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Feedback What's the fastest Unity version? (2017-2023)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CodeSmile, Aug 30, 2023.

  1. CodeSmile

    CodeSmile

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    I wanted to do a poll ... but alas, this option is gone. :(

    Instead, just reply with the Unity version you feel, think or know is the fastest to open projects, to compile script changes and to enter playmode:
    • Unity 2017.4
    • Unity 2018.4
    • Unity 2019.4
    • Unity 2020.3
    • Unity 2021.3
    • Unity 2022.3
    • Unity 2023.1
    Curious what you'll pick. ;)
    If you like you may also note the slowest one too ...

    In the meantime I'll gather some hard facts. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2023
  2. Murgilod

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    As far as script compile times/domain reload stuff is concerned, possibly my biggest time wasters when it comes to the development process, 2019. When it comes to what I'm afforded as far as the stuff I'm developing is concerned, my best results come from making judicious use of things like Jobs, so I tend to use 2021.
     
  3. Tautvydas-Zilys

    Tautvydas-Zilys

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    This will heavily depend on which packages you have in your project. That is one of the main things that impacts editor loading and iteration times. Remove them all and newest Unity versions will be as fast if not faster than older ones.

    Creating a completely empty project seems to have been getting a little bit faster over the years. From a quick test:

    Code (csharp):
    1. PS E:\Builds> Measure-Command { E:\Builds\2018.4.36f1\Editor\Unity.exe -createProject "E:\Projects\Unity Projects\My project (82)" -upmNoDefaultPackages -quit | Out-Null } | Select -ExpandProperty "TotalSeconds"
    2. 11.0050589
    3.  
    4. PS E:\Builds> Measure-Command { E:\Builds\2019.4.32f1\Editor\Unity.exe -createProject "E:\Projects\Unity Projects\My project (83)" -upmNoDefaultPackages -quit | Out-Null } | Select -ExpandProperty "TotalSeconds"
    5. 10.2397581
    6.  
    7. PS E:\Builds> Measure-Command { E:\Builds\2020.3.37f1\Editor\Unity.exe -createProject "E:\Projects\Unity Projects\My project (84)" -upmNoDefaultPackages -quit | Out-Null } | Select -ExpandProperty "TotalSeconds"
    8. 8.7430718
    9.  
    10. PS E:\Builds> Measure-Command { E:\Builds\2021.3.23f1\Editor\Unity.exe -createProject "E:\Projects\Unity Projects\My project (85)" -upmNoDefaultPackages -quit | Out-Null } | Select -ExpandProperty "TotalSeconds"
    11. 7.9497332
    12.  
    13. PS E:\Builds> Measure-Command { E:\Builds\2022.3.4f1\Editor\Unity.exe -createProject "E:\Projects\Unity Projects\My project (86)" -upmNoDefaultPackages -quit | Out-Null } | Select -ExpandProperty "TotalSeconds"
    14. 7.7213826
    Of course that doesn't help you if you are relying on a packages a lot. But if you don't (for instance, you're using Unity 2017 which doesn't even have a package manager), you should be able to upgrade without any slowdown to your project.
     
  4. Murgilod

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    I'll go ahead and say I'm not sure what this helps at all. Creating a completely empty project is faster? Well whoopee! I can't wait to do that thing that is probably the least frequent thing I do with Unity four seconds faster.
     
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  5. Tautvydas-Zilys

    Tautvydas-Zilys

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    My point was that I don't think Unity is getting slower with time. I'd be surprised if other operations that you do more frequently are slower in newer Unity versions provided the same set of installed packages. Creating and opening an empty project was just a quick test to benchmark opening projects which was actually the first thing OP asked about.
     
  6. mgear

    mgear

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    slickest editors top 3:
    2017.4
    2018.4
    2019.4 *still using this versions in many projects
     
  7. Murgilod

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    Script compilation times and time to enter play mode are both so bad that Unity has actually commented on how bad it is in the past and then promptly never spoke of again.
     
  8. neginfinity

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    It is significantly slower than unity 5. Around unity 5 script compilation time pretty much did not exist until you had something huge in script. Startup time also became significantly slower.
     
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  9. Ryiah

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    It may seem like that if you've been steadily upgrading your hardware. My progression was Phenom II X4 965 -> Ryzen 1600X -> Ryzen 3600 -> Ryzen 5950X. I recently installed Unity 5 (which isn't trivial due to activation) and compiling a script in an otherwise empty project was <500ms whereas recent releases are 3 seconds.
     
  10. Tautvydas-Zilys

    Tautvydas-Zilys

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    Oh don't get me wrong, they're awful in general (and it is something that we're putting huge efforts in solving). I just think the underlying reason for that is packages creep, not the core itself getting slower. A default 3D template has something like a million llines of C# code in it.. compiling that takes time.
     
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  11. Murgilod

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    But this was an issue before packages were implemented.
     
  12. impheris

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    For me, it was 2019.4, even in my potato laptop it was very fast to open my projects, if i tried open those projects in my new pc on unity 2021 LTS, it is slower, yeah, the same project

    yeah exactly
     
  13. CodeSmile

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    Meaning, if I were to start a new empty project for each editor version and then add my assets into it, I shouldbe seeing slower editor turnaround times than if I were to take my 2017 project and upgrade it all the way?

    Because that „upgrading a 2017 project“ is what I did, and that may explain why I‘m measuring basically the opposite of what user are reporting from their experience (yeah, 2019 is actually the slowest editor version in all aspects I have measured so far and 2023.1 is by far the fastest all around!).

    I will have to re-run tests where I first create a new project and then put my test assets into that.
     
  14. impheris

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    weird, i started my first project in 2018 (URP Project), then i updated it to 2019 and i did tests back then (because i'm very skeptical of updates) and it was way faster, i also remember that i hated 2020 because it was painfully slow. Would that be something with URP maybe?
     
  15. runner78

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    As already mentioned, it depends a lot on the installed packages, I have a project with HDRP and ECS and with Unity 2022.3 LTS and a URP 2D project without ECS and the 2D packages with 2023.2 Beta. Here the 2023.2 version feels much faster. However, with 2022.3 there is a difference whether you use URP or HDRP, I find the editor with URP generally faster than with HDRP.

    When I start a new project, the first thing I do is uninstall all packages that I don't need. Sometimes I wish I could already select/remove the packages when creating a project. As a hobbyist who experiments around a lot, I often create new projects.
     
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  16. Tautvydas-Zilys

    Tautvydas-Zilys

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    Depends on how you create the "empty project". Our "empty" templates in the hub keep adding more and more packages and that significantly impact editor performance. Using "-createProject <path> -upmNoDefaultPackages" will create a truly empty project.

    If you're upgrading a project, after opening the editor I would open the package manager manifest, delete all but 1 package (leave 1 is important because if you delete them all, editor will automatically re-add all the default ones) and then slowly add 1 by 1 to recover the functionality your project needs. In most cases that will give you a sizeable perf boost.

    Totally. As a package URP is heavily evolving and for instance shader X in version N+1 is likely to be pretty different from version N. Then at some point it had also introduced severe shader compilation times regression, but thankfully it's been fixed since.
     
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  17. CodeSmile

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    Yeah, same here. Perhaps that's why I could never quite relate to the traditional thinking that 2019 is by far the fastest. It certainly never felt that way for me. And editor perf issues most often turned out to be an issue with the project itself - a script, a setting, a package, or just the corporate antivirus getting triggered by the project's contents a lot.
     
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  18. impheris

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    Thanks for the info, how can i do the "-createProject <path> -upmNoDefaultPackages" thing? i want to try that but i didn't understand anything of what you wrote xD
     
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  19. halley

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    Instead of the creation of the empty project, a better benchmark would be a trivial change to a trivial script in an otherwise empty project. Change

    public float picked => 1 + Random.next;


    to

    public float picked => 2 + Random.next;


    Hit the pause button. Then time the full cycle from hitting Save on the script to getting past the first frame of the game Play mode. It's this full iteration that is dreadful. Two full domain reloads every change.
     
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  20. Tautvydas-Zilys

    Tautvydas-Zilys

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    Start Unity directly through command prompt by running Unity.exe with those parameters, instead of through Unity hub.
     
  21. impheris

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    sorry, you mean this?:
    Unity.exe -createProject "C:\Path\To\Your\New\Project" -upmNoDefaultPackages

    (That is chatgpt)
     
  22. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    People do not deal with an abstract "core" in vacuum. They deal with overall experience. If the core "is as fast at before", but "because of packages" people now have to spend more time waiting, then from user's perspective the entire editor has slowed down.

    Regarding 3 million lines taking a long time to compile, shouldn't some of it be prebuilt?
     
  23. t-ley

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    I don’t think it’s the packages that are the problem the Unity engine itself has problems without the package manager on a lot of versions. I thought it was faster when we didn’t have the hub to go through
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2023
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  24. bugfinders

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    For me the editor itself doesnt feel slower, its its insessant need to compile, and just how darn long it spends at it and if you're trying to setup some input actions with the new input system, and have auto save on, get a book, and a blanket, its going to be a long night. we used to have issues with light baking and how it constantly seemed to be light baking, these days, it seems to be compiling. Even with asmdef if I change a string to correct a typo, there goes 30s of compiling.. and as @neginfinity says shouldnt some be prebuilt, or, like packages atr least once built.. done now.. do not need building unless you change signficiant options or change the package out.. once you load it, its done right?

    c++ does great incremental compiles. if finaloutput older than object, make output, if object older than source, make object... have we lost that ability? my 1 typo correction shouldnt take 30s especially when the source is all but the one line.
     
  25. CodeSmile

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    You can trigger a full recompile with a single line change, doesn't matter if it's C# or C/C++. The only thing that matters is: what other objects depend on the changed object?

    If this is a change in a globally included C++ header file or a change in a script in an assembly that's referenced by most or all other assemblies, then the result of that small change is a full recompile.
     
  26. bugfinders

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    that i get, but, one script on 1 game object shouldnt change everything
     
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  27. CodeSmile

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    It doesn't matter what object the script is on, or on how many. It matters only what assembly the script is in, and how many other assemblies reference the script's assembly and how many scripts they contain and the assemblies depending on those.
     
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  28. CodeSmile

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    These are my current measurements with my Test project. I created this in Unity 2017.4 and then upgraded it all the way to 2023 (X is time in seconds, shorter is faster):
    upload_2023-9-3_21-36-34.png

    In short, according to these measurements:
    Unity 2019 is the SLOWEST editor version - not the fastest! :eek:

    2023 compiles three of your changes before 2019 is done compiling a single change!

    Measurements were taken using EditorApplication.timeSinceStartup using AssemblyReloadEvents and playModeStateChanged to make measurements not rely on me stopwatching this. I took the average of the three fastest times.

    Every script change I had to make in order for scripts to compile without errors when upgrading to 2023 got backported to 2017. Then I upgraded the project to the in-between Unity versions.

    Since this isn't a "real" project, I started taking measurements of an actual project that I worked on. This was also initially created with Unity 2017 and over time upgraded to Unity 2019. I only have the 2019 version available so I had to start with that. As before I backported all changes made in 2023, and added my measurement scripts to the project.

    This real project (a vehicle product configurator) contains everything you might find in a real project: audio, video, meshes, textures, materials, TextMesh and all that. Definitely lots of GUI, common and not-so common libraries for VR / MR devices, plenty of DLLs for this and that including our own math library and a 3rd Party scientific pathfinding tool, several store assets such as Odin, plenty of editor code, PDF reader/writer and the list goes on.

    I have only been able to make spot tests but so far they confirm the measurements I took in the test project. Note that the editor version colors don't match the previous chart's colors!
    upload_2023-9-3_21-48-53.png

    And ... I was cautious and took all of the measurements in Unity 2019 again several times.

    I tend to think that Unity 2020+ being considered as successively becoming slower could be attributed to:
    • early 2020 (beta) builds showing a severe performance regression, heavily discussed in the forum
    • comparing apples with oranges - either observing the behaviour of two different projects, or not upgrading an existing project but rather importing assets into a project created with the newer Unity version (therefore having additional packages/modules active)
    • "On Hold" - the progress bar was introduced in Unity 2020. It may have had a psychological effect by focusing the user's attention to the delay at hand, and could possibly be seen as more intrusive, stretching the sensation of time passing. DAMN YOU, EINSTEIN! :cool:
    I expect some to have a different opinion or even experience. ;)
    I encourage you to take repeated measurements with today's latest patch versions of the Unity editor.
    My tests also do not "measure" the snappiness of the editor, how responsive things feel. But honestly, I've never really felt a difference after upgrading a project, unless there was an actual issue.
    I bet there are plenty of reasons why mileage my vary between projects, given the complexity of the software and assets involved on all levels.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2023
  29. angrypenguin

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    I suspect that this is a huge part of it. I started commonly hearing complaints that Unity was "slow" specifically citing how often that modal popup appeared and blocked input, and people didn't seem to believe that the same things blocked for about the same durations before that. The difference is that other software conditioned us to stop when a modal popup appears, where Unity just slowly stretched out the period of time it'd ignore us for...

    Of course that doesn't make the complaint any less valid. "It was always this bad!" isn't exactly a defense.

    Regarding what people are measuring... think of this like optimising a bit of software. :) I don't care how long it takes to make a fresh project. I do that rarely, it has zero impact on my day to day productivity. And while I love snappy build times when it's time to build on a local machine (what big projects do that?), same deal - it's a once or twice a day thing, often less, and can be combined with a coffee break or whatever. It's a squeaky wheel, but the actual productivity impact is negligible.

    Script reload times and entering play mode are where it's at. I need to do those things dozens or hundreds of times per day. I don't feel that they're problematic (on my fairly nice PC on a project that's half decent), but if effort is going into optimisation that's where the savings are.

    Edit: Actually, "hundreds" is probably an over-estimate. Still, many-times-per-day is worth far more attention than a-tiny-fraction-of-that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2023
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  30. bugfinders

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    yes, I think that box didnt help, before, for example if more of those things happened in background it w9ould help, and that box only occurred when you cant do that yet because this is still running, thats a different matter, the fact that that box seemed to constantly popup when it was first introduced definately gave that popup a real bad rep. Shame it doesnt trigger it as a background process and blocks other ide aspects while it does it, i get that you cant play/build, as it would need to wait till th end, but, i know it relies on 3rd party to compile so, as its an external process surely that would make that easier not harder to do?
     
  31. angrypenguin

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    The compile step isn't the slow part. The slow part is that the engine is currently running the old version of the compiled code, so after the new version is compiled it has to:
    1) Serialize all data related to running script code
    2) Unload the old compiled version and everything that is dependent on it
    3) Load the new compiled version and everything that is dependent on it
    4) Reload the serialized data

    It's 1 and 4 which take the time, and by their fundamental nature they can't just be handballed to a 3rd party thing.
     
  32. bugfinders

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    Wel, i dont disagree for the most part, but I still feel theres something fruity, so, as an example, you mention its running the code even perhaps if theres no level of editor code, then, obviously it needs to unload that and load the new.. but, im sure ive edited a script, watched it compile, hit play, and watched it compile again!
     
  33. Noisecrime

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    Which is why last year I disabled the 'AutoRefresh' in the preferences and instead just CTRL+R when I'm ready to have newly added assets or more importantly script changes refreshed. Its a pain at first and I still get caught out with assets not updating occasionally because I forget to manually refresh, but the time savings I get far outweigh that issue. As I'm an old-timer I still use to doing CTRL+S or manually saving in the editor frequently so adding CTRL+R doesn't feel unusual.

    This is in Unity 2018/2019, not sure if there are more fine grained settings I could use nowadays, as in general I don't think I'm too bothered about auto-refresh for assets so it would be nice to have a separate option for that. I just can't deal with the forced recompile that happens with a minor script change any longer, especially if I'm making a series of changes and accidently go back to Unity in the middle of them.

    The only downside is when modifying shaders as getting them recompiled on the fly was nice, but then again I think that behaviour was broken in later versions of Unity anyway with the changes to 'Script changes while playing' option.

    As for Fastest version of Unity, anything around version 5 or lower, since then it feels like its always getting slower, but honestly its hard to know for certain as Unity itself gains more features, packages, and just plain modernisation, some of which might mean some things are slower, whilst speeding up other areas.

    Overall I don't choose a Unity version for speed, but for reliability in editor and builds, for which 2019.4 has been my go to since it came out, but I'm just at the point now where I'm switching over to 2022 as it seems to be pretty good and I'm desperate for access to more modern features.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2023
  34. bugfinders

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    I too am old, keyboard shortcuts ftw. So, Im gonna try me a no auto refresh and see how i fair.. cheers.. i think id forgotten that option was even there..
     
  35. mgear

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    interesting (unexpected) results!

    now just hoping that the alt-tab issue gets fixed in latest versions..
    https://forum.unity.com/threads/alt-tab-now-unusable-in-43727.1447993

    *made some quick tests myself, nothing much interesting on these since the project was quite small,
    going to measure better projects later..

    new project from unitylauncher (wait until pause button is responsive with mouse)

    2017.4.40f1 : 14s
    2018.4.30f1 : 29s
    2019.4.19f1 : 41s
    2020.3.21f1 : 39s
    2021.3.29f1 : 37s
    2023.2.0a12 : 14s

    enter playmode: (new empty project on that version)

    2017.4.40f1 : 1.03s
    2018.4.30f1 : 1.30s
    2019.4.19f1 : 1.43s
    2020.3.21f1 : 1.70s
    2021.3.29f1 : 2.24s
    2023.2.0a12 : 1.90s

    import 670mb model unitypackage from explorer double click ( https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/environments/modern-archviz-leafless-108308 )

    2017.4.40f1 : 2min 39s
    2018.4.30f1 : 2min 33s
    2019.4.19f1 : 2min 20s
    2020.3.21f1 : 2min 04s
    2021.3.29f1 : 1min 43s
    2023.2.0a12 : 1min 46s


    UnityLibrary scripts & shaders folder, modify DrawRendererBounds.cs, save script, back to unity and press play, previous 3d package is in the project also


    2017.4.40f1 : 3s
    2018.4.30f1 : 4s
    2019.4.19f1 : 4s
    2020.3.21f1 : 5s
    2021.3.29f1 : 6s
    2023.2.0a12 : 5s *added unity UI package first, since it was needed on scripts
     
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  36. neoshaman

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    Wait does all these information IMPLY that unity can still run decently on a potato? I have been scared of installing new version due to potential performance issue.
     
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  37. Ruslank100

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    I think no, newer versions probably just better utilize more CPU cores, SSD's, RAM so on modern hardware they may run faster, since they can simply utilize more resources, compared to the old releases
    This can explain why on my pretty potato in these days PC 2018.4 feels fast (on an HDD), while in 2020+ even the material selector lags badly and I constantly get the "hold on" pop-up. However texture compression for instance, indeed faster in the new releases
     
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  38. impheris

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    Yup, in fact this is why i'm using unity, the first version (after unity 5) i tried was 2017 on a pretty old i3 with 4gb ram xD not dedicated gpu... i started my first ever game there
     
  39. t-ley

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    If u know Unity it’s a roll of the dice, trying to to find a decent version now. The 2023.1.10f1 turned out to be a party crasher
     
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  40. Ryiah

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    This has been my experience as the last few upgrades have been because the SDKs that I had to work with were consistently trying to use everything my system had to offer. My previous machine (3600, 32GB RAM, SATA SSDs) literally couldn't do anything besides browse the forums when a build was being made.

    Eventually I replaced it all (5950X, 64GB RAM, NVMe SSDs) and while things were better I still wasn't able to do that much while a build was being made.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2023
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  41. Noisecrime

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    Sounds like Unity could do with an option to set how many cores to use whilst building so it doesn't completely max out the cpu. I can understand why such an option hasn't been integrated as its rather counter-intuitive, since most people just want it to build as fast as possible, but at the same time if its your only computer, it could be more useful to take a little longer to build if it allows you to do other things at the same time.
     
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  42. Ruslank100

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    I agree, this would help. Same thing would be useful for CPU lightmapping too
     
  43. DragonCoder

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    Probably because there's nothing to "fix" there. It's not a bug. It's just how Unity grew and their movements to packages away from C++ in-engine stuff. The devs are aware that it could be better and are improving step by step.
    If you really wanna discus what has been discussed 10 times already, there's this 13 pages long thread: https://forum.unity.com/threads/improving-iteration-time-on-c-script-changes.1184446/
     
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  44. Tautvydas-Zilys

    Tautvydas-Zilys

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    I didn't delete it but I suspect it got deleted by moderators because of the other half of your post, not the one mentioning domain reloads. Stay on topic.
     
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  45. Ferazel

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    Interesting thank you for doing your testing. Maybe it just feels bad due to all of the packages with a template URP project is quite considerable. Going from 10 to 5 seconds for code changes are pretty great improvement in 2023.1, congrats there! I will say 10 seconds doesn't feel bad after you have to deal with the code iteration in Unreal. :p

    I'll guess Unity can't say when domain reload will be fixed because it seems everyone is in a holding pattern waiting on the .NET CLR update. (https://forum.unity.com/threads/unity-future-net-development-status.1092205/) I feel the entire future of Unity is dependent on when/how they execute that change, no pressure.
     
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  46. xCyborg

    xCyborg

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2010
    Posts:
    628
    Hands down 2.6.1 :D
    It opens up like a breeze and compiles like a sneeze.
     
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