Discover some of the major 2021 updates relevant to programmers. For full details, check out the release notes.
Design engaging user interfaces
UI Toolkit is a collection of features and tools for developing user interfaces and Editor extensions. UI Toolkit now supports the authoring of runtime UI, so you can use it to create UI for games and applications.
Inspired by web technologies, UI Toolkit offers an intuitive authoring experience to help artists and designers get started faster with dedicated tools like the UI Builder and UI Debugger.
Although Unity recommends using UI Toolkit for new UI projects, there are still cases where it makes sense to use older systems. Compare UI systems to evaluate what works best for you.
Improved worldbuilding and environments
Creating high-fidelity environments for your game can be a massive undertaking.
In the 2021 LTS, Terrain Tools is now verified and includes new Terrain stamping brushes, refined material painting controls, GPU instancing capabilities for Terrain Details, and SpeedTree integration, among other improvements to the authoring experience.
Create stunning 2D experiences
Sprite Atlas v2 now supports folders and has two new APIs for a more efficient sprite packing, while Sprite Swap’s integration into the Unity Editor workflow offers better sprite organization.
2D PSD Importer improved usability and has features to turn layers or groups into sprites. 2D Animation includes UX improvements in the skinning editor, plus you can now reuse existing character skeletons with the 2D PSD Importer.
See the new graphics features for URP, and get with the 2D URP template directly from the Hub. Try the new 2D Light and Camera Sorting Layer Texture nodes in Shader Graph, work with the Sprite visualization option in the Main Preview, access 2D Lights in the Light Explorer window, and more.
Render with quality and flexibility
URP has enhanced support for decals, improved SSAO, Light Cookies, Light Anchors, Light Layers, and Lens Flares, plus refined implementation of Reflection Probes. You can now also use either Forward or Deferred rendering paths to balance between performance and quality of real-time lights on all platforms including mobile. AMD FidelityFX™ Super Resolution (FSR) is also available on supported platforms, including mobile.
HDRP introduces Volumetric Clouds and Cloud Layers for creating dynamic skies. You’ll also find improved lighting with dynamic prebaked (Enlighten), real-time (SSGI) and baked (Experimental Probe volumes) Global Illumination, Light Anchors, and Lens Flares. Plus, boost performance with “Burstified” render loop, mixed cached shadow maps, and upsampling technologies.
Creative control with artist-friendly tools
Use HDRP Tessellation from Shader Graph to add dynamic details to meshes or create waves or traces in snow or sand. With Shader Graph’s new custom interpolators and vertex animation functionalities, you can create effects like flapping wings or wobbling particles.
VFX Graph is now officially supported on PC and consoles for URP and 2D, with better support for mobile compute capable devices. Interacting with data is more powerful with skinned mesh sampling, an SDF baking tool, and Graphics Buffer support.
Create gameplay logic without writing lines of code
Unity Visual Scripting empowers creators to develop gameplay mechanics or interaction logic using a visual, graph-based system instead of writing lines of traditional code. In 2021 LTS, visual scripting is available natively within the Unity Editor, so artists, designers, and programmers alike can get started faster.
Artists and designers can create visual scripts to test ideas, make changes, and maintain more control over their work. Programmers can also make use of custom nodes and graphs to empower their team and streamline collaboration.
Check out this quick-start tutorial for an introduction to the basics.
Produce beautiful cinematics
Sequences is available to build and organize timelines, while Recorder is verified and supports new codecs like Apple ProRes. We’ve also integrated AOV recording, path tracing, and Accumulation Motion Blur.