Unity Technologies has shipped Unity 4, the latest update to its market-leading game engine.
The main new feature this time round is Mecanim: a complete character animation system described by Unity CEO David Helgason as “mind-blowingly awesome”.
Mecanim enables users to retarget animation clips and create blend trees and state machines for characters, and offers a range of automated feature to improve output, including foot stabilisation and trajectory matching.
Other additions include support for DirectX 11 and publishing to Flash or Linux. The Shuriken particle system, introduced in Unity 3.5, has been updated; and real-time shadows are now supported on mobile platforms.
The biggest release of Unity to date?
When Unity 4 was announced, we rather sniffily observed that the feature list didn’t seem as extensive as previous releases, so it’s interesting to note that the developer describes it as “our biggest release to date”.
Either way, it’s a major release, and the Mecanim animation system looks to justify the price of entry on its own.
Unity 4 is available now for multiple platforms. The base edition is free, while the Pro edition costs $1,500. The mobile and web publishing extensions are priced individually.