Unity Technologies has announced that its new market-leading game-engine is now available—Unity 2017.1.
The company says that Unity exists to democratize development, solve hard problems and enable success—for its developers and their end-users. Unity is adopted by millions and powers more than 50 percent of all mobile games and nearly 75 percent of all AR and VR content. Interactive content made by Unity reaches nearly 3 billion devices worldwide.
New Unity 2017.1
“Unity 2017.1 is a one-stop creation powerhouse that will allow teams of artists and designers to unlock their full creativity. With incredibly open choreography tools like Timeline, smart procedural cameras in Cinemachine which follow your direction, and a built-in world-class colour grading suite plus the ability to edit and output all from within, we’re unleashing a content creation game changer that will improve collaboration across the board,” said Adam Myhill, Head of Cinematics, Unity. “Working in an environment with so much power and flexibility doesn’t just save a huge amount of time, it allows you to experiment, iterate and collaborate in ways which are the key ingredients of so many great things.”
Unity 2017.1 contains over 100 new features and improvements that will help developers with increasing collaboration, improving runtime performance and graphics quality and more. Key items include:
- Timeline and Cinemachine — New world-class artist tools Timeline and Cinemachine empower artists to create cinematic content and gameplay sequences without the need for coding. Timeline allows artists to easily blend and tweak animations within Unity, allowing for freedom to experiment and refine their creations. Cinemachine optimizes the artist workflow and gives room for experimentation by eliminating hours of hand animation, camera programming, and revision by using smart cameras for shot composition in cinematic sequences and gameplay. Engineers can also easily integrate sequences created with Timeline through the powerful scripting API and extend Timeline with the Playable API to create custom track types. Everyone will benefit from these new creative tools as it gives them access to artist tools that are intuitive, powerful and easy to use.
- Data-driven Live-Ops that tailors content to your audience — Unity 2017.1 gives users the power to take action on insights using a suite of Live-Ops analytics tools. Remote Settings is a powerful new feature that gives users the ability to make changes to their games in real-time, all without deploying a new version. Underpinning this is Standard Events which gives teams a window into how players are using their creations so they can make adjustments that will optimize enjoyment. Teams can also further maximize their success with Unity 2017.1’s built-in revenue generation solutions, bringing more opportunities to creators to optimize the performance of their content.
- Robust ecosystem that accelerates time-to-market — Unity’s robust and ever-growing ecosystem accelerates time-to-market and decreases production costs through the Unity Asset Store, a massive catalog of free and paid off-the-shelf content created by the community, for the community. The Asset Store’s all-new redesign is rolling out this summer and is home to art, models, scripts, sound effects, editor extensions, productivity tools, and more — anything an individual creator or team might need to make development easier and get their project to the finish line faster. Custom work and additional collaborators can be sourced through Unity Connect, the professional network and talent marketplace for all Unity Creators.
For a full list of changes, please visit the blog post on the Unity website.
Unity 2017.1 subscription plans are available with enhanced features and services to support customers’ individual needs: Unity Pro represents the top of the line in professional-grade tools while Unity Plus offers serious creators who intend to publish additional tools and services to help them be successful. Custom-tailored enterprise solutions are also available for teams of 21 or more. For hobbyists and aspiring creators, Unity Personal provides all the core features they need to get started for free.
As the AR and VR industries heat up over the next year, in particular, and as Apple ventures into robust support of both of these technology domains, it will be interesting to see what kind of affect Apple, with its extremely popular iPhone product line, puts on the game engine companies going forward. Unity has a very strong position in mobile games, a place where Apple’s iPhone dominates.
The Key Takeaways
- At the GRAPHISOFT North American User Conference earlier in the year, I attended a session focused on utilizing Unity for bridging the gap between ARCHICAD and VR head-gear. Unity’s platform is extremely popular at this current time with VR and AR content producers but it will be interesting to see what happens with its competitors in the domain of professional tools and if Unity can maintain its dominant position with respect to this particular type of workflow.,
- Game engines in general are infiltrating the pro creative apps market, not just in the AEC software markets but other pro app markets as well. As we can see in the new Twinmotion 2018, which incorporates the rival Unreal game engine, game engines like Unity solve problems and simplify delivery of solutions that would otherwise take much longer for individual developers to produce..
- Unity 2017.1 is also the first fully subscription-based product. Moving to a fully subscription-based licensing model has its ups and downs, as Autodesk knows all too well.