We have over 1000 developers dedicated to extending and improving Unity for you. In this release, you get more than 170 new features and enhancements for artists, designers, and programmers. We've updated ProBuilder, Shader Graph, 2D Animation, Burst Compiler, UI Elements, and many more. Read on for the highlights.
More features, updated tools, better workflows
But before we tell you about all the great new additions and improvements, note that we've revamped our release announcement too. You no longer have to scroll/scan a super-long post just to find what's most pertinent for you or your team. Here we give you just the highlights, plus handy links to dedicated webpages featuring all the update info organized by an overview, artist and designer tools, programmer tools, graphics, and supported platforms.
But before you dive in, why not start downloading 2019.2 now.
ProBuilder 4.0 ships as verified with 2019.2 and is our unique hybrid of 3D modeling and level design tools, optimized for building simple geometry but capable of detailed editing and UV unwrapping as needed.
Polybrush is now available via Package Manager as a Preview package. This versatile tool lets you sculpt complex shapes from any 3D model, position detail meshes, paint in custom lighting or coloring, and blend textures across meshes directly in the Editor.
DSPGraph is the new audio rendering/mixing system, built on top of Unity's C# Job System. It's now available as a Preview package.
We have improved how UI Elements, Unity's new UI framework, renders UI for graph-based tools such as Shader Graph, Visual Effect Graph, and Visual Scripting. These changes provide a much smoother and responsive feel when you author more complex graphs in the Editor.
To help you better organize your complex graphs, we have added subgraphs to Visual Effect Graph. You can share, combine, and reuse subgraphs for blocks and operators, and also embed complete VFX within VFX. We've also improved the integration between Visual Effect Graph and the High-Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP), which pulls VFX Graph in by default, providing you with additional rendering features.
With Shader Graph you can now use Color Modes to highlight nodes on your graph with colors based on various features or select your own colors to improve readability. This is especially useful in large graphs.
We've added swappable Sprites functionality to the 2D Animation tool. With this new feature, you can change a GameObject's rendered Sprites while reusing the same skeleton rig and animation clips. This lets you quickly create multiple characters using different Sprite Libraries or customize parts of them with Sprite Resolvers. Now you can swap Sprites to create characters that are completely different visually but use the same animation rig.
Tools for programmers
The Burst Compiler came out of Preview in 2019.1. With this release, Burst Compiler 1.1 includes several improvements to JIT compilation time and some C# improvements.
TypeCache provides a fast way to access types or methods marked with specific attributes, as well as types derived from a specific class or interface. It utilizes an internal native cache that is built for all assemblies loaded by the Editor.
For developers of mobile apps we have introduced screen brightness controls via the new Screen.brightness property (iOS and Android) and improved the ReplayKit API (iOS). We've also made it easier to adjust your UI by adding support for detecting the bounding box around the notch(es).
We've migrated the PhysX Cloth Library from the previous PxCloth to NvCloth as part of our transition from PhysX 3.4 to PhysX 4.x.
We've started to move the Code Editor Integrations (and thus IDEs) from core to packages, and exposed our C# APIs. With this release, the Visual Studio Code and JetBrains Rider integrations are available as packages; Visual Studio will be available as a package in an upcoming release.
We've removed the old .NET 3.5 Equivalent Scripting Runtime. Any projects that use the .NET 3.5 Equivalent Scripting Runtime will be automatically updated to use the .NET 4.x Equivalent Scripting Runtime.
Incremental Garbage Collection, released as experimental on some platforms in Unity 2019.1, now supports all platforms except WebGL.
This release also includes support for the Intel® VTune™ Amplifier for the Windows Standalone Player (x86, 64-bit) and Windows Editor, including sampling profiling of C# code.
In this release, our High-Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) includes an Arbitrary Output Variables (AOV) API, allowing you to output material properties only, lighting only, depth buffer, and other passes from the Scene. As well, this API is now used in the Unity Recorder, which makes it easy to export specific outputs for rendering with HDRP.
We've also added Dynamic resolution, which allows you to scale the resolution at which the world is rendered, with hardware dynamic resolution support. This gives you better performance compared to software dynamic resolution.
The MatCap debug view mode replaces the material and lighting of objects with a simple environment texture. This mode is useful for navigating and getting a sense of the Scene without having to set up the Scene lighting. For example, if you are editing a dark area, like the inside of a cave, this makes it easier to navigate in low lighting.
The new Ambient Occlusion effect is a screen-space shading and rendering algorithm that improves the quality of ambient lighting simulation in your Scene, especially for small-scale details, while providing good performance. You can choose from several options to optimize for performance and quality.
There are new 2D features in the Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP) such as the experimental 2D Renderer, which now contains 2D Pixel Perfect and 2D Lights. The new 2D Lights enable you to easily enhance visuals of 2D projects directly without having to use 3D lights or custom shaders.
Shader Graph now has 2D Master nodes to create 2D Unlit and Lit Sprite Shaders. Additionally, precision modes let you set nodes to use less GPU memory, which helps increase performance on diverse platforms, including mobile.
Lightmap denoising now works on all Editor platforms, regardless of GPU manufacturer. We have also made a fundamental change in how you configure the baking, giving you new possibilities for speeding up lightmap baking. As well, we're introducing new probe workflows.
With Probe-Lit GI Contributors, you can choose if objects that Contribute Global Illumination should receive GI from Light Probes or lightmaps. This allows Mesh Renderers to contribute to bounced lighting calculations without occupying texels in the lightmap, which can lead to huge improvements in bake times and reduced memory usage.
This release also includes major speed improvements in our GPU Lightmapper, especially during lighting iterations. New features include Multiple Importance Sampling support for environment lighting and increased sampling performance when using view prioritization or small/low occupancy lightmaps.
The NVIDIA OptiX AI Denoiser has been upgraded for better performance and lower memory usage, and to add support for NVIDIA Turing GPUs. It is supported in the GPU Lightmapper.
Lightmapping now supports the Intel Open Image Denoise library, which is a machine-learning-based filter. It will improve your lightmapping workflow and lightmap quality by post-processing lightmaps. Noise and unwanted artifacts are removed so that you can get smooth, noise-free lightmaps that use far fewer samples.
Platforms and Editor workflows
Optimized Frame Pacing for Android, developed in partnership with Google's Android Gaming and Graphics team, provides consistent frame rates and hence smoother gameplay experience by enabling frames to be distributed with less variance.
Mobile developers will also benefit from improved OpenGL support, as we have added OpenGL multithreading support (iOS) to improve performance on low-end iOS devices that don't support Metal. We also added OpenGL support for SRP batcher for both iOS and Android to improve CPU performance in projects that use the Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP).
We have added an APK size check using Android App Bundle so you can see the final APK size of different targets for large apps.
If you are working with VR, try out HDRP, which now supports VR too.
We're also introducing a revamped SDK loading and management system for your target platforms to help streamline your development workflow. The system is currently in Preview and we're looking for users to try out the new workflow and to give us feedback.
The updated AR Foundation 2.2 includes support for face-tracking, 2D image-tracking, 3D object-tracking, and environment probes. See this recent blog post for details about AR Foundation support for ARKit 3 features.
Vuforia support has migrated from Player Settings to the Package Manager, giving you access to the latest version of Vuforia Engine 8.3.
Bug fixes, improvements, and API updates
We're continuing to make the Editor leaner and more modular by converting several existing features into packages, including Unity UI, 2D Sprite Editor, and 2D Tilemap Editor. They can be easily integrated, upgraded or removed via the Package Manager.
As with all releases, 2019.2 includes a large number of improvements and bug fixes. A special thanks goes out to our alpha and beta community for using and testing all the new tools and capabilities. Your pertinent and timely feedback helped us fix a large number of issues and finalize this release.
You can find the full list of features, improvements, and fixes in the Release Notes, which are available here. You can also use the Issue Tracker to find specific ticket information.
2019.2 beta sweepstakes winners
We are happy to announce that we've declared the five lucky winners of our Unity 2019.2 beta sweepstakes. They each won a Samsung Galaxy S10+, and all winners have been contacted. Stay tuned for updates about future sweepstakes and other beta news by signing up for our newsletter.
What's coming next in Unity?
Are you curious about what's going to be in Unity 2019.3? You can get access to the alpha version now or wait for the beta, which we expect to launch later this summer. The full release of 2019.3 is scheduled for the fall of 2019. If you're interested in knowing more about our Preview packages, check out the overview here.
Not only will you get early access to the latest new features, but you can ensure that your project will be compatible with the new version. You can also help influence the future of Unity by sharing your feedback with our R&D teams in our forums or in person. Additionally, you'll have the opportunity to get invited to Unity events, roundtables and much more. Start by downloading our latest alpha or beta and have a look at this guide for how to be an effective beta tester.
Thomas Krogh-Jacobsen is the Product Marketing Manager Lead at Unity Technologies. He is located in Copenhagen Area, Capital Region, Denmark.