The new version of the engine comes with upgraded DOTS, a new ecosystem of creation workflows for multiplayer experiences, tons of new features for designing digital environments, enhanced Universal Render Pipeline, and more.
Unity Technologies has released Unity 2022 LTS, a new long-term support version of their cross-platform game engine. Launched after a one-year-long period of testing by the community in beta, the release comes with tons of new features and improvements designed to enhance productivity and help developers and digital artists to create connected and immersive experiences.
Described as the most stable Unity release up to date, Unity 2022 LTS introduces a multi-process AssetBundle pipeline, a more efficient Package Manager, and accelerated compilation thanks to a Burst compiler-optimized engine. The developer has also committed to providing biweekly bug fixes for a span of two years, ensuring consistent support without introducing any API modifications.
One of the highlights of the release is the integration of the Entity Component System (ECS) into the Data-Oriented Technology Stack (DOTS), which is now available via the Unity Editor, allowing the integration of Entity-based development with GameObject-based code.
The developer emphasizes that ECS for Unity significantly enhances the capabilities of the game engine, providing increased control and determinism over data in memory and runtime process scheduling. This empowers developers to create intricate gameplay experiences within dynamic environments.
Another notable improvement of Unity 2022 LTS is the introduction of a new end-to-end ecosystem of creation workflows and cloud services, made possible by tight integration between the Unity game engine and Unity Gaming Services. Designed to help developers set up seamless multiplayer experiences, the system offers a range of options, allowing creators to easily add services such as Relay, Lobby, Game Server Hosting, Matchmaker, Voice and Text Chat, and more, into their games.
On top of that, the update introduces a plethora of fresh functionalities catered specifically to 3D Environment Artists. These enhancements encompass an enhanced High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP), an innovative Water System that facilitates the creation of captivating oceans and rivers, refinements to Cloud Layers featuring dynamic lighting and volumetric clouds, and the introduction of a new Spline package. With the Spline package, artists can now generate paths, roads, or fences in their environments with unparalleled precision through procedural methods.
The engine's Universal Render Pipeline (URP) has also been improved, introducing numerous enhancements and new features. One notable addition is the Forward+ Rendering option, which allows for the utilization of more lights within a scene, thereby enhancing Unity's real-time lighting capabilities. Another enhancement is the introduction of Temporal Anti-Aliasing, which effectively reduces aliasing issues.
Additionally, the URP now incorporates a LOD crossfade feature that facilitates smoother graphic transitions, as well as the Decal Layers feature, enabling the addition of extra texture details in scenes while maintaining control over their application. The Shader Graph Full Screen Master Node is a new tool that aids in the creation of distinctive visual effects for games and artworks.
To enhance efficiency, the implementation of Shader Variant Prefiltering has significantly improved build time and memory optimization. By analyzing the shaders used in a project and precomputing the necessary variants, this feature reduces build time and enhances overall game performance.
Lastly, the inclusion of the Built-in Converter simplifies the process of migrating projects from the Built-in Render Pipeline to URP. This functionality allows developers to take advantage of URP's benefits without the need to rebuild their projects.
Moreover, Unity 2022 LTS enhances game optimization for a wide range of platforms, including mobile, console, desktop, and XR. It delivers enhanced performance and stability, featuring an incremental build specifically designed for consoles. The update also includes improved performance with DirectX 12 and introduces support for the latest PlayStation VR2 platform.
Furthermore, this release introduces ray tracing support for Xbox Series X|S, enabling developers to create visually stunning graphics. It also offers support for touch controls and texture compression on web builds, catering to mobile devices. Moreover, Unity 2022 LTS includes updated tools that enable faster development on PlayStation VR2 and Meta Quest 2.