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Released 2021-03-23

2D Animation Improvements

  • Multi-Character Workflow Improvements with Sprite Swap.
  • Simpler and more robust key-framing.
  • Improved character setup by adding skeletons that support reuse for variants of a main skeleton.

2D Graphics Improvements

  • Adding Camera Sorting Layer Texture. This can be accessed and manipulated in shaders. Applications for this include creating water or heat haze effects. It is similar to the Opaque Texture in URP.
  • Replacing Parametric Lights with a set of preconfigured Freeform Lights for typical shapes.
  • Adding a smoother falloff for Freeform Lights.
  • Improving performance for 2D Lights.

2D World-building Improvements

World Building
  • Improving Sprite Shape height interpolation for smoother Sprite Shapes.
  • Tilemap Extras available as a pre-release package. This includes a selection of tools built on top of Tilemap, including Rule Tile, Animated Tiles, Group Brush, Random Brush and GameObject Brush.

Alembic 2.1


The Alembic package allows you to import (and export) Alembic files into your Unity Scenes, where you can playback and record animation directly in Unity. It brings in vertex cache data from 3D modelling software, such as facial animation (skinning) and cloth simulation (dynamics). When you play it back inside Unity, it looks exactly the same as it did in the 3D modelling software.

Version 2.1 adds:

  • Unity Recorder integration (compatible with Unity Recorder 2.2.0 or newer - see the forum for further information).
  • Performance improvements for importing Alembic files more efficiently.

Burst 1.5


Burst 1.5 brings lots of bugfixes and introduces:

  • Apple silicon support.
  • Adding support for calling Burst code directly from C# without using function pointers.
  • Adding support for creating profiler markers from Burst code.
  • Adding support for passing strings between methods.
  • Improved codegen.
  • Full support for ARMv7 and ARMv8-A Neon intrinsics (out of experimental).
  • Adding support for LLVM 11 to bring the latest and greatest code generation benefits to Burst.
  • Changes to inliner heuristics to improve build time and reduce executable size.
  • Adding support for exceptions thrown from Burst to contain a call stack.

Cinemachine 2.7

  • Adding full support for physical cameras, so users who work with physical cameras can control all parameters from Cinemachine virtual cameras.
  • 2D camera confiner improvements, enabling confining of cameras using complex boundaries.
  • Moving the Cinemachine under the GameObject menu to align with other forms of object creation.

Device Simulator


Integration of Device Simulator (which was previously available as a preview package) into the Unity core.

Device Simulator allows you to iterate fast in-Editor when developing for mobile by replacing game view with a mobile simulation.

Editor Search

Editor Core

Addition of the Quick Search package directly into the Editor with an updated UI for better integration.

This feature allows you to easily find anything in the Editor, reducing the tedious and difficult process of locating assets, game objects, settings, and even menu items for large projects. 

ETC2 runtime compression support


Adding ETC2 support for Texture2D.Compress to enable runtime texture compression, including on mobile devices.

FBX Exporter 4.0


This becomes a Released package in 2021.1 and includes stability improvements. The package exports a scene reference for animation, allowing you to interoperate with popular DCCs (such as Maya and Max). It’s also possible to record animations in-Editor, which lets you export references to Maya and Max so that they can re-key animations.

Major update for Unity Purchasing (IAP) to include components previously delivered via Asset Store


Version 3 of com.unity.purchasing includes the Unity IAP components previously delivered via the Asset Store and the Service Window "Import" button. This provides a streamlined user experience for adding In-App Purchasing to new projects. Existing projects will require additional steps to ensure smooth integration.

Instructions are available on the Forum and package description.

Package Lifecycle Update

Package Manager

The new package lifecycle, which comes into effect with 2021.1, introduces more rigour to the way we publish packages but also revisits how we show and label them in the Package Manager UI. These changes are designed to provide you with a clearer and more consistent experience.

See the linked forum post for full details.

Precision Time API


The current time API in Unity is represented by a float, which long-running games and servers are able to overflow/wraparound. This new API has double precision, thus provides ample additional heardroom.

Recorder 2.5


Unity Recorder is now a fully Released package as of version 2.5.

Use the Unity Recorder package to capture and save data during play mode. For example, you can capture gameplay or a cinematic and save it as an mp4 file.

You can set up the following types of Recorder:

  • Animation Clip Recorder: generates an animation clip in .anim format.
  • Movie Recorder: generates a video in .mp4 or .webm format.
  • Image Sequence Recorder: generates a sequence of image files in .jpeg, .png, or .exr (OpenEXR) format.
  • GIF Animation Recorder: generates an animated .gif file.
  • Audio Recorder: generates an audio clip in .wav format.

Texture Import Time Optimizations


Texture data usually account for the majority of game assets. 2021.1 brings significant optimizations to texture import times:

  • Generally, texture import is around 1.3x faster due to improved multi-threading, SIMD and data flow optimizations.
  • Mobile ETC format texture compression is 2.7x faster.
  • Mobile ASTC format texture compression is 2.6x faster.
  • Mobile PVRTC format texture compression is 1.1x faster.

On a 2GB testing project with 400 real-project textures with various settings, import times on a test PC:

  • Import for PC: down from 141sec to 111sec
  • Import for Android (ETC format): down from 720sec to 266sec (7 minutes saved)
  • Import for Android (ASTC format): down from 1568sec to 602sec (16 minutes saved)

Visual Scripting - Package Release


Unity 2021.1 integrates visual scripting as part of its core functionality. Visual scripting helps all team members create scripting logic with visual, drag-and-drop graphs instead of writing code by hand. Artists and designers can now get more done in the Editor without requiring help from programmers, while programmers can quickly implement ideas for faster prototyping and iteration.

  • Integration as a core Unity capability: Visual scripting workflows have been adjusted for clarity and for unification with other Unity tools and some menus, windows, nodes, notions, or namespaces have been renamed for consistency.
  • Now available as a package: The Visual Scripting package can be revealed in the Package Manager by enabling “Pre-Release packages” during this beta, and it’s also available by default with new projects. Visual scripting preferences have been integrated into Unity Editor preferences and project settings.
  • Workflow optimizations and integrations: The visual scripting workflow has been optimized to maximize productivity. Graph editor, Blackboard and Graph Inspector have been consolidated into a single window, and units are generated automatically the first time the graph window is opened. Ahead-of-time (AOT) pre-compilation is automatic. Also, visual scripting now provides dedicated support for the new Input System. To get the new nodes, units need to be regenerated after you add the Input System package.