Unity 5.6 Beta publically available with Vulkan API support

unity 5.6 beta publically available with vulkan api support

So back in September we released news of Unity 5.5 Beta including Vulkan API support. While it is no surprise that Unity 5.6 beta is now available. This is for all Unity users (including those using #PersonalEdition). Consequently with this #release are a host of #newfeatures, starting with support for the Vulkan API again.
So according to the staff at Unity, Vulkan brings up to 60% improvements in rendering performance out-of-the-box. While this is impressive, it also suggests that the boost may be even higher with some clever tweaking.

Unity 5.6 beta:

Vulkan is a new generation graphics and compute API that provides high-efficiency. Cross-platform access to modern GPUs on desktop and mobile platforms. It’s a design that will take advantage of multiple CPU cores by allowing multiple threads to run in parallel. This means increased speed with reduced driver overhead and CPU workload. Leaving the CPU free to do additional computation or rendering. In total, we’ve seen a rendering performance improvement out-of-the box up to 60% using Unity. That is without having to deal with any specifics of the Vulkan API.

In the 5.6 beta, use Vulkan to take the graphics performance to the next level. And at final release, Vulkan will run on Android, Windows, Linux, and Tizen.

While Epic Games became the first game engine maker to support the Vulkan API with Unreal Engine 4, back in February. Crytek was on schedule to introduce Vulkan support to its CRYENGINE in Update 5.3. Which became available yesterday. Vulkan support is now late and will be part of Update 5.4. Due to be released during GDC 2017.

Two of the biggest games to make use of Vulkan on Linux are The Talos Principle and DOTA 2. Which should be interesting to see if AAA developers will pick the API next year over Microsoft’s DirectX 12. Since Vulkan is not vendor specific and does support Intel, AMD and NVIDIA. Marking a significant advantage across the board for Linux adoption.

For more on DirectX 12, check out Penguin Recordings latest video.

The Unity 5.6 beta has several big improvements, beginning with the Particle System and GPU Instancing. Since there’s even a brand new Video Player which has been rebuilt from scratch. Now able to handle smooth 4K playback and support 360 degree VR videos.

Unity 5.6 even supports new platforms like Google Daydream/Cardboard VR and Facebook Gameroom. While the subsequent beta update will add the new Progressive Lightmapper, which has been shown off at UNITE 2016. The main goal is to therefore reduce baking times and improve iteration times on lighting.

After the Unity 5.6 the next big update is Unity 2017. Hence the focus will be on a fully multi-threaded job system to improve multicore CPU usage. A new Timeline tool to deliver improved storytelling and cinematics. The full details for the Unity 5.6 beta release are here.

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