Unity engine adds Vulkan support for a big performance boost

— 11:22 AM on December 15, 2016

The latest beta of the Unity game engine is now available. Version 5.6 packs some interesting goodies: support for the Vulkan API and Google Daydream VR, in addition to a host of more fine-grained technical features. Vulkan support is the headlining feature, and Unity claims developers can get "a rendering performance improvement out-of-the-box up to 60%" without getting into the nitty-gritty details of the Vulkan API. Unity's Vulkan support is cross-platform, too. The beta version currently running on Windows, Linux, and Android. The company says Samsung's Tizen OS will also be supported in the final release. We're sure at least two people on Earth are excited about that last bit. 

Unity says that Vulkan speeds things up through more efficient use of multi-core CPUs and reduced driver overhead. Adding support for Vulkan to existing titles is likely feasible but almost certainly up to individual developers. However, even if Vulkan support is limited to future Unity-based titles, this move should still offer a significant boost to the adoption of the new graphics API.

The company's blog post details a host of other additions to the game engine, including support for Google's Cardboard and Daydream VR platforms, Facebook Gameroom, and more developer-targeted features. The Unity 5.6 beta release notes can be found here.

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