Discover some of the major 2021 updates relevant to programmers. For full details, check out the release notes.
Mono upgrade and new .NET profile
Unity now has an updated Mono version, giving you improved C# 8 syntax support. This enables you to program more streamlined switch expressions and nullable reference types, offering you greater functionality with less code. You’ll also have access to parallel debugging. Our implementation provides support for the .NET Standard 2.1 API.
Take control of your build
From general C# script compilation improvements to IL2CPP and UnityLinker enhancements, you’ll notice a much speedier experience creating builds, as well as entering Play mode.
Incremental player build support is now available for Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and WebGL. That means build time scales with the scope of your changes, rather than with the total project size, saving you time when testing your game in those crucial later stages of production.
Customize your build settings to reduce code output and build time with code generation for generics in the IL2CPP process. This also enables you to improve iteration speed with test builds through the revised Build Settings window.
Move quickly between asset creation tools and Unity
The iteration loop between asset creation and the Editor is now much faster with texture and model import optimizations and a new option to import textures and meshes in parallel. We benchmarked these improvements using the demo project Book of the Dead and recorded 2–3x speedups compared to Unity 2020 LTS.
A new tool called the Import Activity Window gives you information about why assets were imported, how long the process took, and which assets are marked for reimport because of their dependencies.
IL2CPP runtime performance improvements
Our Intermediate Language to C++ (IL2CPP) scripting backend helps you reach maximum runtime performance on a wide range of target platforms.
Since Unity 2020 LTS, we’ve made a number of improvements to speed things up further. Delegate invocation is now faster than it was before, and we’ve doubled the performance of generic virtual and interface method calls. Unity 2021 LTS also accelerates the IL2CPP runtime by removing some boxing to squeeze more performance out of this operation.
Performance and quality boost for URP and HDRP
The Scriptable Render Pipeline (including Universal Render Pipeline, or URP, and High Definition Render Pipeline, or HDRP) is now part of the Unity core. This simplifies your workflows and ensures that you’re always running the latest verified graphics code.
Improved stability for our VFX Graph implementation and advanced Shader Graph integration in VFX Graph means your graphics code runs more smoothly and with more features, such as rendering lit particles in the URP.
Mobile optimizations and workflows improvements
To ensure seamless Play Store publication, we’ve added direct support within Unity for Google’s Play Asset Delivery requirements. This handles bundling assets together to fit within the size limits the Play Store expects for installation, then easy access to “fast follow” asset delivery.
Adaptive Performance 3.0, a result of Unity’s continuing partnership with Samsung, offers tools to get better performance for your mobile-based projects.
Version 1.17.4 of the Addressable Asset System package allows for synchronous loading as well as the existing async process. The new Synchronous Addressables APIs are suitable for projects with very finely controlled download management. See how your game appears on different mobile devices with the Device Simulator, now installed as part of the main Unity installation.
Unity Profiler and Code Coverage
Get the most out of your project with our profiling tools. In the Unity Profiler, you can now see performance data in charts and gain insights into serialized functionality to identify potential areas ideal for multi-threaded code, and a Profiler API that exposes performance data points at runtime.
You can extend the Unity Profiler with your own performance metrics to better measure and understand your application’s unique performance story. Our new Performance Counters in Unity 2021 LTS provide a lightweight way to add your own performance metrics to your Unity applications and packages.
Use the Code Coverage package to find areas that your current test suite is missing.
XRI Toolkit, OpenXR, and improved performance
Add interactivity to your AR and VR experiences with the XR Interaction toolkit. This includes major bug fixes and improvements, additional interactions, and new samples that demonstrate the interactions.
We’ve reduced rendering latency on VR hardware such as Quest with support for late latching and motion vectors. We’ve also expanded our OpenXR support to allow you to target any OpenXR-conformant device, including Windows Mixed Reality, HoloLens 2, SteamVR, and Quest.
Quickly get started with your XR project in Unity with our new AR and VR templates.