“Thats fucking awesome,” those were Mike Capps words on stage today as he talked about the new graphical capabilities of Unity 5, which was announced today. This news comes on the heels of Unreal’s announcement yesterday, which brought us the popular UE4 engine free of charge. Unity’s announcement comes with two versions of the new engine, one free and one “pro” which starts at $75 a month. The free version of the engine will come with “all engine features” and will be completely royalty free, which is in sharp contrast to the 5% gross royalty that Unreal Engine is requiring. It should be noted that Unity 4 also had a free version of the program, which also was royalty free so this is not completely new news.
Among the major features that are available within the new engine are some fairly powerful graphical tools. Looking at some of the demos that were shown during the event, it is clear that those tools are being put to great use, as they really are competing with Unreal for graphical fidelity. Among the new tools for developers to play with is a new standard, physically based shader. This new tool will help materials look more consistent with lighting effects because it will look at how lighting hits a number of different types of material like metal or wood. The new platform also brings with it real time global illumination and HDR reflection probes. The engine will also be coming with a brand new physics engine which brings “massive improvements” to the 3D physics in it, as well as an much more powerful animator which they showed off through an impressive video demo.
The platform comes natively with industry leading platform support. On that list we can see that Oculus and Gear VR are both listed as supported platforms, however the new HTC/Valve Vive is conspicuously absent from the support. It is likely only a temporary lack of support and we should see it added by the time dev kits start shipping.
The Unity 5 release comes with a stout 57 pages of release notes, so Unity developers… you have some homework to do.
Stay tuned to UploadVR for all the latest VR news from GDC. We will be on the floor all week bringing you coverage from all angles. So be sure to follow the site, follow us on Twitter, and be sure to check out our live stream which will be streamed here on the site as well as IN VR!! Thanks to our friends at Convrge, be sure to download the experience so that you can join in on the conversation, its going to be a party!