Today marks the beginning of Unite 2023 (which takes place in Amsterdam), where the new Unity 6 engine version was demonstrated to fellow developers.
Due at some point in 2024, Unity 6 was shown off with a Fantasy Kingdom demo based on assets made by Synty Studios. The demo offered a glimpse into the enhancements planned for the engine, including but not limited to:
- Major performance improvements thanks to hardware-based optimizations unlocked through GPU Resident Drawer, GPU Occlusion Culling, and the Spatial-Temporal Post-Processing (STP);
- Adaptive Probe Volumes that deliver more immersive, natural lighting scenarios and foliage details through enhanced SpeedTree integration. Hardware-based optimizations and boosts in performance are unlocked through GPU Resident Drawer, GPU Occlusion Culling, and Spatial-Temporal Post-Processing (STP).
- Brand-new WebGPU graphics backend, which allows running games everywhere on the Web, including within browsers and in web views inside native applications.
More information about the features of Unity 6 will be available to developers in a dedicated Roadmap session due to be uploaded shortly on YouTube.
At Unite 2023, the new Unity Cloud was also unveiled. This is an ecosystem of products and services that makes work on games and real-time 3D experiences more creator-focused, accessible, and connected, according to the maker. It includes features like Unity Asset Manager, Unity DevOps, centralized Team Administration, Editor integrations, and an improved Dashboard UI. Unity Cloud is out now in early access for every version of the engine, Personal Edition included.
Unity also demonstrated the evolved version of the AI-powered tools Muse and Sentis. Muse will be expanded in 2024 with the Behavior, Animate, and Sketch features. The first lets developers instantly set up character interactions, creating behavior trees in the Editor; the second animates humanoid characters with a few text prompts, and the third lets developers create mockups together on the Web before importing their scenes into the Editor. Muse is currently in early access (scheduled to end in Spring 2024), priced at $30 monthly.
Sentis, on the other hand, allows developers to import AI models in the Unity Runtime to create smart and interactive non-player characters (NPCs). The peculiarity of Sentis is that it runs locally on the end-user device, which eliminates cloud-based costs. Sentis remains in free open beta and will be fully released with Unity 6 in 2024.
The reputation of Unity recently took a heavy hit for their proposed runtime fee. The engine maker wanted all its licensees to pay based on the number of installations of the game or app, but the backlash was so strong that Unity had to dial back the policy a few notches. Still, the damage was done, with some developers promising they’d look into other engines (chiefly Epic’s Unreal) for their next projects.