Unity have announced a new engine called Unity 2017, as well as the final update for Unity 5.
At their GDC 2017 keynote in San Francisco, the engine developer previewed many features that are coming and a substantial reworking of the workflows and rendering pipelines in order to better optimise development for specific platforms.
In addition to the new engine, Unity announced update 5.6 which will see the inclusion of a progressive light mapper to reduce baking times, a new navigational mesh system which can be edited and procedurally generated in real time, native support for the Vulkan graphics API and the inclusion of TextMesh Pro as standard with Unity, having previously been available in the asset store.
Another announcement was the addition of two new partners for Unity. Facebook are now joining with their Gameroom for premium support, which also includes using Facebook coins for in-app purchasing, and Chinese handset manufacturer Xiaomi. With Xiaomi, western developers can now directly access the Chinese mobile market through the developer portal as you would Google Play or Apple's App store.
Additional support will also be coming to Unity to lower the amount of code knowledge needed to program and create art, in-app purchasing and other code-heavy areas. This push to codeless working is hoping to enable more people to partake with the platform.
John Riccitiello, CEO of Unity Technologies said: "The Unity 5 cycle culminating in 5.6 represents great progress in our key focus areas: graphics, performance, stability, efficiency and platform growth. I’m really proud of what our engineering teams delivered. Features like Physically Based Rendering, Global Illumination, and Codeless IAP are just a few of the advancements that have helped make Unity 5, and the community it powers, so successful.
Unity 5.6 will release on March 31 2017 with a lot of the features currently available in beta. Unity 2017 is due to launch with an open beta in April 2017.