Unity Technologies launched their Unity 5 engine globally today during their GDC conference, directly on the heels of Unreal Engine 4 going free for all.

Unity 5 is the new edition of the best development platform for creating 2D/3D games and interactive experiences. Unity 5 brings you awesome new artistic power. Improved efficiency makes the hard work smoother and more fun, and with the industry’s most comprehensive multiplatform support, you can now launch your game on 21 platforms.

Unity 5 showcases upgrades to the shader system, including a standard shader that has a consistent look across all platforms regardless of lighting system. And speaking of lighting, they now have a real-time global illumination system, along with HDR reflection probes, providing realistic reflections in surrounding environments.

Two other completely new features are the Audio Mixer and and the physics engine. The Mixer allows for complex mixing and audio production in-engine. The physic engine, PhysX 3.3, brings many new features: a cloth component, wheel colliders for accurate vehicle suspension, breaking and movement, and advanced collision detection, all while improving performance significantly.

They have also significantly upgraded their animation system as showcased in their Blacksmith demo, also released today, seen below.

We added more flexibility to the animation system. Add State Machine Behaviours to states to give precise control of script functions during animation. Anything in your game that requires some kind of State Machine-like logic can now use our visual editor live feedback.

These features just scratch the surface of what the Unity Engine can do, so check out more at the Unity Engine 5 Global Launch website. While their model remains the same — you can download their free version, but advanced features are pay only — their new and upgraded features bring the engine closer to alignment with the Unreals and CryEngines of the world. Professional editions of Unity, $1500 or $70 per month, require no royalty payments, contrasting with Unreal’s royalty system for profits over $3,000. The Personal Edition is completely free for education and developer use while revenues remain under $100,000.

For a look at what Unity can do, check out their GDC 2015 Sizzle Reel:

James Schumacher
Freelance writer and used-to-be artist based out of the Pacific Northwest. I studied Game Art & Design in college. I have been writing web content for the last 6 years, including for my own website dedicated to entertainment, gaming & photography. I have been playing games dating back to the NES era. My other interests are film, books and music. I sometimes pretend to be great at photography. You can find me on Youtube, Twitch, Twitter, 500px, DeviantArt and elsewhere under my nick: JamesInDigital.

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