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Unity 2020 LTS and Unity 2021.1 Tech Stream are now available

March 23, 2021 in Engine & platform | 10 min. read
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We know that creators work differently. That’s why we offer two release versions, Tech Stream and Long-Term Support (LTS), so you can choose the solution that better fits your needs.

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The Tech Stream release gives you access to the latest in-progress features, so you can explore new capabilities for your project and pressure-test components as we continue to build them.

The LTS version of Unity prioritizes proven stability. This release rolls up mature builds of the features and improvements made over the previous calendar year’s Tech Streams into a single install with two years of support.

Release versions offer you greater control over how you create and deploy real-time 3D experiences – and that means more freedom in how you build imaginative experiences for your players and greater confidence that we have your back.

Our role is to power and support your work, so you can be successful. In 2020, we doubled down on our commitment to delivering a high-quality creative environment that facilitates your productivity while improving performance for both your workflows and your players’ experience. 

Over the last 12 months, this work has allowed us to deliver a more robust and stable Unity Editor for your creative foundation, regardless of which release stream you use. We raised our quality bar by focusing on two annual Tech Stream releases rather than our previous three, extending the stabilization period for even the newest features. 

We also changed the package lifecycle for how we label the readiness of individual features to better clarify what you can expect in terms of packages’ stability and functionality. 

The work on our Data Oriented Technology Stack (DOTS) continues, with Burst Compiler and C# Jobs Systems available in both the 2020 LTS and 2021.1 Tech Stream for you to use in any project. These represent two of the three core DOTS features, the other being Entities. 

Entities represents a revolution in highly performant game creation. But because of its potential, and because our dedication to quality tooling continues to grow, we’re ensuring we stick to the highest standards for quality and stability. That way, we know it will meet your needs as modern game creators and that Entities will be accessible, not just functional. To stay updated, check out the expanded DOTS forums.  

We remain committed to delivering quality, productivity, and performance for games and teams of all shapes and sizes. Let’s dig in to see what that means for you.

Quality: Stable workflows for you, beautiful experiences for your players

Productivity: Efficient iteration and workflows for your team

Performance: More horsepower to seamlessly create and deliver world-class game experiences 

What’s included in the releases?

Optimized workflows help you reduce the time it takes to bring your projects from concept to final render as you build anything from the lightest 2D game to an immersive 3D world. Read on for a brief overview of what’s included in the releases, and check out the release web page here and linked below or the 2020 LTS release notes and 2021.1 Tech Stream release notes for more detail.

Enhanced workflows to create gorgeous graphics

Take advantage of optimized workflows to create cinematic content and gameplay sequences that engage players from the very first pixels.  

2020 LTS

With improvements across the Universal Render Pipeline (URP), Shader Graph, VFX Graph, Cinemachine, Animation Rigging and more, the 2020 LTS includes workflow enhancements that help you stay in the flow with fewer interruptions.  

2021.1 Tech Stream

By integrating visual scripting into the Unity Editor and continuing to invest in the URP, High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) and 2D tools, the 2021.1 Tech Stream offers enhanced features and optimized workflows for stunning results on the widest variety of platforms.

Learn more about what’s included in each release to help you create stunning visuals.

Optimized coding workflows

If you prefer to get under the hood, we’ve got something for you, too. Our newest releases offer you greater freedom as you create optimized, high-performing games with an enhanced coding experience, improvements in testing, building and profiling, and a continued focus on making sure it’s stable so you can create with confidence.  

2020 LTS

Projects’ growth in complexity can impact productivity since the build process needs to account for more code and greater functionality. In 2020, we overhauled many subsystems within the Unity compilation engine to optimize build times. A new configuration setting means that you can get into and out of Play Mode more quickly; C# 8 support gives you greater efficiency when writing code, and our Roslyn Analyzer integration monitors your code quality and standards. Safe Mode and our profiling tools will help you to code faster while building higher performance into your game.  

2021.1 Tech Stream 

We now integrate and ship the latest graphics packages with the core Unity engine. This shift will simplify your efforts to harness cutting-edge graphics capabilities while ensuring you’re always working with the latest verified code, and it includes the most recent versions of the URP, HDRP, Shader Graph and VFX Graph. And of course, we’ve also improved your coding experience across the board with code coverage, better support for profiling and simulation, and even more compilation improvements.

Learn more about what’s included in the releases for optimized coding workflows.

Help your game reach every player on every platform, today and tomorrow.

Getting – and keeping – your game in players’ hands is crucial to your success.

Our network of deep industry partnerships helps you to build your experience once and deploy it everywhere. This makes it possible for you to stay ahead of the curve in a fast-changing industry and take your game to the latest platforms, even on Day One.

With a special emphasis on AR, VR and mobile development, the 2020 LTS and 2021.1 Tech Stream releases boast new features and enhancements to make this process even smoother.   

2020 LTS

The 2020 LTS release includes support for OpenXR and the Oculus Quest 2 to help maximize your reach on a wide range of AR and VR devices. Additionally, AR Foundation 4.0 supports ARKit scene mesh reconstruction using LiDAR sensors on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro, bringing a new level of realism to your AR experiences as they blend seamlessly with the real world. Lastly, Adaptive Performance 2.0 comes with new sample projects to showcase its features.  

2021.1 Tech Stream 

The XR Interaction Toolkit (Pre-release) allows you to add interactivity to your AR and VR experiences without having to code the interactions from scratch. The toolkit now includes major bug fixes and workflow improvements, additional interactions and new samples that demonstrate all the toolkit’s interactions. AR Foundation 4.1 also provides access to the latest AR features created by ARKit and ARCore, including depth textures and automatic occlusion.


Looking for Pre-release and Experimental tech?

Starting in 2021.1, we are changing the way we publish, show and label packages in the Package Manager. This new system is meant to provide clearer guidance regarding a package’s stability, anticipated support level, expected release date and Unity’s long-term commitment to the package. This new lifecycle is the result of many rounds of feedback with the community and promises to clarify and improve the Package Manager experience. You can read the details here. Creators who want to discover and try Pre-release and Experimental packages can continue to do so by visiting a new dedicated forum space

Curious about the new netcode solution that you heard about at the GDC Showcase? We’re pleased to announce that it is now live as an Experimental package on GitHub. Access the resources you need to start exploring networking multiplayer games on our new documentation site.

Join our 2020 LTS and 2021.1 Tech Stream webinars

Join our Developer Advocate team as they provide a hands-on overview of some of the key features included in the 2020 LTS and 2021.1 Tech Stream releases.

The 2020 LTS Webinar takes place April 20, and the 2021.1 Tech Stream webinar takes April 22. Registration is open.

Learn more and share your feedback

We believe the world is a better place with more creators in it, so we’re constantly striving to build a better platform for you. That means ensuring that you have a strong foundation and powerful tools for anything you want to make. Learn more about the releases here.

You can provide feedback on the new features and updates in our forums. We invite you to share your input on the 2020 LTS release here and on the 2021.1 Tech Stream here. As always, you can also find the complete list of updates in our 2020 LTS release notes and 2021.1 Tech Stream release notes.

March 23, 2021 in Engine & platform | 10 min. read

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