidifying the foundation and our vision for URP to be the forefront of render pipelines for scalability with performance on untethered devices and diverse supported platforms. In this additional tech release, we’re focusing on optimizing the Graph compilation cost to ensure that Render Graph provides all the additional benefits mentioned above (and more), while minimizing the CPU cost of the system.
API access and customizability in URP are being further refined, addressing complexities in creating custom post-processing and improving access to resources like history buffers (color and depth). For High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) the primary focus remains performance enhancements along with the integration of NVIDIA DLSS3 support.
Taking advantage of these improved graphics features, we’re looking at the workflows you use to integrate them into your games.
The artist experience is being enhanced with improvements to Mipmap streaming debug views for SRPs. Shader Graph receives keyboard shortcuts functionality, scope, and visibility setting enhancements, while URP support for VFX Graph is being further improved.
Additionally, we’re working on providing better onboarding materials and samples for both Shader Graph and VFX Graph. We’re also continuing our focus on improving the stability and usability of light baking, ensuring a more seamless and reliable lighting experience for users.
Unity 2022 LTS introduced a powerful set of packages based on ECS for Unity that enable you to target more ambitious projects and are fully supported for production on all platforms. Based on your early feedback, we’ve already delivered several quality-of-life improvements to the overall workflow.
This speeds up general iteration time in the Editor when related to TypeManager, baking process, or source generation. We provided greater clarity in documentation or error messages, delivered additional performance to several APIs, and added a new one to create Entities faster.
Those improvements are being delivered for both Unity 2022 LTS and Unity 2023.3.
If you’d like more information about our new release cycle, post a question in this forum thread.
The future of Unity Editor, Engine, and Runtime development is looking bright. Next year is set to be big, with even more developments we can’t share yet. For our next major update, join us at Unite 2023 and tune into our keynote and Road to 2024 sessions to hear more about what’s in store.