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Official DOTS Development Status And Next Milestones - March 2022

Discussion in 'Data Oriented Technology Stack' started by LaurentGibert, Mar 15, 2022.

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  1. LaurentGibert

    LaurentGibert

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
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    Hi everyone!

    Thank you for your patience, this is the first of a series of updates for DOTS this year. In our last post on December 9th, 2021, we shared our intention to focus on delivering public patches again, and progressively reach an Entities 1.0 version.

    We have great news today! I am happy to announce that experimental Entities 0.50, and its compatible packages, are now publicly available! You will find more information about this release in a second forum post from Matt Fuad, Senior Product Manager in the DOTS Product Management team.

    We are also launching a public roadmap page presenting more details about the scope of Entities 1.0, and allowing you to share feedback directly to the product team.

    DOTS Roadmap
    Before we jump into the details of our next steps, we expect more and more Unity users to see those updates as we progress toward our first release supported for production, so I would like to take this opportunity to clarify our ambition and a few terms.

    The goal of Unity’s Data-Oriented Technology Stack (DOTS) is to enable you to build more ambitious games with Unity, to serve your needs in the direction of complex multiplayer, crossplay, and open-world games.

    DOTS includes all the packages based on the Entity-Component-System (ECS) architecture. The notion of DOTS is often extended to include the Burst Compiler and the C# Job System, two technologies that have been created to support the development of ECS but are independent of it. The Burst Compiler and the C# Job System are already recommended for production and can be used in any Unity project, regardless of whether or not ECS is being used. The APIs allowing to implement the ECS software architecture pattern in a Unity project are delivered in the package named Entities. To obtain the benefits of the data-oriented architecture, game code and packages need to be based on Entities.

    Our roadmap is focused on our efforts to bring the Entities package to version 1.0, which means that it would change its status from Experimental to Released, as per the definitions of our package lifecycle. This step is critical because it means that Entities 1.0 and its compatible packages will be supported for production, like any other features of Unity, and its APIs would remain stable for the duration of the Unity LTS cycle.

    In our previous forum post, we explained we need to go through 3 steps to get to 1.0:
    1. Reach compatibility with 2020 LTS: this is what is achieved today with the release of experimental Entities 0.50 and its compatible packages. Entities 0.50 is a breaking change from Entities 0.17.
    2. Reach compatibility with 2021 LTS: we are preparing a minor update to Entities, experimental Entities 0.51, that will make Entities and its compatible packages usable on both Unity 2020 LTS and Unity 2021 LTS projects. This update is currently scheduled for Q2 2022. More details will be shared as we approach its release.
    3. Reach compatibility with 2022 Tech Stream: the version Entities 1.0 and its compatible packages represent the ECS foundation supported for production for the entirety of the 2022 release cycle. Entities 1.0 will be a breaking change from Entities 0.51.
    Entities 1.0: What to expect?
    First of all, Entities 1.0 represents our ability to support you with ECS in production. During the experimental phase of Entities, in order to progress rapidly, we did not focus our resources on our testing infrastructure. We were, in a lot of cases, simply not equipped to track, reproduce and fix issues. With Entities and its compatible packages reaching version 1.0, we join the rank of released packages, with the quality standards we apply to those, and the quality requirements coming with it for all the platforms Unity supports.

    Secondly, Entities 1.0 is only a first step in overcoming some of the limitations of the Unity engine to enable creators to build more ambitious games. Entities 1.0 is not the end of the journey, it is the beginning, and we will need a few major releases to make its benefits fully accessible in a transparent way to all Unity users. So while we are making a dedicated effort to bring you strong samples, documentation, templates, and other best practices guides, we will recommend Entities 1.0 specifically to seasoned game creators who have the experience of having previously shipped a Unity title.

    Finally, Entities 1.0 is focused on enabling specific scenarios and types of games that were previously challenging to build in Unity, not to replace all existing functionalities. This is why Entities 1.0 is compatible with Gameobjects, and contains dedicated APIs and authoring workflows to efficiently bridge any Gameobject system of Unity with ECS-based ones. This gives you massive flexibility in building games by being able to rely on ECS in certain situations and still leveraging your existing experience with other aspects of Unity.

    Let’s look at the scenarios for which we believe ECS, with Entities 1.0 and its compatible packages, will make a difference in production:
    • Adaptive Game Architecture: facilitates writing and using an ECS game code architecture that adapts well to constantly changing gameplay requirements.
    • Integrated Workflows: ensures compatibility with Gameobjects through integrated editor and baking workflows, allowing you to leverage existing Unity systems and your team’s Unity expertise.
    • Increased Audience Reach: allows publishing your demanding games to the widest range of devices, by optimizing memory needs, and supporting better energy consumption.
    • Native Code Performance: preserves the simplicity of authoring managed code, while giving you the performance of native code, with parallelization and determinism.
    • Made For Massive Data Streaming: combines Unity’s render pipelines with the efficiency of ECS, so you can achieve spike-less streaming and memory-efficient large-scale rendering.
    • Unprecedented Simulation Scale: targets a feature-rich physics library, scalable debug tools, and an accessible API to help you achieve efficient runtime and simulation at scale.
    • Scalable Multiplayer Support: contains the high-level networking foundations supporting the production of medium to large action games using a server authoritative model.
    To ground this vision in reality, we will share with you this year multiple production stories from early adopters of DOTS and ECS. Those stories will expose why those technologies were selected, for what problems, and the challenges that come with those choices.

    The first two of those stories will be told at GDC, during the Dev Summit, where Lauren Frazier from Ramen VR will be talking about how they leveraged DOTS and ECS for the VR MMO Zenith, and Jonas De Maeseneer from Electric Square will share their own experience with it for the production of Detonation Racing. I will be concluding this session with a recap of the roadmap we are sharing with you today. Lauren, Jonas and I will also be discussing this during a DOTS Q&A live stream on Wednesday, March 23rd, on the official Unity Twitch channel.

    I also recommend this session by Damian Campeanu from Unity focusing on DOTS authoring and debugging workflows.

    The DOTS team will have several members physically present at GDC, this is the opportunity to meet each other in person if some of you also attend the event. Please reach out to me on the forum, or on Twitter to schedule something! You can see all of the Unity presence at GDC over here.

    Your feedback is important
    As mentioned at the beginning, we are excited to also launch today of our DOTS roadmap page, giving you a more complete and detailed view of the scope of our next milestones.

    Each card on this interactive board is clickable, giving you more details about each topic, and will provide you with the option to share your feedback. If you accept to use functional cookies and log in using your Unity ID, then it is as simple as clicking a card, selecting how important the topic is to you, adding your point of view, and submitting! This feedback is directly routed to the proper product teams.

    With the release of Entities 0.50, the announcement of Entities 0.51, the launch of our public roadmap presenting the scope of Entities 1.0, and the upcoming opportunities to chat and learn more during GDC, we hope you are as excited as we are to see those years of efforts translating to concrete deliveries. The teams behind DOTS are working very hard to bring you the solutions you need for your ambitious projects.

    As usual, please let us know what you think in this thread. In particular, we want to hear your thoughts about the incremental delivery of ECS while keeping the compatibility with Gameobjects.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Laurent
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2022
  2. WAYN_Games

    WAYN_Games

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    Hello, I see you mention a 0.51.
    I just updated one of my pakage to 0.50 and I still face an issue that seemed easily fixable.
    From my understanding it was a regression between 0.16 and 0.17 and expected this to be solved by hte next package.
    Yet this still occurs in 0.50.

    https://forum.unity.com/threads/blobarray-with-valuetype-generic-parameters-fails.1045639/

    Can you confirm that having a BlobAsset of Generic type (BlobAssetReference<StructType<StructType>>) is expected to be allowed ?
     
    lclemens likes this.
  3. Soaryn

    Soaryn

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    Excited to see this developmemt and direction! Thanks for the information!
     
  4. thelebaron

    thelebaron

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    Can we get a real update/clarification to the status of Animation?

    It now falls under the status of Planned: We plan to build solutions, but the work has not started, or the topic is being researched.)

    Previously it was listed(over a year ago) on the roadmap by @ChinnyBJ as In Progress - on the "old" roadmap and we obviously have the samples repository. Whats happened here? Is this just a mix up? Or is development on the existing package being scrapped?
     
  5. mfuad

    mfuad

    Unity Technologies

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    No, it is not being scrapped. In the past we have showed early work on an ECS-based animation system. That work is not part of the scope for our Entities 1.0 release as we focus first on delivering a fully supported ECS foundation. We intend to then build on that foundation with systems like ECS-based animation, and will share more concrete details as they get refined. Do share your feedback through the public roadmap so we can ensure our plans address your needs.
     
  6. CaseyHofland

    CaseyHofland

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    Will DOTS be at all interoperable with existing Unity projects? For example:
    - Use Hybrid Rendering side by side with normal Unity
    - Use Unity Physics side by side with normal Unity

    I expect there's a lot of reasons for why this wouldn't be possible, but it would be great: right now porting over an existing project seems kindof like an all-or-nothing deal instead of a gradual process where you have to have all your custom render/physics components ECS authored day 1, and I imagine that scaring off a lot of people to the otherwise brilliant concept.
     
    SAGNIKUPADHYAY likes this.
  7. Fribur

    Fribur

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    Got a sense Laurent post addresses your question quite clearly (Finally, Entities 1.0 is focused[..]) I read that as “keep using Unity as you do it right now, and sprinkle in use of Entities as you wish from 0% (of you Game Logic) to 100%”
     
    Lapsapnow likes this.
  8. Lapsapnow

    Lapsapnow

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    Woo! Some fresh air in the DOTS sails!

    I'm glad you all have a clear scope for Entities 1.0 Even in it's preview state, ECS is brilliant. I'm glad you've all embraced the hybrid approach and I look forward to more tools.

    Well done lads, looking forward to 1.0
     
    Ronsu900 and MostHated like this.
  9. MostHated

    MostHated

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    Yes, you can mix and match. I currently use the DOTS based physics for my vehicles and their interacting and colliding with each other and the general game world (ground, buildings, etc), but then each vehicle has a standard and simple GameObject collider attached to it which is used to interact with the GameObject world, ex, ragdoll, any other systems I have not converted to DOTS, etc.
     
    CaseyHofland and Ryuuguu like this.
  10. mochenghh

    mochenghh

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    So Animation is after ECS 1.0? maybe another two years later,Is there any alternative method,or preview version
     
  11. mfuad

    mfuad

    Unity Technologies

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    Yes after Entities 1.0, no specific dates to share beyond that. At Entities 1.0, our current Mecanim would be the recommended animation system used alongside Entities.
     
  12. mochenghh

    mochenghh

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    ok maybe 100%percent pure ECS in project is Unrealistic now
     
    joshrs926 likes this.
  13. MostHated

    MostHated

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    Aside from doing that just because you want to do that (100% DOTS), for most things, it seems rather unnecessary. Sure, some aspects of DOTS yield unquestionable performance increases, but for other things, you may simply not need it and the effort you would have to put in (at least currently) to do something in pure DOTS could end up being only a *little* bit better and you could have done 4-5 other things toward the completion of your game instead of squeezing out a few fractions of a millisecond. Granted, I enjoy making something, then redoing it to see if I can make it better, then redoing it again until I can't make it any faster, but that is probably why I will never finish anything, lol.
     
  14. desper0s

    desper0s

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    Aug 4, 2021
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    Hello!
    Do you know which part this breaking change from 0.51 to 1.0 will be affecting? It will be game object conversion, Entities.ForEach API, physics, or maybe something else? I am wondering if we can somehow prepare for it up front
     
  15. vis2k

    vis2k

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    Thanks for the update.
    If you don't mind me asking, are there still plans to get DOTS coding usability near GameObject usability?
    I believe someone mentioned that eventually it should be as easy, or even easier.

    It's a bit difficult to imagine what that could look like, any details would be appreciated :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
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  16. craftsmanbeck

    craftsmanbeck

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    Is there a builtin ECS-based way of handling this, or would we want to have like a GameObject w/ Animator that just acts as a puppet, and have some custom System handle setting triggers and such?
     
  17. PhilSA

    PhilSA

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    Is it possible that 1.0 will support "Animator" as a built-in HybridComponent, but 0.50 currently doesn't?

    In 0.50, I just tried dropping a gameobject with a mecanim Animator component in a subscene, and the Animator doesn't appear to get converted to a hybrid component (no CompanionLink on the entity, etc...).

    I'm wondering if there's a hassle-free way to get this working now that AddHybridComponent is removed. Is there a recommended workflow, other than manually handling GameObject instantiating/destroying/reference-keeping with managed SystemStateComponents?
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2022
    Resshin27, Polaaa and elJoel like this.
  18. thelebaron

    thelebaron

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    Jun 2, 2013
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    I guess I'm still going through the stages of denial, but would it be possible to go back to experimental preview packages (with no guarantees for production readiness/support) for animation? I'll sign an NDA if that's what it takes(seriously).
     
  19. Opeth001

    Opeth001

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    Holy Moly, I'm starting to dream again.
     
    SAGNIKUPADHYAY likes this.
  20. Deleted User

    Deleted User

    Guest

    Are DOTS Animation & Kinematica related? How will they both work in harmony/together?
     
    dhruva_js likes this.
  21. Baste

    Baste

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    Okay, now I'm confused. What is the animation team actually doing? Because when we ask them why they're not fixing long-standing problems with the Animation component, or the Animator component, or with Playables, the answer is "we're working on DOTS animation!". So what's the deal here?
     
  22. joshx1

    joshx1

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    Apr 28, 2019
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    Please please please post more often, having radio silence is incredibly frustrating and disheartening. DOTS is fantastic, and having better communication would be amazing.
     
    TWolfram, JamesWjRose, Orimay and 5 others like this.
  23. Ashkan_gc

    Ashkan_gc

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    I'm not sure if this is the place to share feedback or not but the situation to me looks like this
    Animation and Navigation which one is needed on almost all games and the other on many are hard to integrate from GameObjects and we need to either have an easy way of integration or much more info on their status. There is no reason that other companies like Microsoft can share lots of more info on say .NET Core and its releases and you guys at Unity cannot. They are a poblically traded company which has delays too. If navigation and path finding and audio work as seemless as managed vfx and text mesh components, that is in the level of acceptable but doesn't reduce the need for transparency.

    We need to trust unity will deliver and do not postpone them a very long time or at least know why it is being delayed in order to be able to rely on dots and invest in it as a technology. I'm saying this as someone which built prototypes of our pre-production of our game in DOTS because I thought that roughly speaking from MegaCity to usable engine it is 2 years or so if unity puts a say 30 person strong team with a clear direction on it. We even built an AI framework with editor windows and everything because we thought eventually we will get DOTS animation in GDC 2021 or 6 monthls later and hopefully navigation too and will use hybrid for the rest.

    The thing is that you are of course free to change direction and it is not like I don't understand that you need all of your userbase to come with you in this and ... but you need trust and we need info and deliver for this to have a chance of taking off properly. Otherwise I guess those of us indies at least who are trying to make more open world/sandbox style of games for PC have to look elsewhere into custom development/UE5. I hate that I sound like this as a unity user since 2.5 beta on windows and as someone who had really high hopes of coding revolutionary game mechanics without the pain of making my own job system in C++ and a custom engine. It is doable in unity now yes but integrating that code with the rest and the amount of glue code required seem to be much and well we are just 3-4 programmers in the team.

    Please consider providing much more details on what is going with the hybrid model, how much easy to use it will be and when can we expect navigtion and animation roughly speaking and not release dates, just like what most other sensible software companies do. I understand that there weill be delays but delays with descriptions are acceptable up to a certain points and a few lines above the posts/roadmaps/whatever would save your rear end legally too so I don't get why this should continue like this. The current roadmap is essentially mostly list of things which will be released in the next 3-4 months in 1.0 (based on your previous post at december which said Q2 i guess).

    The difference between Mike Acton's 2016 talk on building the future of unity which enables us to do a lot of what AAA are doing without having massive teams and his overall silence and the current situation is like the difference between day and night. Unity has many smart, industry leading people which have been in big studios for yours and I'm sure you guys can figure how to do this proper, the only thing i cannot figure out is why this is taking this long and why the communication is like this.

    P.S This si a very short video of the utility AI we built just to show that We really are invested in this (continuing our prototypes mostly with MB at he moment TBH however).(102) NoOpArmy.AI DOTS Utility AI introduction - YouTube We wanted to put this on AssetStore too and we probably still will after 1.0 if we ourselves continue this path. Otherwise probably for now needs to become an ECS independent burst and jobs based utility AI system for us to continue pre-production and hopefully find the fun and see how things will go.
     
  24. Deleted User

    Deleted User

    Guest

    Adding on top of what Ashkan_gc said: I was really, Really REALLY excited for 0.50 thinking it would bring DOTS Visual Scripting up to bar with entities 0.50, but finding out that DOTS VS & DSPGraph & DOTS Animation were already 'halted' until after 1.0, it was a Real Disappointment. As you can guess, I'm not a coder myself, I suck at it, so I fully depend on Visual Scripting on my projects' coding journey .. but as it's halted until after 1.0? I guess I will still wait for another 4+ years ..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2022
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  25. iamarugin

    iamarugin

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    Thanks for the update! I waited 1.7 years for this. v0.50.0 needs some fixes, but it looks very promising!
     
    AG_BPO likes this.
  26. Onigiri

    Onigiri

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    Aug 10, 2014
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    I just want to know why it's not possible to get some preview animation package before 1.0. This is such a pain to use mecanim in 2022 and even more painfull to use it with hybrid DOTS.
     
    DevViktoria likes this.
  27. Spikee_wave

    Spikee_wave

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    Is it planned to add any features to support large scale open worlds? Like double precision physics and transforms, floating origin or chunked world?
     
  28. eizenhorn

    eizenhorn

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    Q2 currently is about 0.51 not about 1.0
     
    Krajca likes this.
  29. DCNTLSD

    DCNTLSD

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    Nov 15, 2019
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    Excuse my noobness, but what is the "recomended animation system"?
     
  30. Mindstyler

    Mindstyler

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    Mecanim. Like it says in your quoted answer.
     
    LuisEGV and DCNTLSD like this.
  31. Sylmerria

    Sylmerria

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    Any news ( not seen anything in the roadmap) about the disable/enable entity component ?
    There was a lot of talks about it before the refactoring of 0.50 but nothing now.

    It is always planned or concidered ?
     
    charleshendry, Orimay, Krajca and 8 others like this.
  32. MostHated

    MostHated

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    I would very much like to hear info on this as well.
     
    cultureulterior likes this.
  33. jooleanlogic

    jooleanlogic

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    That is slated for 1.0 as per Joachim's response here. Pasted below for ease.
     
  34. AnisTKaram

    AnisTKaram

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    Jul 16, 2020
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    Wow, good news!
    I'm still learning ECS and the way it works in unity, hopefully, I'll get better before 1.0 :p
     
    peterpan2022 likes this.
  35. CaseyHofland

    CaseyHofland

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    Or just wait: 1.0 should have example projects and since the architecture has changed so much all tutorials on it are outdated rn
     
    AnisTKaram likes this.
  36. AnisTKaram

    AnisTKaram

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    But ECS is already been integrated in unity 2019, right?
    Or they will change it too?
     
  37. Walter_Hulsebos

    Walter_Hulsebos

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    Relevant profile picture.
     
    Angurvadal likes this.
  38. Jes28

    Jes28

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    Hi Unity :)

    Thanks for Entities Package progress :)

    I have one question about direction.

    Do you have plans to create entities API that will not try to rewrite our code from closure state to efficient jobs but use it as is?
    May be some job methods with attributes or something so SourceGenerators will generate only code boilerplate and we will have full control over actual game logic code by default, not only by writing and scheduling jobs directly.
     
  39. Endlesser

    Endlesser

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    Brilliant work!

    I smell DOTS is back to main course this year finally, after last 2 years of scratching and tickling. And 1.0 is way clearer and concrete than I though.

    Although I still have some queries and expectations:
    1. Entities users are probably unable to use 2021.3 when it comes out, right? (I really hope `minor update` won't last to the second half of the year)

    2. For those who already deeply integrate with DOTS Animation, will there be any problem when upgrading to 1.0?

    3. What is the recommended navigation system and audio solution for official Entity 1.0?

    Have a great GDC, guys.
     
    Walter_Hulsebos likes this.
  40. Mindstyler

    Mindstyler

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    You won't be able to use DOTS animation with 0.50 or 1.0. It will only become available some time after 1.0 again. You must keep using Mecanim in the meantime.

    A navigation system / audio solution will also only be worked on after 1.0 is released. So you'll have to use the existing ones.
     
  41. CodeSmile

    CodeSmile

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    Please be precise with VERSION NUMBERS! o_O

    This post mentions Entities 0.50 and 0.51 (compatible with 2020 LTS and 2021 LTS respectively).
    As of today, Entities version is 0.5.1 (compatible with 2020 LTS I suppose but not 2021 LTS).

    Or is it?? :confused::mad::confused::p:D:eek::oops:o_O:):(;)

    Versions 0.50 and 0.51 don't make any sense, really. That would indicate a minor version bump of +45 (!) from the current Entities version 0.5.x!!

    Please update the post to clarify this, it's confusing. People already started replicating these 0.50 and 0.51 version numbers in their posts which - I presume - do not exist! At least not until around 2044 ... :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  42. Shinyclef

    Shinyclef

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    There is nothing confusing except why you're talking about 0.5.1.
    upload_2022-3-21_20-24-7.png
     
    Antypodish, ChrisPie, cyriaca and 2 others like this.
  43. peaj_metric

    peaj_metric

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    I thought that might be the "Toggle support" added in 0.18?
    If thats not the case then whats the "Toggle support"?
     
  44. CodeSmile

    CodeSmile

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    Umm ... okay, it seems there's currently TWO pages online for the Entities manual (admittedly I haven't checked versions in package manager).

    This one seems to be up-to-date based on the use of the new logo:
    URL: https://docs.unity3d.com/Packages/com.unity.entities@0.50/manual/index.html
    upload_2022-3-21_10-33-54.png


    However when I google for "Unity ECS 0.5" this page is the first result:
    URL: https://docs.unity3d.com/Packages/com.unity.entities@0.5/manual/index.html
    upload_2022-3-21_10-36-27.png

    The latter should probably be removed. ;)
    You can switch to 0.50 but that's somewhere between 0.1 and 0.9 making this not-so-obvious:
    upload_2022-3-21_10-42-9.png
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  45. hidingspot

    hidingspot

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    apkdev and StickyKevin like this.
  46. Enzi

    Enzi

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    There is nothing confusing about it.
    0.5 is a REALLY old version.
    0.50 is the latest and 0.51 will come out in Q2.
    Please put this 0.5 and 0.50 confusion to rest, we had a whole thread getting derailed because of it.
     
  47. Deleted User

    Deleted User

    Guest

    I have a question related to animation : is there any plan to make the Playable API (that drives Timeline) works with ECS ?

    I have an extended set of tool that use the Playable API, would be great if I could update them for ECS.
     
  48. tertle

    tertle

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Posts:
    3,366
    0.5.0, 0.5.1 was released over 2 years ago
    [0.5.0] - 2020-01-16
    [0.5.1] - 2020-01-28
     
    charleshendry likes this.
  49. TieSKey

    TieSKey

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Posts:
    172
    I don't want to be pedant but, a confusion is a confusion, how can someone that's confused put the confusion away without asking and correcting the confusion in the first place??

    There's an error in the docs UI, I'd appreciate if people would read posts more carefully before reacting with something that to be frank, it is not helping either to clear someone's else confusion nor unity to improve.

    @UnityStaff: please make sure the dropdown in the entities package docs orders the versions correctly no matter which version are u currently at. For example, if u are on 0.50 (latest) page, the dropdown has 0.50 at the top, but if u are on any other version's page, say 0.9, then the dropdown will list 0.50 between 0.5 and 0.6.
    Since a really big chunk of people don't bother using links from the unity editor and just uses a web search, they are bound to land on a random version and thus get a wonky dropdown order.

    As seen on SteffenItterheim screenshot.
     
  50. runner78

    runner78

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2015
    Posts:
    635
    Developers should actually know that version numbers are not decimal numbers, but independent numbers separated by dots, it may well be easier for me since I come from a country where commas are used for decimal places, not dots. Unfortunately, I see too often that people struggle with this.
    But if someone confuses versions 0.5.1 with 0.51, then this person should see an ophthalmologist. (0.51.0 would be correct)
     
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