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Games Focus: 2022 in review

December 7, 2022 in Technology | 12 min. read
Games Focus: 2022 in review | Hero image
Games Focus: 2022 in review | Hero image

This is the last blog of this year in our Games Focus series, which highlights key product development initiatives in recent releases, the year ahead, and beyond. Ralph Hauwert looks back at his top picks from the series so far, thoughts on Unite 2022, and more.

Hello, I’m Ralph, and I get to run the Unity Engine and Editor, Games, the Unity Asset Store and more.

As I wrote in my first post kicking off the Games Focus series in September, games have always been at the heart of what we do, and they always will be. 

We created this series to show you how we’re delivering the tools and features you need to create extraordinary games of all kinds and reach your players wherever they are. If you missed a few, you can catch up in this reading list.

I know a 10-post series is a lot of information to get through! Whether you read one post, a few, or the whole series, these posts show and tell you how the Unity platform and ecosystem of tools can support your gamedev goals, today and in the future.

Our dedication is in the details

In each post, leaders from across Unity have been connecting our long-term plans for different uses and areas of the platform with specific tools, features, and improvements we’re working on to help you achieve your goals in each of these development areas. I picked out just a few of my personal highlights from the series.

Rendering

Ali, Aljosha, Mathieu, and Steven covered exciting updates for both HDRP and URP in their post, “Rendering that scales with your needs.” The new Water System for HDRP, full support for Shader Graph with HDRP coming with 2022.2, and the experimental strand-based Hair Solution are just a few that I’m personally excited about. I also love seeing more and more games being made with URP.

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Profiling and performance optimization

It’s great to see the Memory Profiler 1.0.0 is now a verified package for Unity 2022.2., which you can read about in the “Profiling and performance optimization” post by Marika. I know the team worked hard to get it right. They’re also aiming to help your team be more productive by delivering faster iteration times, fewer interruptions, and greater efficiency in the Editor, from import times and domain reload time to workflows.

Platforms

Nick and team covered multiple improvements in “Reach more players over multiple platforms and form factors,” including our native support for Apple silicon in the Editor and major toolchain updates for Android and iOS to ensure compatibility with the latest devices. I’ve seen some of the initial performance test results for heavy draw call submission comparisons of DX11 vs DX12, and I’m excited to see the DirectX 12 backend out of preview with 2022.2 and now recommended for Windows and Xbox development.

XR

In “Extending your reality with XR,” Tarrah and team shared some of the benefits for XR developers with AR Foundation (5.0) and Unity’s XR Interaction Toolkit (or XRI), which is now established as the foundation for the latest Microsoft Mixed Reality Toolkit (MRTK3).

Product feedback

Andrew shared more insights into how your feedback drives product development. I’m thankful for every single one of you who have contributed the almost 9,000 community comments and insights we received in the last 12 months in response to our roadmap entries. Thank you!

Collaboration

Ashley, Marc-André, Marie-Christine, and Marc wrote about a few very different ways that we’re helping to empower teams’ cross-functional collaboration. They shared updates on our work to provide better codeless creation tools, as well as some DevOps solutions that simplify teamwork.

Unity Visual Scripting and improved rapid iteration for Shader Graph in Unity 2021 LTS will empower more creators including non-programmers.

We heard that you need more tools for automating repetitive jobs and increasing release cadence to deliver high-quality games. That’s why I’m happy to see our new Plastic SCM web experience, which is now in beta. Across the board, our DevOps solutions are all about giving you intuitive workflows so you can do more with fewer clicks; if you haven’t already seen their keynote section, it’s here.

We also heard our customers loud and clear about their challenges with Cloud Build, and that’s why our DevOps team is prioritizing dramatic improvements to the service’s reliability.

Multiplayer

Kiki wrote about how we’re building a flexible networking solution that fits your exact needs for your multiplayer games and works seamlessly with your preferred third-party tools and services.

We’ve made big strides with our latest Multiplayer capabilities. Our GameObject-based Netcode solution is helpful for getting started with building small-scale co-op multiplayer games, and the Netcode for Entities solution is coming to the 2022.2 Tech Stream, which helps you get set up for a larger-scale multiplayer experience.

It was also great to read that games are already using our Netcode solution, in this case, Ship of Fools by Fika Productions with Team17.

Expanded scale

Isaac and Laurent wrote a helpful and easy-to-understand post about how ECS for Unity is enabling seasoned Unity creators to build more ambitious games by making it possible for them to manage memory more precisely, get full control over the game code processing of gameplay frames, and ultimately fit more complex gameplay into challenging device constraints. They also explain how games such as Detonation Racing and V Rising use the packages included in ECS for Unity.

Nothing replaces talking to you in person

We also talked about many of the initiatives written about in the series at Unite 2022, our first in-person Unite conference since 2019. Past Unite conferences have been a great way for us to hear from you. I was so happy to meet some of you once again in person, and I’d like to share some thoughts on the experience.

Panelists before a Unite 2022 session in Austin
Panelists before a Unite 2022 session in Austin

This year’s Unite included both in-person and online sessions. We met with people at local Unite events in Austin, Brighton, Copenhagen, Montreal, and San Francisco.

I spoke at Unite in Austin. It was a genuine joy for me and many others at Unity to once again open the doors to customers, pass out the swag, hear about some of the fantastic things you’re making with Unity, and see the seats fill up for the sessions. We got to celebrate your success, share product news and the roadmap, and help you get the most out of Unity with our many sessions packed with tips and best practices.

Here are a few others that caught my eye:

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Check out the Understanding Unity’s 2023 roadmap for games session from Unite 2022

As part of the event, we hosted “Ask the Experts” meetups in each office as well as online. In fact, our Ask the Experts Discord chat took off and was a big success, with hundreds of questions answered.

“Ask an Expert” session at Unite 2022 in Copenhagen

Thanks to all of you that attended in person or online this year. We’re  already looking forward to seeing you at GDC 2023!

The new release and good resources to check out

We’re just about to release the Unity 2022.2 Tech Stream. This release is particularly exciting, with major milestones in ECS for Unity, UI Toolkit, DirectX 12, and XRI alongside new features like Forward+ for URP, the new HDRP Water System, and so much more. You can learn more about these updates throughout the Games Focus series.

With this opportunity to go hands-on with early access to new features, I hope you take the time to jump in, give it a try, and let us know what you think and how we can build even better tools to power your creativity.

When you’re deep into your game development, it can be a challenge to take even a few minutes to keep up with new tech. We’re working hard to make it easier for you to find and take advantage of technical and creative know-how across different channels.

I picked out a few resources that could really help you in your work:

And of course, stay tuned for our blog post outlining all of the new features and updates in the 2022.2 Tech Stream launch.

Even after many years with Unity, I still love to see how so many of you continue to expand our ideas of what a great, beautiful, and interesting game is. We’re all looking forward to a busy 2023 with fresh updates on what we’re working on, new releases, and plenty of success for our community.

Keep up with us here on the blog and in the forums – we are always welcome and open to feedback so that we can help you change the world with your creations.

December 7, 2022 in Technology | 12 min. read
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