Unity 2018.3 should be released by the end of this year. Let’s take a look at the new technologies it brings to game developers. Firstly, I want to mention GPU acceleration of Progressive Light mapper. This is a great improvement! We will be able to use all the power of modern graphical cards to bake light on scenes and not to wait up to 12 hours when it's done.

I use Bakery GPU light mapper with Unity 2018.2 for now –>>> asset store link – and I really like it. It bakes scene light much faster with better shadow quality than Enlighten. I’ll write an article about it soon. So I want to compare Bakery with new native Unity solution.

Upgrade NVIDIA PhysX from 3.3 to 3.4 – well, that’s good news. Without accurate physics simulation, even the most beautiful game feels static and lifeless. New version of PhysX has a lot of improvements and bug fixes.

Terrain Improvements – well that’s the most essential part of improvements in Unity 2018.3 for me because current terrain system is really a piece of old crap. We finally get GPU-instanced render path for terrain, yielding a dramatic reduction in draw calls for most cases. It is especially important for large open world scenes because current terrain drawing eats a lot of draw calls. Many thanks for this terrain improvement Unity team, you did it finally! Since our small team works on massive multiplayer military tanks battle game for now, we can get some extra FPS and use them for something else.

SpeedTree v8 support – SpeedTree is a group of vegetation programming and modeling software products developed and sold by Interactive Data Visualization, Inc. It is by default a production quality standard of vegetation for game development. SpeedTree v8 is the most advanced version of SpeedTree yet, featuring fully PBR workflows, new modeling techniques and new generators. So for any team that works with a large open world nature scenes as we do, it is an essential improvement in visual quality.

Nested Prefabs and Improved Prefab workflows – personally I don’t see it so much useful, but many developers ask about it many times. So yes, it’s finally happening. I’ll check what it means and how to use them later on.

So let’s sum what we’ll get with Unity 2018.3. In general, Unity team works hard to make Unity game engine more suitable for AAA grade games. We can use more GPU power in our game projects to make better games, and this is excellent. More power and more visual quality - this is the right direction Unity goes.