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The recently launched Unity 2018.1 marks the start of a new cycle that will enhance Unity’s core technology. It is built upon the early stages of two innovations: the Scriptable Render Pipeline and the Entity Component System. Together, they make it easier for creators to deliver beautiful graphics while unlocking the performance of modern hardware to make richer experiences possible.

The beta for 2018.2 is now available and continues the 2018 cycle with a range of improvements across all of these new systems. We’re also adding several brand new features.

Some of them are in preview. Try them out by downloading the beta!

Texture Mipmap Streaming

The Texture Mipmap Streaming system gives you control over which mipmap levels are actually loaded into memory. Normally Unity will load all the mipmap levels that are stored on the disk, but with this system, you can take direct control of which mipmap levels are loaded.

Typically a system like this is used to reduce the total amount of memory required for textures by only loading the mipmaps needed to render the current camera position in a scene. It trades a small amount of CPU cost for potentially large GPU memory savings.

Learn more here

Package Manager updates

We improved the Package Manager in a number of areas, including the UI and status of package label, the ability to dock the window and easy access to both documentation and the list of changes.

You can see more of the latest developments and join the discussion on the Package Manager forum.

Particle System improvements

Unity now allows up to eight texture coordinates to be used on meshes and passed to shaders. Particle Systems will also now convert their colors into linear space, when appropriate, before uploading them to the GPU.

We’ve added two new modes to the Shape module, in order to emit from a Sprite or SpriteRenderer component.  Finally, Unity 2018.2 introduces some new scripting APIs, for baking the geometry of a Particle System into a Mesh. Starting with Unity 2018.2, the tail of the Trail Renderer will now retract smoothly, as opposed to vertices vanishing abruptly.

See the full list of all the improvements here.

Camera Physical Properties

In 2018.2 beta, we added a real-world physical camera model that can drive a standard Unity Camera object. This allows you to have a familiar interface offering cinematographers a ‘real camera’ experience.

Learn more about how it works here

High DPI Monitor Support

If you are an owner of a 4K monitor, you can now enjoy High-DPI scaling support on both Linux and Windows in the Unity Editor.

Animation Jobs C# API

In Unity 2018.2, we are improving the AnimationPlayables by allowing our users to write their own C# Playables that can interact directly with the animation data. This allows integration of user made IK solvers, procedural animation or even custom mixers into the current animation system.

Learn how to get started here

Other improvements

We also added support for managed code debugging on iOS and Android for IL2CPP, added support for serializing MinMaxCurve and MinMaxGradient in scripts, and added Vulkan support in the Unity Editor on Windows and Linux.

Check the release notes for the full list of new features, improvements and fixes. We'll be happy to hear your feedback on the new features on our forum!

How to get early access to the new features

You can get access to all of above now simply by downloading our open beta. Joining our open beta will not only give you access to all the new features, you’ll also help us find bugs ensuring the highest quality software.

As a starting point, have a look at this guide to being an effective beta tester to get an overview. If you would like to receive occasional emails with beta news, updates, tips and tricks, please sign up below.

May 7, 2018 in Technology | 3 min. read