At GDC 2017, Unity held a keynote discussing their impact on the gaming industry, future updates to the engine, and much more. The Unity engine and titular company have been very accommodating when it comes to VR development, having added a feature that even allows developers to work within VR and provided the framework that makes it easier to develop for VR in general. Thus, it’s no surprise that the new 5.6 update to the engine included a couple announcements that benefit VR platforms. The update itself also now has a release date.
The focuses on stage were the fixes for the NavMesh and the progressive lightmapper that adds improved lighting workflow with path tracing solutions & flexible ways to merge shadows. In between details on features, they brought up surprise guests to demo the new Power Ranger Legacy Wars mobile game. The original Green Ranger himself, Jason David Frank, and the Black Ranger in the new film, Ludi Lin. The two played a match against each other, which was won by the Green Ranger of course, and then they shared another announcement for Unity 5.6. For Android and iOS, 5.6 adds support for Google Daydream and Google Cardboard and the full launch of the update will happen on March 31st.
Unity 5.6 also will ship with support for the Vulkan API, a GPU standard from Khronos Group who announced updates to the API and the new VR/AR standard OpenXR at GDC this year. The demo shown on stage was for a mobile game which showed 10%-15% reduction in power consumption when using the Vulkan API over OpenGL|ES. Hopefully, with the added VR extension for the API, immersive experiences will see a rise in efficient computing for the highly demanding virtual experiences.
If you’d like to get early access to Unity engine features, you can join the beta via their website with 5.6 as part of the beta as of today. Stay tuned to UploadVR for more news from GDC 2017.