Unity has released their 2021 product roadmap, which breaks down the company’s strategic product development and delivery plans for next year.
According to a Unity blog post, for 2021, the company is committed to giving customers “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.”
The post goes on to share that Unity plans changes in how they’ll deliver on that commitment, stating, “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.”
Several areas of focus were outlined:
Core product interoperability and stability
The Unity 2021 release series will build 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.
Another important change is that in addition to #bugs, #regressions, and #crashes, they 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.
Unity 2021 includes three specific feature areas: graphics, multiplayer networking and visual scripting.
Graphics: Scriptable Render Pipeline and Tools
They will provide Bolt visual scripting as a core feature, built directly into Unity.
They 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, they 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, as multiplayer creation needs more than just netcode, they plan to make a significant investment in tools, docs, and samples to make it easier to get started.
Product release schedule
Unity’s 2021 product release 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.
Visit the 2021 roadmap blog post for more details and links to additional information on future Unity product plans.