Unity released the Beta 5.6 on December 13 with a bunch of new upgrades in the works, including support for Vulkan, better instancing options, and more improvements to particles—to name just a few that are potentially relevant to the mixed reality community. And today, December 15, Unity has just released the EditorVR that we reported on a few weeks ago as a part of their "Experimental" builds.
DrawMeshInstancedDirect has the potential to be a big deal for HoloLens developers trying to keep their frame rates at 60 fps.
The new DrawMeshInstancedIndirect function allows you to draw many instances of the same mesh using an instanced shader with arguments supplied from a ComputeBuffer. This new way of rendering instances via script has almost no CPU overhead.
Khronos announced Vulkan support for Unity at Unite '16 Los Angeles and is claiming a 60% performance improvement in Unity. Now, I do not know for certain that the HoloLens can take advantage of Vulkan yet. Because of its unique hardware architecture, there is a high chance that it cannot.
Particle data that was previously left out of inspector access is available now.
making it simple to define curves and colors, which can be used to drive custom logic in your scripts and shaders. As a bonus, colors defined in this module can also make use of the High Dynamic Range, something that hasn't been possible with our particle system until now.
The EditorVR is now in Unity's Experimental Builds. The ability to build and arrange levels from inside at room or world scale, while still a young technology, will eventually be amazing. I hope this functionality translates to HoloLens users in the near future.
There are lots of changes... too many to list here. For a HoloLens developer like myself trying to eke out a little more performance every day, hopefully, the features listed above will help in that some way. One detail that caught my attention in the notes and known issues list was this: "Windows Store: D3D is now the default build type when building for Universal 10 SDK." Thank you Unity team, thank you.
Did I miss anything that will be really helpful for those of us making HoloLens apps? Are there any features you are really looking forward too? Let me know in the comments below.