Our latest release, and the final installment in the Unity 5 cycle, includes the Progressive Lightmapper preview, new Light Modes, Vulkan support, a new video player, support for Facebook Gameroom, Google Daydream and much more.
Unity 5 launched two years ago at GDC 2015, and today we conclude the cycle with the release of Unity 5.6. We hope that your projects will benefit from the many features and improvements that it includes.
Unity 5.6 highlights in short
Massive lighting improvements
5.6 includes the Progressive Lightmapper preview, which provides immediate feedback when trying out different lighting scenarios, and much faster iteration compared to the current Enlighten solution. 5.6 also offers Light Modes, which allow for various ways of mixing real time and baked lighting for static and dynamic objects.
Improved graphics performance
GPU Instancing, which enables new kinds of effects where many similar objects are needed at a very low performance cost, has been improved with support for Procedural Instancing. And with the addition of Compute Shaders for Metal, you can now add more details to your games by tapping into the raw power of the chipsets on Apple iOS and macOS.
Vulkan support brings increased speed while reducing driver overhead and CPU workload; this leaves the CPU free to do additional computation or rendering and saves on battery life for mobile platforms.
Massive update to Particle System
5.6 greatly extends the range of particle effects to give more options and control to the user. This update also significantly improves Particle System performance.
New Video player
A new multi-platform video player enables playback of 4k video allows you to build 360-degree video VR experiences.
Navigation system improvements
Improved AI and Pathfinding tools-also referred to as the NavMesh system-expand the possibilities to manipulate multiple nav meshes and agents. And, new tools for procedurally generated or dynamically loaded content enable a whole new set of use cases and gameplay options for character navigation.
New 2D tools and improvements
Unity 5.6 adds a whole set of 2D features that give you more control and make it easier to create complex 2D objects. New features for 2D physics enable new kinds of gameplay and effects, including fully featured particle effects interacting with 2D objects.
One of the top performing tools on the Unity Asset Store is now available for free to users of 5.3+ and will be soon be natively integrated into Unity. TextMesh Pro features advanced text rendering with dynamic visual text styling, along with greatly improved control over text formatting and layout.
Performance Reporting and debugging improvements
In addition to exception reports, Performance Reporting now collects native crashes for iOS. Physics debug visualization and profiler improvements make it easier to find the source of performance issues in the game.
With 5.6, you can seamlessly publish to Facebook Gameroom, as well as Google Daydream and Cardboard for Android and iOS. Nintendo Switch support is also available now.
Unity Collaborate (Beta)
We added new options when publishing changes for finer control of your Collaborate projects.
Experimental support for WebAssembly
In 5.6 we bring experimental support for WebAssembly, a new cross-browser technology designed to help improve the Unity WebGL experience.
Improvements to multiplayer
5.6 includes optimizations and stability improvements for existing Unity Multiplayer features. Notably, we've improved stability when running on less-than-reliable network conditions. Most changes are transparent and shouldn't impact current implementations of the network API.
In addition to changes that ship with the Editor, we've made improvements to Multiplayer documentation, created some new learning material, and began foundational work on new features. For more info, check out our recent blog post, which provides an update on the state of Unity Multiplayer, current and future.
New features for Unity Collaborate (Beta)
Unity Collaborate makes it easy for teams to save, share, and sync their Unity project. It's easy to use so the entire team can contribute to the Project, regardless of location or role.It's simpler to use than traditional version control (e.g. Git, SVN) so your team spends more time on what's important-your game!
Unity 5.6 wraps Unity 5 cycle, what's next in 2017?
Check out our blog post with all the details about Unity 5.6 concluding the Unity 5 cycle, and what's coming next in 2017.
Check the release notes for a full list of all new features, changes, bug fixes and known issues.