Unity 2018.1 marked the start of a new cycle with two major innovations at the core. Together, the Scriptable Render Pipeline (SRP) and Shader Graph give artists and developers more power, while the C# Job System, Burst Compiler and ECS make it possible to take advantage of multi-core processors without the programming headache. Unity 2018.2 builds on these innovations and adds several new features.

You can download Unity 2018.2 here or via the Unity Hub.

What’s new in Unity 2018.2

One of the goals for Unity 2018.2 has been to build on the Scriptable Render Pipelines (SRPs) in order to enable next-level rendering. Another focus area has been to develop a range of features and improvements that will help you succeed in mobile. Let’s take a brief look at what we’ve done in these two areas before going into more detail on the entire release.

Unity 2018.2 optimizes the performance of the Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP) and enhances the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) to help you achieve high-end visual quality, including multiple improvements to the Shader Graph, which now supports both pipelines (please note that both the LWRP and HDRP are currently in preview.)

We also added support for managed code debugging on iOS and Android, Windows, macOS, UWP and PS4 for IL2CPP, and we started adding some mobile optimizations to the Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP).

For Android projects, 64-bit (ARM64) support gets its final release, and we now let you add Java code to your Unity plugins folder without needing to create libraries in advance.

Finally, several new 2D features are available as Preview packages, including the Vector Graphics importer and Pixel Perfect. The Vector Graphics importer makes it easier for you to work with SVG graphics, and Pixel Perfect makes it easier for you to achieve a perfect retro look across different resolutions on a wide range of devices.

Lightweight Render Pipeline (Preview)

Delivers high performance

The Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP) delivers high performance, which is especially useful for lower-end hardware, performance-hungry applications like XR, and platforms, such as mobile.

LWRP improves performance and optimization further with Optimized Tile utilization. LWRP will adjust the number of load-and-store to tiles in order to optimize the memory of mobile GPUs. It also shades light in batches, which reduces overdraw and draw calls.

Basic LWRP is currently supported on all VR platforms, however, it will not support Multisample anti-aliasing (MSAA) until 2018.3.

Please note that LWRP is currently not supported for handheld AR, like ARCore or ARKit, or HoloLens or Magic Leap devices. New product plans will be communicated at a future date.

The LWRP delivers high performance for lower-end HW and performance-hungry apps like XR.

High Definition Render Pipeline (Preview)

First shipped as a Preview in 2018.1, the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) prioritizes high-definition visuals targeting primarily high-end platforms, such as PC and consoles.

In 2018.2, we have gone further to help you achieve high-end visual quality. However, it is important to note that the SRPs are still Previews, and consequently not yet recommended or supported for production. Improvements include volumetrics, glossy planar reflection, Geometric specular AA, and Proxy Screen Space Reflection & Refraction, Mesh decals, and Shadow Mask.

Volumetrics: Volumetric fog receives lighting from all supported light types except area light. It is also possible to control the density of the fog locally with density volume.

Glossy planar reflection: Planar reflection now supports glossy reflection, which means that it takes into account the smoothness of the material.

Geometric specular AA: Mesh with dense numbers of triangles can cause specular aliasing. In order to address this, there is now an option to reduce and limit the amount of aliasing.

Proxy Screen Space Reflection & Refraction: This feature lets you use proxy volume (volume approximating the scene boundary) to perform screen-space reflection and refraction. While it is not as accurate as using the depth buffer, the runtime cost is lower.

Mesh decals: This allows you to use mesh for decals in addition to projector decals.

Shadow mask: Previously, this feature in HDRP used the Distance Shadowmask mode (dynamic shadow fade to shadow mask at maximum shadow distance). With 2018.2, it is now possible to select per light if the dynamic shadow only renders a non-lightmapped object (corresponding to the shadow mask mode of the built-in pipeline). So unlike with the built-in pipeline, HDRP allows both shadow-mask modes to be enabled at the same time, and you have a per-light control for the built-in Shadow mask mode.

Additionally, we have added limited Shader Graph support so you can visually create shaders, and we are working to improve overall stability and performance. Limited support means that only a subset of HDRP features is available in the Shader Graph. There are currently no advanced material features (SSS, clear coat), and tessellation is not currently available either.

Lastly, we have added a shader stripping feature, which makes it possible to avoid compiling shaders that are not required when building a player. This results in a much faster build time.

Please note the HDRP is not currently supported on any AR or VR platforms. Support for these platforms is scheduled for 2019. New product plans will be communicated at a future date.

Fontainebleau Photogrammetry demo with volumetric light shaft from Sunlight


The HDRP was instrumental for creating this entire car commercial in Unity

To see the full list of updates and download Unity 2018.2, visit their site here.

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