At this morning’s Game Developers Conference, Unity announced the immediate availability of the fifth numbered version of its popular game engine, which can compile games for 21 different platforms from a single code base. New in Unity 5 is support for Oculus Rift VR games.
Unity features “massively improved graphics capabilities” in its engine, such as a physically-based shader built around real-world materials, real-time global illumination using Geometrics Enlighten technology, and support for HDR reflections. A new editor gives Unity users the ability to more easily mix audio and animate characters from within the engine, while support for PhysX 3.3 adds improvements to collision detection and multithreaded simulation, Unity says.
The launch of Unity 5 coincides with the unveiling of Unity Cloud Build. The new online service can manage and synchronize code versions for multiple users and build new distributions for different platforms in the cloud for later delivery. Cloud Build also offers more granular tools for performance improvement and audience analysis, as well as improved exception logging.
These cloud-based services are available for $25 per month, but users who pay $75 per month for Unity’s Professional Edition get 12 months of free service. The royalty and subscription-free paid pro edition also comes with prioritized bug handling, early access to beta features, and enhanced resource sharing among team members, among other things.
Smaller studios can still use Unity’s free version until their projects reach $100,000 in funding and revenue in a single year. Yesterday, Epic announced it would make its Unreal Engine 4 free to all users, even though Epic charges a five percent royalty for most commercial games made with its engine.