Unity has officially announced the release of Unity 5.6, the final instalment in the Unity 5 cycle which first launched in 2015 at GDC. In addition to better graphics performance and compatibility with new platforms, Unity 5.6 also ushers in Mixed mode lighting including Baked indirect mode, Shadowmask mode and subtractive mode. A summary of the key product highlights of Unity 5.6 follows:
- Lighting improvements with Progressive Lightmapper preview, offering immediate feedback and faster iteration, and new light modes which allow for various ways of mixing real time and baked lighting for static and dynamic objects.
- Improved graphics performance with GPU Instancing and 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 for increased speed while reducing driver overhead and CPU workload
- TextMesh Pro, 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.
- New platforms: Devs can now seamlessly publish to Facebook Gameroom, as well as Google Daydream and Cardboard for Android and iOS. Nintendo Switch support is also available now.
Unity’s followup game engine, currently known as Unity 2017, will be targeting artists and designers. A beta is expected this month.