There has been a lot of announcements around Unity lately, and a lot of them have been about some really cool stuff. The problem is with all these announcements its hard to keep up to speed. So I thought I would put together a sort of summary to highlight some of the stuff that I have heard or seen that I think is really awesome.
First off is the first official release of Visual Studio Tools for Unity. For those of you who haven't heard of Visual Studio tools for Unity (formally UnityVS), it is a plugin/extension for Visual Studio that allows you to code, test, and debug all of your Unity game code right inside of Visual Studio. This is awesome if you are like me and love having intellisense and auto complete there to help speed up the coding process. Visual Studio has arguably the best debugging tools of any IDE and having the ability to debug your game code with those tools is another major reason I love this plugin. This is the first release of this amazing tool since the recent acquisition of SyntaxTree by Microsoft. If you haven’t had a chance to try Visual Studio tools for Unity yet, I highly recommend it.
It came from Unite!
A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend Unity’s Unite conference in Seattle, Washington. Honestly, I’m not lying when I say I was lucky. This event was amazing. Not just for all the incredible and insightful talks, the booths with wicked demos and great swag, but also for the absolutely awesome keynote where it seemed like every announcement was bigger and better than the one before it. Yes I know some of this might have been previously announced, hinted at, or even leaked, but this was even more confirmation and maybe even some really awesome stuff you might not have heard about.
Since I won’t be able to fit a line by line account in an easy to read blog post, I thought I would do the next best thing and share with you some of the amazing things that were announced in this year’s keynote. Watch the entire keynote here (Unite 2014 Keynote)
New UI is coming in 4.6!
(39:50) It’s true, the new UI is coming out in 4.6! Finally the long awaited UI is coming and it gets even better! This easy to use, powerful UI is available for testing in the open beta of Unity 4.6 that is live right now. Check out this link (http://bit.ly/XQ4r3S ) for the download and more info.
(1:12:47) This one really has my interest. The talk on IL2CPP was very interesting and I highly recommend checking it out (YouTube Link). A great way to describe what IL2CPP is and does comes from the Unity website; “the IL2CPP compiler converts assemblies into C++ source code. It then leverages the standard platform C++ compilers to produce native binaries.” Or “IL2CPP seeks to provide the ease of use and productivity of C# with the performance of C++”. This has a lot of important benefits for performance, portability and the all-important maintenance of code. You can read a more in-depth look at what IL2CPP is and its many benefits in this great blog post by Ralph Hauwert (http://bit.ly/1vjLzrI)
WebGL coming free to Unity!
(1:16:07) While the inclusion of WebGL in the upcoming Unity 5.0 has been known for a while, the announcement that WebGL will be available to everyone for free was extremely well received, myself included in this group of happy developers. WebGL is very promising and I am a strong supporter. It’s great to see Unity supporting it as strongly as they are. You can read more about Unity’s WebGL plan at this link http://bit.ly/1pE4Y3n
MOAR Bits! The editor is going 64bit
(1:20:35) Continuing the performance theme, the Unity editor is going to 64bit! This is great news for those who need the extra memory that this will provide. Those of us who have worked with larger projects know just how slow the editor can be at times. This transition from 32bit to 64bit will hopefully help to fix this issue.
Analytics in Unity
(1:51:10) We all, for the most part, know how important analytics is to the game development process, but very few of us have actually taken steps to include them in our games. So, to help those of us still dragging our feet, Unity has announced they will be including analytic tools to their engine in the very near future. This is very good news! All games should have some analytics and this move by Unity will help make it even easier.
Unity Developer Offer Program
Reach millions of new customers by bringing your games to Windows and/or Windows Phone. Microsoft is offering an exclusive deal to Unity developers. Developers who qualify start out with some awesome benefits right away including a Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro license, Unity Asset Store vouchers, Windows devices, Microsoft Store vouchers and more! Learn more here!