The purpose of the 2D Experimental Preview build and forum is to provide our community a way to experience new and experimental 2D features that are in development and participate in the development through discussions and feedback. Community feedback is valuable to us as it will help us gauge the usefulness of features and if we are headed in the right direction.
We are calling it Experimental Preview because, instead of just releasing a preview of features in development, we also want to include experiments or prototypes of ideas, so we can get feedback at a very early stage.
9-Slice is a 2D technique which allows you to reuse an image with variable dimension without preparing multiple assets. Defined areas of an image can be stretched or repeated when an image dimension changes. This technique is commonly used in UI and we have brought this over to sprites as well. It works great for a variety of things, like creating platforms or backgrounds very quickly while using a small amount of texture memory.
The Outline Editor is a new addition to the Sprite Editor Window providing the ability to either automatically generate a selectable level of tessellation or manually edit the mesh shape of the sprite.
The Sorting Group Component provides the ability to render a set of objects separately from others on the same Sorting Layer. It ensures that all renderers that are children of the sorting group are sorted together for rendering. This is extremely useful in cases where the amount and order of the Sorting Layers becomes very complex to manage.
Masks are great for either hiding or revealing portions of sprites and have many applications including making cool transition effects. That is why we have also added an alpha threshold control to it. Two types of masks are available, Global Masks that affects the scene, and Scoped Masks which work within a GameObjects hierarchy.
We have added quite a few new things for 2D Physics as well. There is now a CapsuleCollider2D Component. This removes the need to use multiple colliders to make a capsule shape and is more optimized as well. We have also added an Edge-Radius property for BoxCollider2D & EdgeCollider2D components, a new 2D Physics Casting API and a new 2D Contacts API, in addition to numerous improvements to 2D Physics.
The Tile Map starts with a new Grid Component to specify a tile layout and comes with preset layouts such as Rectangular, Isometric and Hexagonal. Layers are then used to place tiles and this provides the ability to use multiple layers that can be translated or tinted differently. The Tile Map uses a Tile Map Palette for easy access to groups of tiles as well as tile painting tools. A key feature for tiles is the Tile Asset which provides many options such as attaching prefabs to tiles and also programmable tiles.
Head over to the 2D Experimental Preview Forum to grab the latest release and try it out. Give us feedback, suggestions, ask questions, start discussions, make some noise. Be part of developing these new 2D features!