Long awaited UI features available, and to be open source, as engine outfit unveils new stats on user numbers

Unity 4.6 enters open beta

Unity has used the keynote of its Unite 14 conference to announce that its engine’s 4.6 build is now available for public beta.

The 4.6 update introduces a new UI system; a feature the middleware engine’s users have long called out for. The UI system in the public beta will also be open source, allowing developers to share and modify the system; something Unity is actively encouraging so as to fine tune the platform’s abilities with user interfaces.

“We will release it under the MIT license, so everyone can use the code, and everyone can change the code. Every one will be able to share the code also,” said Lucas Meijer, Unity VP of technology, speaking on stage at Unite 14’s opening keynote in Seattle.

The UI features are spearheaded by an apparent focus on efficiency, and promise to enable Unity users to give their games and other creations a quality of UI not seen previously.

The beta is available to download here, as are a number of official tutorials on using the UI editor.

Unity CEO David Helgason, who opened the keynote at Unite, used some of his time on stage to share new stats on Unity user and productivity numbers, demonstrating continued growth for the technology.

Compared to its 128,000 monthly active users in 2011, Unity now counts an MAU of 639,000. Meanwhile, the middleware lays a claim to being used in 45 per cent of all new mobile games globally created using a third-party engine.

And according to Helgason, Oculus Rift creator Palmer Lucky has suggested ‘around 90 per cent’ of projects in development for the VR headset currently use Unity.

Additionally, to date Unity-authored games have now been downloaded 8.7 billion times, not included those which keep such data private.

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