The new Unity Engine update will make VR games look and run better

The new Unity Engine update will make VR games look and run better
Unity 6 Preview, the last release before the official launch of the Unity 6 game engine, has just come out. And it features a handful of useful tools that will make XR games not only run better, but look nicer too.

First up is foveated rendering: a neat trick to boost performance by lowering the resolution of the display in the peripheral vision of a user. Unity 6 now has its own Foveated Rendering API and supports two different methods of applying it.

The first method simply lowers the resolution of the display the further it gets from the center of the screen. However, the second method is much more preferable in headsets that support it. That is foveated rendering that uses eye tracking. Wherever a user is looking at gets rendered in higher resolution while the rest of the display lowers quality to improve performance.

Unity 6 Preview has also added support for image stabilization when it comes to MR games. Support for new features and other goodies related to Mixed Reality apps have also been added or improved upon. MR headsets like the Meta Quest 3 will benefit from the improvements.

Unity’s XR Interaction Toolkit has also seen “major” improvements according to Unity. This includes giving developers more flexibility in how they customize Interactors. Or in simpler terms: how objects in their game respond to interactions with each other or the player. XR inputs have also been streamlined, reducing “code complexity”.

An XR Hands package now comes with the Unity Engine. It will allow developers to design and fine-tune custom hand gestures that can be used with the hand tracking capabilities of an XR headset.

And lastly, developers are getting support for Composition Layers in Unity 6 Preview. XR apps render a frame normally and then bend it to account for an XR headset’s lenses. This means the image loses quality as it is sampled twice before being displayed to the user.

Composition Layers combats this by rendering a frame so that it renders bent correctly the first time. This results in increased visual fidelity in the final result. Small items like text and UI icons can be rendered with more clarity using Composition Layers.

With all these features, and with many more to come hopefully, Unity 6 is shaping up to be the game engine to turn to to make the best VR games.

Unity is already a very popular engine and I’m hoping these features become standardized across other engines so all XR games look and play the best they can.
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