Virtual reality is blossoming in game development as loads of engines add VR support. Unity Technologies announced that the next iteration of the Unity game engine, version 5.1, adds VR support. Initially, compatibility will be limited to the Oculus Rift, but with an ever-growing number of VR headsets, expect support to rapidly expand. Devices like the Samsung Gear VR, and Microsoft Hololens will certainly be included with updates.
The Unity engine has been used to create games ranging from Android hit “Temple Run,” to “Deus Ex: The Fall,” “Wasteland 2,” and “Cities Skylines.” Unity joined forces with Google on to deliver Google Cardboard dev kits, including a software development kit (SDK) for Unity. 5.1 adds several additional features, including new APIs to aid cross-platform development of multiplayer games. Unity Multiplayer offers a multitude of tools to streamline development of multiplayer titles.
Another neat feature is Unity 5’s Cloud Build, capable of automating builds for Android, the Unity Web Player, and iOS. 5.1 adds Mercurial support, alongside Git, Perforce, and SVN. There’s now a unified GL rendering backend with Directx 11 support, which fits with the overall trend of streamlining development, and allowing game devs to concentrate on the fun part: creating amazing games.
Also released this week, Epic’s Unreal Engine 4.8 included VR support, along with a bevy of updates. For devs looking to upgrade their games to Unity 5.0, Unity has been kind enough to offer a super useful guide. You can browse the full release notes on Unity’s website.