Unity version 5.1 released with new tools for VR game development

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Unity has announced Unity 5.1, the latest version of its game development engine. Following on from Unity 5’s launch in March, version 5.1 brings several improvements, along with native support for the Oculus Rift.

Here are the new features you’ll find in Unity 5.1:

Multiplayer. New APIs mean multiplayer games will be easier to build than before. These new games can exist across different platforms, and developers will have new easy to use tools to get fast access to often used features.

Unity has released Unity 5.1, the latest version of its game development engine

Multiplayer Service. Currently a preview feature, it introduces the Matchmaker server to help players find other players, plus the Relay server, for solving connectivity problems related to firewalls. It’s limited to 100 concurrent users at the moment.

VR. Oculus Rift developers will find Unity 5.1 has native support for the headset, and is comfortable with many virtual reality and augmented reality features straight away, including head tracking. To help boost frame rates, Unity 5.1 has new stereoscopic rendering optimizations, such as single pass culling and shared shadowmaps.

Other VR platforms will be supported in the future, with Samsung’s Gear VR and Microsoft’s HoloLens specifically mentioned.

Cloud Build and other features. The automated app building service now supports projects that use Mercurial, and new source control servers including Git, SVN, and Penforce. Unity 5.1 also adds numerous bug fixes, plus upgrades to 70 APIs, and has a new Runtime Assertion Library feature.

The full release notes are available here, and Unity has put a guide to upgrading here. If you’re interested in the VR feature, Oculus has posted a helpful thread about the integration on its own forums.