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15. February 2018

Unity have acquired another developer from their asset store, this time ProBuilder.   Like previous acquisitions, they turned around and made the tool available for allStair-Shape-GIF developers for free!  The full editions of ProBuilder and PolyBrush are now available for free download in the asset store.  They are part of the roadmap to be incorporated into future editions of Unity.

ProBuilder enables you to model directly in Unity, excellent for prototyping.  PolyBrush, currently in beta,  enables you to do terrain like painting directly on meshes instead of just terrains. 

Details of the acquisition from the Unity blog:

We are excited to announce a powerful new addition to our creative tools suite: ProBuilder (with other great tools) and its creators, have joined Unity. Please welcome Gabriel Williams & Karl Henkel to Unity!

Gabriel & Karl have been delivering awesome tools to enable fast and easy level design directly in the Unity Editor. With ProBuilder you design, prototype and play test rapidly your levels right in Unity. With Polybrush (beta) you refine your creation by sculpting complex shapes, painting in custom lighting or coloring, and blending textures across meshes.

In Unity 2017, we added powerful visual tools like Timeline, Cinemachine, a new FBX Exporter and we are continuing on our efforts to help artists, designers and developers create and collaborate more efficiently.

Starting today the full editions of ProBuilder and Polybrush are becoming part of Unity feature roadmap. They are now available at no additional cost to all Unity subscription plans (Personal, Plus, Pro and Enterprise).

The acquisition also includes ProGrids also available from the Asset Store for free.  ProGrids provides simple grids for easy level placement and modular level design.  They also intend to roll ProGrid functionality into Unity in the future.

GameDev News

12. February 2018

Today Unity have released a very high quality and full featured 2D Game Kit, available here.  The kit is a combination of 2D platformer game with multiple levels, a loading screen etc.  It has been designed in such a way that much of the game content can be customized and configured without ever having to write a single line of code.  Additionally there is a step by step tutorial series as well as comprehensive reference material that show you how to create your own 2D game using the game kit.  The kit is available completely free and can be downloaded from the asset store.

If you are interested in seeing the Unity 2D game kit in action be sure to check out this quick video, which is also embedded below.

Programming GameDev News

9. February 2018

With the release of Unity 2018.1 beta, Unity have developed a completely new programmable graphics pipeline.  On top of this new rendering technology Unity have a new shader tool called Shader Graph.  Shader Graph enables you to create shaders using a drag and drop interface by creating graphs of render nodes.

To get started with the new Shader Graph, you need to be running Unity 2018.1 Beta or newer.  Additionally you currently need to download this example scene.  You can see the Shader Graph in action in this video also embedded below.

Programming Art

10. January 2018

The first release of the Unity game engine is available in beta form, Unity 2018.1.  Keep in mind this is a beta, so of course it should not be used for production code.  Wii U, XP and ShaderGraphMonoDevelop users should note this release marks the end of support for these products.  There are however a load of new features in this release in addition to several bug fixes and improvements. 

The biggest new feature of this release is the new rendering pipeline referred to as Scriptable Render Pipeline (SRP) enabling users to customize the rendering pipeline using C# and material shaders.  The SRP also includes a new Shader Graph tool (pictured right) that enables developers to visually build shaders using a simpler flow chart graph system.  You can read more about the changes in this release here.

Details from the release notes:

System Requirements Changes
  • Removed support for Windows XP in standalone player builds. Windows Vista is the now minimum supported OS for Windows standalone player.

  • Deprecated support for MonoDevelop. VisualStudio is now the recommended and supported C# editor on both macOS and Windows.

Known Issues
  • Audio: [Audio Mixer] Crash on play when duplicated audio group is assigned to audio source (962084)

  • Build Pipeline: BuildObserver failed is thrown when building a project with Vuforia enabled. (984712)

  • Editor: "Assertion failed" exception is generated on opening a project on Mac OSX (977901)

  • Editor: Use of "external script editor" in editor preferences doesn't work with some editors. Workaround is to use "open by file extension". (974296)

  • Editor: [Graphview] At some steps of zooming, texts on nodes appear blurry. (985084)

  • Editor: [Mac] VS for Mac opens new instance after Unity was reopened (979897)

  • GI: AddInstancePropertiesJob error while baking with specific assets (973689)

  • GI: Baking pipeline still runs even if GI systems are disabled (985795)

  • GI: Editor freezes on 'Writing Lighting Data' when baking multiple scenes in Build Settings (977913)

  • GI: [Progressive Lightmapper] Scene is completely black after clicking Generate Light button (973666)

  • GI: [UI] New parameters are incorrectly introduced for directional, spot and point lights (972240)

  • Graphics: [UI] Multiple debug scene visualization modes are broken (969889)

  • Particles: Line renderer is rendered in scene/game window when selecting object in the Project window (972298)

  • 2D: [Experimental] Added ability for user to add functionality for Sprite editing in the Sprite Editor Window.

  • 2D: [Experimental] Added experimental API to support Sprite animation.

  • Android: Added an interface with a callback that is called after the Android Gradle project is generated but before it is built.

  • Android: Added ARM64 (also known as AArch64) experimental support.

  • Android: Added Sustained Performance Mode setting, which sets a predictable, consistent level of device performance over longer periods of time without thermal throttling. Based on the SustainedPerformance API from Google.

  • Animation: Added PositionConstraint, RotationConstraint and ScaleConstraint components.

  • Animation: Added the AimConstraint component.

  • Animation: Added the ParentConstraint component.

  • Animation: Added weighted tangent support to AnimationCurve.

  • Asset Import: (Also see API changes) Added OnPreprocessAsset callback in AssetPostprocessor.

  • Asset Import: Added support for importing Aim constraints from FBX files.

  • Asset Import: Added support for importing Parent constraints from FBX files.

  • Asset Import: Added support for importing Point, Orient and Scale constraints from FBX files.

  • Asset Import: [Experimental] Added experimental API to generate Texture/Sprite from importer settings.

  • Audio: Added Google's Resonance Audio plugins.

  • Build Pipeline: Added a new API for changing platform icons; it supports platform specific icon kinds(types) and multilayer icons.

  • Build Pipeline: Added ability to store and retrieve object references by name through EditorBuildSettings.

  • Build Pipeline: Added new BuildReport API. Building players and assetbundles will now return a BuildReport object that allows you to query information about the build process and outputs.

  • Build Pipeline: Android Build & Run has now target device selection in the build dialog. It allows users to deploy to either a specific single device or to all supported devices simultaneously.

  • Cache Server: Added -CacheServerIPAddress command line argument to connect Editor to specified Cache Server on startup.

  • Editor: New ObjectFactory API that allow to create Object using default values - See ScriptingAPI and Presets for more details.

  • Editor: Preset class that allow to save serialized informations of an Object to a .preset asset and apply it later to the same Object type.

  • Editor: The profiler window now contains a 'clear on play' button.

  • Editor: When running PlayMode and EditMode tests in batch mode it is now possible to specify scriptingBackend to use trough a test settings file.

  • GI: Added experimental API for baking sky occlusion in Progressive Lightmapper. The sky occlusion value for a given input position denotes what fraction of the sky is visible for that point. It takes into account any lightmap static object. The sky occlusion allows you to apply the correct amount of sky lighting to objects that are otherwise hard to lightmap, such as trees and foliage.

  • GI: [Experimental] Added new experimental C# interface to pass light information to the GI baking backends.

  • Graphics: Added dynamic resolution support for PS4.

  • Graphics: GPU Instancing now supports GI.

    • Objects affected by light probes, occlusion probes (in shadowmask mode) or lightmaps can now be automatically batched by Foward and Deferred pipeline.
    • Light probe and occlusion probe data can be sent to Graphics.DrawMeshInstanced using LightProbeUsage.CustomProvided mode.
    • New APIs are added for calculating probe data and copying to MaterialPropertyBlock: -- LightProbes.CalculateInterpolatedLightAndOcclusionProbes -- MaterialPropertyBlock.CopySHCoefficientArrayFrom -- MaterialPropertyBlock.CopyProbeOcclusionArrayFrom
  • Graphics: Metal: Added support for DX11 tessellation through hull/domain shaders.

  • Multiplayer: Added support for callbacks that the user can define to be notified when there is something to read or connection is ready to send.

  • OSX: Added support for IL2CPP scripting backend for Mac Standalone player.

  • Particles: Added support for GPU instancing of Particle System mesh rendering.

  • Particles: Added support for Orbital Velocity to the Velocity over Lifetime module.

  • Particles: All particle emitter shapes now support reading a Texture for masking and color tinting.

  • Physics: 2D Physics is now able to use all the cores on a device to run its simulation. See 'Job Options (Experimental)' in 2D physics settings.

  • Player: (Alse mentioned under API changes) Added an experimental API which allows to change the order in which engine systems are invoked, remove engine systems from the update order, or insert new C# entrypoints at any point in the update cycle: UnityEngine.Experimental.LowLevel.PlayerLoop.

  • Scripting: Added command line option "overrideMonoSearchPath" for desktop standalone players (OSX, Windows). "overrideMonoSearchPath" specifies an extra folder to search when Mono is loading assemblies. One intended use is two versions of the same project i.e. trial and full version. The assets are the same but the scripts are different. This command line option can be used to re-use the assets but load different scripts.

  • Video: Audio sample output API for the VideoPlayer with support for access from C# or C++.

  • Video: Support for reading videos from AssetBundles on Android.

  • Web: Added UploadHandlerFile for UnityWebRequest: sends file contents as request body without loading entire file to memory.

  • Web: Custom certificate validation support added to UnityWebRequest. See CertificateHandler script documentation for more info.

  • Windows: Added support for IL2CPP scripting backend for Windows Standalone player.

  • XR: 360 stereo image capture with support for conversion of rendered texture (cubemap) to stereo/mono equirectangular format for display in VR. Added script API: RenderTexture.ConvertToEquirect() for converting rendered cubemap textures to stereo and mono equirectangular format.

  • XR: Added a new option in the Windows MR Player Settings called Enable Depth Buffer Sharing. This allows the OS to better stabilize images without the need to manually set the focus plane. For more information on the benefits of image stabilization, see Microsoft's documentation on Hologram Stability.

  • XR: Added support for capturing stereoscopic 360 images for VR and non-VR projects. Added omni-directional stereo (ODS) support in shader pipeline for rendering to 360 stereo cubemap.

    • Support for 360 stereo cubemap rendering in forward/deferred pipelines, directional/point light shadows, Skybox, MSAA, HDR and post processing stack. All pipelines and modes are tested.
    • ODS rendering support for screenspace shadows via separate ods world space pass and render texture to avoid incorrect shadows per eye.
    • Added stereo RenderToCubemap API script support: camera.RenderToCubemap with stereo eye parameter.
  • XR: Standalone player support for stereoscopic 360 image capture for VR and non-VR projects. Currently supported on Win64/OSX platforms.

    • Generate 360 capture shader variants when building standalone player according to the '360 Stereo Capture' UI checkbox in the VR editor settings panel.
    • Added PlayerSettings.enable360StereoCapture binding and doc page.

GameDev News

8. January 2018

For several years now, the Unity installer has included the ability to install MonoDevelop, the open source C# IDE by Xamarin.  With the upcoming release of Unity 2018.1 this will no longer be the case, as it is being removed from the installer and support is being dropped.  This isn’t really a huge development however, as since Microsoft purchased Xamarin last year they have released a version of MonoDevelopment/Xamarin Studio called Visual Studio for Mac, which will continue to be supported.

Details from the Unity blog:

With the (currently experimental) .NET 4.6 scripting runtime upgrade in Unity we are moving towards supporting many of the new exciting C# features available in C# 6.0 and beyond. It very important for us at Unity that we also provide a great C# IDE experience to accompany the new C# features.

MonoDevelop-Unity 5.9.6 that we ship with Unity today does not support the latest C# features and is also not compatible with debugging C# scripts in the new .NET 4.6 scripting runtime in Unity. To address this we are making 2 changes.

  1. Removing MonoDevelop-Unity 5.9.6 from the Unity 2018.1 installer on macOS and Windows and no longer supporting it for Unity development starting from Unity 2018.1.
  2. Including Visual Studio for Mac as the only C# IDE on macOS in Unity 2018.1.
    On Windows we will continue to include Visual Studio 2017 Community and no longer include MonoDevelop-Unity as an alternative.

Visual Studio for Mac already includes Unity integration out of the box and has since Unity 5.6.1, supporting both the latest C# features and debugging of C# scripts on the .NET 4.6 scripting runtime.

MonoDevelop-Unity users on macOS can download and install Visual Studio for Mac and start using it today.

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