Unity reveals 2021 Roadmap, product release schedule

Aug 17, 2020 at 09:21 am by Press Release

Unity

In the run up to SIGGRAPH 2020, Unity released its product roadmap and new approach to development. Here it is in their own words:

We are excited to share our plans for 2021. We've listened to your feedback and established our plan based on what we've heard.

Our 2021 product commitment is simple. It's about giving you production-ready features, workflows, and components based on what you have told us you need. We consider a feature production-ready if it fully meets your needs, is fully supported from release, and has timely bug-fixing, improvements, and a clear roadmap – in other words, features you can rely on throughout your production.

To execute predictably we are also changing how we work. We'll do less, we'll do it better, and we'll prove it works cohesively before we release it. We're bringing bigger, complete teams together to develop the features and functionality that are most important to you. We're investing in our product, program, engineering, and design teams so we can increase our focus on supporting you with great workflows and commit to predictable, reliable releases

All software development is a process. Every month, we will invite you to view and comment on our progress through a series of developer diaries so you can see the theory become reality.

These are our focus areas for 2021:

Core product interoperability and stability

The Unity 2021 release series builds directly on the Unity 2020 LTS (Long-Term Support) release. Its key focus is to increase the stability and robustness of the Editor, to drive down bugs and regressions, particularly those with the greatest user impact. We don't want this to be a side note. We want it to be the foundation upon which everything else stands and takes us forward. We know this is what makes the difference when you're trying to both make day-to-day progress and take a game over the line. 

Another important change is that in addition to #bugs, #regressions, and #crashes, we are incorporating broken workflows and interoperability in our definition as bugs and logging them as such.

Additional areas of focus include:

  • Workflows and usability: quality-of-life fixes through upgrading aggregate workflows, such as UI Authoring and the key tools to enable those, e.g., Scene Tooling System, Search & Filtering.
  • Platform reach: platform support and launch-day content for next-generation consoles, Apple silicon, new AR/VR platforms, and continued optimization and support for mobile architecture.
  • Performance and iteration speed: improving your team's productivity across the development lifecycle from asset import, build and deploy, and in-Editor iteration.

Features 

For Unity 2021 we are evolving three specific feature areas: graphics, multiplayer networking and visual scripting. 

Graphics: Scriptable Render Pipeline and Tools 

We will mature our Universal Render Pipeline (URP) solution and stabilize the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP). Our long-term goal with our rendering pipeline is to have complete interoperability with all Unity features so there will be one way to build your scene with an ecosystem of tools to support users. 

Visual scripting 

In 2021, we will provide Bolt visual scripting as a core feature, built directly into Unity. As we do this, we will bring consistency across all our node-based development tools. We know it is key for a great user experience to unify the workflows of visual scripting with other node-based solutions. 

Multiplayer networking 

We will deliver a stable and supported netcode foundation. First, this means expanding the focus beyond the Data-Oriented Technology Stack (DOTS) netcode space to solve for current-Unity GameObjects. Second, we are committed to delivering full-stack solutions for key genres by building alongside the incredible talent in the open source software (OSS) multiplayer community. And finally (we heard you), multiplayer creation needs more than just netcode, so we plan to make a significant investment in tools, docs, and samples to make it easier to get started.

As evidenced by the success of games like Mediatonic's Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, great multiplayer games are possible in Unity today, and we will keep making it easier.

Product release schedule

Our product release schedule in 2021 will be anchored in these release commitments:

Unity 2020 LTS (Q1 2021)

  • A long-term support (LTS) version of Unity 2020. A stabilized change-set from Unity 2020.1 and the upcoming 2020.2 releases.
  • Improvements specifically focused on quality of life, like reorderable arrays and lists in the inspector, improved inspector copy/paste, the ability to mark an object as “default parent” in the Hierarchy, and a long list of improvements to existing features and toolsets.
  • Continued focus on iteration speed, developer tooling, and performance improvements such as updates to IL2CPP to avoid unnecessary reconverting and recompiling code when there are no code changes.
  • Improvements to Asset Import stability and robustness.
  • SRP stabilization improvements for both URP and HDRP.
  • Support for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Apple silicon platforms.
  • Increased contributions and collaboration with the OSS multiplayer community.

Unity 2021 Product Release Cycle (March–October 2021)

  • Provide visual scripting integrated directly into the Unity Editor that is robust, stable, and production-ready.
  • Iterative improvement of the core experience for URP and stable HDRP. In the Asset Store, enabling users to discover URP and HDRP content easily through tagging and filtering. 
  • Stable, supported, and extensible netcode foundation for current Unity (GameObjects). 
  • Enhanced multiplayer games tooling support.
  • Core Product interop and stability improvements as above.

We are also continuing our efforts for our Data-Oriented Technology Stack (DOTS) to lay the foundation for the future of Unity and the architecture that delivers multithreaded performance by default. More on that in future blog posts.

The feedback our community provides is priceless, and we want you to come on this journey with us. We'll be sharing regular updates via monthly developer diaries to keep you informed on the progress we're making and will provide ways for you to get in touch. 

Please join us for an AMA on the /r/Unity3D subreddit tomorrow, Aug 14, at 9:30 am PST/12:30 pm EST. Unity team members will be on hand for two hours to answer your questions. Additionally, we are also hosting a moderated Q&A thread in the forums for the next couple of days to give everyone the chance to ask questions and provide feedback.






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