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Official Unity 2023.1 Beta - Feature Highlights

Discussion in '2023.1 Beta' started by LeonhardP, Jan 20, 2023.

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  1. LeonhardP

    LeonhardP

    Unity Technologies

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    Hi Everybody,

    We’re kicking off the year with the 2023.1 beta, which focuses on enhanced workflows and improved stability and performance.

    You’ll find improved features and render quality for both the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) and Universal Render Pipeline (URP), along with platform graphic improvements, additional connectivity types for multiplayer solutions, and more.

    The start of the beta also marks the beginning of our Unity 2023.1 Beta Sweepstakes, giving you the chance to win one of three NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ 3070 graphics cards by submitting bug reports and tagging them with #Beta2023Win_NVIDIA. Our partners at NVIDIA are providing these GPUs to celebrate that Unity’s tech for real-time ray tracing is coming out of preview. You can find more information and the full rules in the dedicated sweepstakes forum thread.

    So get hands-on with the features listed below. We can’t wait to hear what you think, and we’re looking forward to your feedback.

    Table of contents
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2023
  2. LeonhardP

    LeonhardP

    Unity Technologies

    Joined:
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    Scalable rendering
    In Unity 2023.1, we continue to bring additional features (for more on our vision, read our Games Focus blog post on scalable rendering) to enhance render quality and feature coexistence in both HDRP and URP.

    URP – Temporal anti-aliasing
    Temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) in URP is an upgrade from the Built-in Render Pipeline implementation that uses 16 bit floats for optimized performance. It offers multiple quality level options to optimize performance from mobile to desktop and consoles, leveraging motion vectors to reduce aliasing problems such as pixelated and flickering edges.

    URP – Temporal anti-aliasing

    URP – FXAA Quality Improvements
    Access improved edge anti-aliasing while retaining better texture quality compared to previous versions. Performance requirements are expected to be unchanged, output quality is now similar to the low/medium SMAA presets while still having better performance.

    URP – High Dynamic Range Display Output
    High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays are display devices capable of reproducing images in the higher range of difference in luminance closer to natural lighting conditions. HDR output allows for better preservation of the contrast and quality of the linear lighting renders and HDR images displayed on these devices. 2023.1 introduces URP support for HDR tonemapping and output when targeting desktop and console platforms, with mobile support coming soon.

    SRP – Screen Space Lens Flares
    You can now add lens flares generated from all highlights visible on screen (direct, indirect, emissive surfaces, specular highlights) in just a few clicks with a single post-process volume.

    Compatible with both HDRP and URP, this feature can be used at the same time and complement SRP lens flares, which offer more advanced artistic control on lights lens flares, but can only be performed on predefined light sources (directional, point and spot lights).

    SRP – Screen Space Lens Flares

    HDRP – Water System functional and visual improvements
    In 2022.2, we introduced the first-ever native water system in Unity. That initial release was focused on rendering to simplify adding water surfaces to an environment. In 2023.1, we’re focusing on enabling finer authoring of water to better integrate with the world and gameplay.

    HDRP – Water System functional and visual improvements sample 1

    Water Excluder dynamically removes water from inside a boat or cave in the middle of an island, and Water Deformer deforms water locally for deformations such as around a ship in movement, waves near the shores, waterfalls, or vortexes. Foam Generator allows you to simulate white water for a boat trail or around rocks in open oceans, and Current maps creates local currents by both managing surface waves to follow the currents and the water query API to allow for objects to drift. We also added a Water Line to underwater rendering when the camera is crossing the water surface.


    HDRP – Water System functional and visual improvements sample 2

    HDRP – Transparency improvements
    You can now add an extra optional pass to compute the thickness of transparent objects at runtime to get more accurate refraction and transparency rendering with improved performance of subsurface scattering pass for high resolution.

    Unity_mraaaryDKT.jpg
    HDRP – Transparency improvements

    Ray Tracing API and HDRP features out of preview
    After recent stability and performance improvements to DirectX 12 and ray tracing, as well as increased compatibility with the engine’s existing feature set and consoles support, the Ray Tracing API and HDRP’s ray-traced effects such as ray-traced shadows, reflections, AO, Global Illumination, path tracing, and recursive rendering are officially out of preview.

    We also added VFX Graph ray tracing support, allowing the authoring of complex particle effects that are compatible with HDRP’s ray-traced effects, as well as terrain heightmap support to use ray tracing on large worlds.

    Start experimenting now with ray tracing, installing the HDRP Sample Scene template in the Hub, which has been updated to provide new ray tracing quality settings.


    HDRP – Specular Fade Mode for Lit and StackLit HDRP shaders
    Specular light can now completely be faded when using a specular color workflow using the HDRP/Lit and HDRP/StackLit shaders by toggling a new option that can be found in the HDRP Global Settings under Miscellaneous/Specular Fade.

    URP and HDRP – Unification of Light and Decal layers
    Light Layers and Decal Layers are now managed similarly in both HDRP and URP.
    In HDRP, they will now share the first 16 rendering layers instead of using eight separate bits each.

    Additionally, an option was added in the HDRP Asset to allow access to a full-screen buffer containing the rendering layers masks of rendered objects. That buffer can be sampled from the Shader Graph through the HD Sample Buffer node and used to implement custom effects like outlining objects on a specific rendering layer.

    URP and HDRP – Adaptive Probe Volumes
    For Light Probe-lit objects, Probe Volumes enable you to set up and iterate on Light Probe placement more quickly. The visual quality of Light Probe-lit objects is higher and affects Volumetric Fog and particles. In some scenarios, Probe Volumes also enable you to indirectly light static objects, and bake sets enable you to set up and blend between different Light Probe-lit lighting scenarios. At runtime, GPU memory footprint is reduced by streaming the probe data.

    With the 2023.1 release, the core functionality and user experience of Adaptive Probe Volumes are improved and officially out of preview.

    We have also implemented support for Adaptive Probe Volumes in URP. Note that this iteration will not support Lighting Scenario Blending, and may not yet be optimized for performance, especially when running on lower-end platforms.

    URP and HDRP – Adaptive Probe Volumes

    Global Illumination – New Light Baking Architecture
    Baked GI is now using our new LightBaker v1.0 architecture for on-demand bakes. The purpose of this new architecture is to provide you with a more predictable and stable light baking experience. Note that Auto mode still uses the progressive baking feature.

    When baking with the GPU backend in on-demand mode, you can use the Baking Profile in the Lighting window to select the tradeoff between performance and GPU memory usage. On-demand mode no longer tracks scene changes while baking, so a bake is not automatically restarted when a change is made to the scene while baking. This makes the Editor more responsive while baking larger projects.

    Social01.png Global Illumination – New Light Baking Architecture [This image uses the ArchVizPRO Interior Vol.9 assets from the Unity Asset Store.]

    Shader System – Dynamic Shader Loading
    Dynamic Shader Loading provides you with additional user control over shader loading behavior and memory usage. This optimization enables the streaming of shader data chunks into memory and evicts shader data that is no longer needed at runtime based on a user-controlled memory budget. This significantly reduces shader memory usage on platforms with limited memory budgets when using the new Shader Variant Loading Settings (under Project Settings > Player).

    Shader System – Variant Keyword Prefiltering
    Variant Keyword Prefiltering introduces the early exclusion of multi_compile keywords based on Prefiltering Attributes driven by render pipeline settings. This greatly reduces the amount of variants being enumerated for potential stripping and compilation, significantly shrinking shader processing time for both clean and warm project builds. For more information, see the official blog post.

    VFX Graph – Volumetric Fog Output
    This new output in VFX Graph allows you to inject particles into HDRP’s Volumetric Fog to generate clouds, smoke, mist, fire effects, or to make Volumetric Fog more dynamic and procedural. Blend modes allow you to mix particles in different ways with the existing fog (add, multiply, min-max), in order for particles to add, remove, or combine with existing fog.
     
  3. LeonhardP

    LeonhardP

    Unity Technologies

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    Platform enhancements
    In keeping with our engineering vision shared in the Games Focus blog post, advances in platform support and technical integrations continue in 2023.1.

    Ongoing platform support
    We continue to add improvements for performance and functionality for key platforms, including Android, iOS, Meta Quest, Magic Leap 2, Xbox, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation VR2.

    Adaptive Performance
    Adaptive Performance 5.0 will include enhancements for controlling the lifecycle of Adaptive Performance at runtime. Additionally, we are launching an Android provider for Adaptive Performance that extends the Adaptive Performance package to most Android Devices.

    HDR Display support for desktop and consoles
    Unity 2023.1.0a22 extends HDR display support to URP for desktop and console platforms.

    HDR displays are capable of reproducing images with higher peak brightness and wider color gamut in order to achieve better color saturation and contrast in highlights and shadows. The result is a more realistic variation in luminance across scenes, increased surface detail, and improved depth perception.

    Split Graphics Jobs for improved DX12 performance on Windows
    In order to further improve DirectX 12 performance for Windows platforms, Unity 2023.1 introduces a new graphics jobs threading mode called Split Graphics Jobs, which aims to reduce unnecessary beginning– or end-of-frame synchronization between the main and native graphics jobs threads, resulting in significant performance improvements. In our internal testing, we’re observing meaningful CPU render setup performance gains over DX11 when targeting DX12 using Split Graphics Jobs. For more information see the official forum post.

    XR Interaction Toolkit 2.3
    XR Interaction Toolkit v2.3.0 includes new features and capabilities including Interaction Groups, Poke and Gaze Interactors, hand interaction integration, and samples, Device Simulator usability improvements, and a new Interaction Affordance System, which allows users to easily build high-performance interaction indicators (visual, audio, haptics, etc). You can install XRI 2.3 via the Package Manager and find more details in our documentation.
     
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  4. LeonhardP

    LeonhardP

    Unity Technologies

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    Multiplayer networking
    Multiple netcode solutions, along with improvements across our existing services (outlined in our Games Focus multiplayer post) provide a cohesive set of tools to deliver great experiences to your players.

    Unity Transport Protocol (UTP)
    EXPERIMENTAL RELEASE The Unity Transport Protocol (or UTP) is a lower-level networking infrastructure that handles the transport of game data across networks and across connected platforms and devices. In 2023.1, UTP now supports both web and TCP connections to improve the capabilities of the technologies that rely on it, including Netcode for GameObjects and Netcode for Entities.

    Multiplayer Play Mode
    EXPERIMENTAL RELEASE Multiplayer Play Mode is a workflow improvement feature from our multiplayer toolset that aims to deliver a user experience that is single-player-like but with a focus on the development cycle of multiplayer games. Leveraging Multiplayer Play Mode allows you to emulate multiple players connected in the one game experience simultaneously, all on one machine. It supports recently released features such as Netcode for GameObjects, so you can remain efficient in multiplayer development, even with a low hardware investment.

    2023.1 Beta - MP Screenshot.png Multiplayer Play Mode
     
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  5. LeonhardP

    LeonhardP

    Unity Technologies

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    Scripting support
    As outlined in our Games Focus kickoff blog post, we are committed to a stable core, which includes continuing to update our C# support in different ways, including the under-the-covers compilation process.

    IL2CPP – C# line numbers
    In previous releases, our implementation of IL2CPP made it challenging at times to track down the specific part of the code that a managed stack trace was referring to because it only provided method names. With 2023.1, developers can now enable the addition of debug symbol processing, which will display the C# source code line number information, making it far easier to track down specific areas in the code base of a game project. Read more on how to activate and view this additional information in the documentation.
     
  6. LeonhardP

    LeonhardP

    Unity Technologies

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    Extensible Editor
    We shared our ongoing dedication to bringing new capabilities and functionality to the Editor and continuing to ensure that creating your projects feels seamless.

    Searchable context menus
    We’re improving and standardizing the context menus that pop up when you right-click across items and workflows. Improvements include more consistent interactions, sorting optimizations, and an optional search field.

    Terrain Tools Overlays
    The Terrain Tools package has been migrated to the new Overlays toolbar framework for a more consistent and predictable experience with Unity scene authoring workflows.
     
  7. LeonhardP

    LeonhardP

    Unity Technologies

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    Entities package is not compatible with 2023.1 beta
    Please note that the Entities package does not compile with current versions of the 2023.1 beta. Users of the Entities package are recommended to stay on 2022.2. The team is currently focused on the full release of the package for 2022.3 LTS. We’re aiming to provide compatibility with 2023.1 before the end of the beta phase but we can’t share an estimated time of arrival yet. We’ll share updates in this thread when they become available.
     
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