Unity has opted to bring back its previous numbering system, relabeling Unity 2023 LTS as Unity 6 ahead of its launch next year. And the major highlight of this announcement is that Unity 6 will feature AI tools and more multiplayer tech.
This decision to relabel Unity 2023 LTS as Unity 6 was announced during the most recent Unite 2023 event, where the company revealed that the upcoming engine’s major release will come with performance enhancements, faster multiplayer game development, and AI tools like Sentis. However, what caught the most attention was the fact that Unity 6 will expand on AI tools and services.
In an interview with gamesindustry.biz, Marc Whitten, President, and General Manager of Unity Create, disclosed that Unity 6 will also expand on the Muse suite of AI tools and services. Moreover, the upcoming version will introduce a new WebGPU graphics backend, enabling game deployment across the internet, including browsers and native apps.
Marc Whitten said, [the company] is keen on pursuing AI because it wants to meet developers where they are, help them, and keep them in control. We want them to be able to iterate and experiment faster so they can find the fun in their games and experiences.”
He further added, “This might be asking questions like ‘how do I…’ that gives information specific to the version of Unity you are using, getting some help optimizing some code, creating some variations on a texture that you are playing with, and much more. Just like our other tools, we expect to embed our AI tools in the Unity workflow so it’s there when you need it if a developer chooses to [use] AI in their workflow.”
Talking about the issues Unity faced with AI partners selling assets sourced from stolen content, Unity’s Whitten mentions their efforts in creating AI tools like Muse Sprite and Muse Texture. These tools are exclusively trained on data and images owned or licensed by Unity.
To ensure safety and avoid copyrighted material or recognizable artistic styles in the outputs, a rigorous process involving human oversight and machine learning is being used. This process involved multiple iterations of reprocessing new synthetic outputs followed by the application of a custom-built model on a meticulously processed dataset of five million images.
Whitten says, “To ensure that the outputs are safe and don’t contain any copyrighted materials or recognizable artistic styles, we went through a multi-step process – including both human oversight and machine learning – to generate new synthetic outputs that were re-processed over and over. And then, we applied a custom-built model to this highly processed five million image data set.”
For those unaware, Muse’s first three features include:
- Muse Sprite: creates 2D sprites with numerous permutations
- Muse Chat: assists developers in finding resources within Unity, including useful code
- Muse Texture: One tool for creating textures for 2D or 3D games
Additional tools under development are:
- Muse Animate: it allows for character animations without the need for programming
- Muse Behaviour: it allows for character interactions.
- Muse Sketch: a “3D canvas for rapid prototyping and team collaboration
Apart from the Muse suite of AI tools, Unity is gearing up to launch Unity Sentis alongside Unity 6 in 2024. This feature will enable programmers to embed an AI model within their game or app’s Unity Runtime, enriching the experience irrespective of the player’s device.
Regarding AI’s impact on roles in game development, Whitten emphasized “We are building AI tools to help creators when they are stuck or want more iterations and give them more tools they can use – if they choose.”
In a shift from its update cycle, Unity moved to a yearly system of incremental updates, transitioning from Unity 5.6 to Unity 2017 annually. Unity 6 marks a return to the older numbering system, set for release in 2024. Additionally, Unity announced Unity Cloud, a collection of interconnected services aimed at facilitating remote collaborative work for developers, regardless of location.
For constant updates, keep following Gamevro.