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Official Unity 2023.2 Beta - Feature Highlights

Discussion in '2023.2 Beta' started by LeonhardP, Jul 19, 2023.

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  1. LeonhardP


    Unity Technologies

    Jul 4, 2016
    Hi Everybody

    We’re back with our next 2023.2 beta release which focuses on enhanced workflow customizations, and improved stability and performance.

    You’ll find improved lighting and render quality for both the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) and Universal Render Pipeline (URP), art tool customization capabilities, platform graphic improvements, additional multiplayer connectivity solutions, and more.

    Check out what’s new below, we’re looking forward to your feedback.

    Table of contents
  2. LeonhardP


    Unity Technologies

    Jul 4, 2016
    Scalable rendering

    GPU Lightmapper
    GPU Lightmapper is now out of preview and allows for much faster baking of lightmaps and probes as compared to the CPU Lightmapper. This baking backend will help with the iteration speed of baking in your projects, especially when larger scenes and a larger number of probes or higher resolution of lightmap textures are involved.

    Adaptive Probe Volumes
    To improve iteration times, expand feature parity with HDRP in URP, and improve runtime performance of Adaptive Probe Volumes in URP on mobile devices, we have delivered these improvements with the 2023.2 release:
    • HDRP Light probe data streaming from Disk: Without disk streaming, the CPU pool may not be able to accommodate all probe data in large scenes that are streamed from the CPU to the GPU. This feature pulls probe data from disk in time to be used for runtime and can now be found as an option on the HDRP assets to enable disk streaming per quality level.
    • URP Per-Vertex Quality Settings: You can now set a per-vertex quality level for indirect lighting from light probes so that light probe-lit environments on mobile devices can run more efficiently.
    Limitations for APV in URP that continue to apply: Lighting Scenario Blending and Lighting Normalization for Reflection probes are not supported, and performance on mobile may still require further optimization.

    Interactive GI-related Scene View Draw Modes
    Iteratively authoring and troubleshooting baked lighting data is an important use case for creators using Static Global Illumination (GI). For this reason, we have added a new “Interactive preview” functionality to various GI-related Scene View Draw Modes, replacing "Auto-mode" for light baking.

    UGUI Support for Shader Graph
    Shader Graph now has sub-targets for Canvas in both URP and HDRP. This means UI artists can create custom shaders for their UI elements using Shader Graph. This gives non-coders the freedom to define the overall look and style of UI elements, create animated UI effects, and define custom button states - all while using less texture memory.

    VFX Graph Templates & Wizard
    Use the template window to create a VFX Graph asset with a predefined effect. You can use these templates as a starting point for your own effects. Each template has a description and an image to describe its behavior so you can easily choose the one that will fit your needs.

    VFX Graph URP Decals
    URP Lit decal output is now supported in VFX Graph, making it possible to create effects like splashes or impacts.

    VFX Graph Six Way Lighting compatibility with URP and Shader Graph
    In 2022 LTS, we introduced Six-way lighting, a set of tools and features to bake lightmaps and simulate the lighting in sprite sheets at runtime, allowing you to create customizable effects like smoke, clouds, or steam that work under different lighting conditions. First available only for HDRP, it is now available for URP in 2023.2 using the Lit Output in VFX Graph. Using Shader Graph, you can now also create custom six-way lit effects that work across pipelines.

    VFX Graph Access to URP’s camera Depth and Color Buffers
    Already available in HDRP, it will now be possible for URP users to sample the depth and color buffers allowing depth-based collision or spawning particles with the color of the world, useful for effects like rain, impacts, dissolve effects, or growing procedural vegetation.

    URP Object Motion Blur and VFX Graph URP Motion Vector Support
    A new option called Camera And Objects in the Motion Blur effect allows leveraging motion vectors to blur objects moving faster than the camera’s exposure time. VFX Graph particles can now as well generate motion vectors and hence be motion blurred as well as being taken into account by systems like Temporal Anti-Aliasing.

    HDRP Path Tracer support for Decals
    Decal projectors, which enable projecting specific materials onto the scene to add details like stamps, water puddles, dirt, engravings, and more without changing the ground or props materials, are now supported by the HDRP Path Tracer (except emission which is not supported).

    HDRP Shader Graph Decals compatible with transparent objects
    Decals created with Shader Graph can now affect transparent objects to build procedural effects like raindrops or ripples on water, as well as custom engravings or dirt effects on glass and more.

    HDRP Night Sky and improved volumetric clouds self-shadowing
    To facilitate time of day support, the HDRP physical sky, which was already able to procedurally generate a daylight cycle based on physical properties of the atmosphere and planet, now has support for the night cycle with stars and celestial bodies like the moon. The visual fidelity of volumetric clouds has also been improved using beer shadow maps to evaluate self-shadowing.

    HDRP Speedtree visual improvements
    SpeedTree trees can now look even better in HDRP, leveraging the new Transmission Mask to apply subsurface scattering only on leaves. HDRP/Nature/SpeedTree8.shadergraph uses the Subsurface Map for the Transmission Mask node to remove the unintended light transmission from tree barks and twigs. This also fixes the overly bright billboard lighting not matching the 3D geometry's lighting.
  3. LeonhardP


    Unity Technologies

    Jul 4, 2016
    Platform enhancements

    Cross Platform HDR Display Support
    High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays are display devices capable of reproducing images in a 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. With the release of Unity 2023.2.0a18, the Unity Editor and Standalone Players now provide full HDR tone mapping and display support, across all rendering pipelines and capable platforms, including mobile and XR.

    Ray Tracing Acceleration Structure Build Flags
    New Raytracing Acceleration Structure build flags are introduced to Unity's renderers and RTAS API, allowing to control the tradeoffs between ray tracing memory usage, RTAS build time, and ray tracing performance. Using the new flags, developers and artists can fine-tune the ray tracing performance on their scenes and renderers.

    Inline Ray Tracing in Shaders
    Inline ray tracing can now be utilized in rasterization and compute shaders when targeting DXR1.1 capable Windows platforms, Xbox Series X|S, and Playstation®5. Developers can now issue ray queries from within shaders in order to traverse the bound ray tracing Acceleration Structure and perform intersection testing. This allows the implementation of all kinds of hardware-accelerated ray tracing effects and simulations.

    Android Play Asset Delivery Addressable package with Texture Compression Format support
    In partnership with Google Play Asset Delivery, Android Texture Compression Format Targeting packages multiple texture compression formats into your AAB using Addressables. At install time, an APK is built using only the optimal texture compression formats based on the device’s mobile GPU to load and render textures quicker and with less memory. This brings TCFT to Addressables (the recommended Unity asset management solution).

    Android Quality-of-Life Improvements
    In partnership with Google, these changes make it easier to develop and maintain games that are stable and run well across the wide range of Android devices. Specifically, this makes it easier for developers to identify the cause of crashes and application not responding (ANR) errors.

    Update to Emscripten 3.1.38
    Unity web builds will now take advantage of the latest size and performance optimizations in the Emscripten toolchain.
  4. LeonhardP


    Unity Technologies

    Jul 4, 2016
    Multiplayer networking

    Unity Transport 2.0 updates
    The Unity Transport package can now be used for all platforms supported by the Unity Engine, including WebGL. This package is the low-level networking library for multiplayer game development, and both Netcode for Entities and Netcode for GameObjects rely on it for networking transport.

    In addition, Unity Transport has been updated with the following capabilities:
    • Websocket transport implementation - transport users now have access to our WebSocket transport implementation, with or without Transport Layer Security (TLS). It is supported on every platform as Client or Server, except for WebGL, where it is supported as Client only.
    • Transparent network migration - players on the go can now benefit from a transparent network migration, typically across cell towers. The feature is currently limited to the client side and for UDP transport.
    • Improve integration with Unity Relay - the integration with Unity Relay is now more straightforward thanks to a new set of APIs that abstract some boilerplate code.
    • Support for com.unity.logging package - added support for the com.unity.logging package. If the package is installed, logs will go through its default logger instead of the classic UnityEngine.Debug mechanism.

    Multiplayer Play Mode
    Multiplayer Play Mode (MPPM) provides the ability to test multiplayer functionality without leaving the Unity Editor. Creators can simulate up to four players (leveraging the Main Editor Player plus three Virtual Players) simultaneously on the same development device while using the same source assets on disk.

    You can leverage MPPM to create multiplayer development workflows that reduce the time it takes to build a project, run it locally, and test the server-client relationship.

    Network Scene Visualization
    The Unity 2023.2 beta release adds Network Scene Visualization to the Multiplayer Tools Package. This tool allows users to visualize networking information (like bandwidth and ownership) on a per-object basis in the scene view using a number of visualizations, including mesh shading and a text overlay. Creators can test how their networked scenes will look with advanced visual effects and more easily identify potential issues before their game goes out to customers.

    Netcode for GameObject improvements
    Many improvements aimed at developer productivity are included in the latest Netcode for GameObjects package, including:
    • NetworkBehaviour.OnSynchronize protected method to include custom serialization to be applied to the NetworkBehaviour object.
    • OnServerStarted and OnServerStopped server-side events and OnClientStarted and OnClientStopped client-side events.
    • NetworkTransform.UseHalfFloatPrecision property to enable a reduction in bandwidth if full floating point precision is not required.
    • Support for NativeArray and NativeList in various networking methods and objects.

    There are many more additions and improvements made to Netcode for GameObjects that can be found in the release notes for the recent versions 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5.
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