1.8 is finally out

It’s been a while. Too long, in some ways. But we finally released version 1.8 of the Volumetric Galaxy Pack today!

So what’s new? Well, here are the highlights:

  • Moved up to Unity 2018.3.2f1 or higher.
    • We’ve been supporting a very old version of Unity for a long time, but have realized that practically none of our users have reason to stay on those old versions of Unity in their projects. We therefore decided to modernize as well and move on to what’s reasonably current.
  • Fixed deadlock issue reported in one of the reviews of the asset
  • Fixed memory leak reported to us via our support site
  • Improved performance in the lower end of star field densities
    • While running with few stars (at least less than a billion), performance in star region generation should have increased significantly, especially in the lower end of the spectrum.
  • Improved spatial lookup algorithm for more accurate star region candidate generation
    • We introduced a pseudo-frustum volume lookup instead of the previous right angled lookup model when generating candidates. This allows use cases where the rendering camera has a high field of view setting without increasing the lookup volume size too much.
  • Improved star picking stability
    • The star collider size settings were apparently a bit opaque in how they actually affected pickability of stars, so we made the implementation a bit simpler and it should now be easier to predict how the hitbox sizes change with this setting.
  • Included debug setting to view
    • In addition to hopefully making setting a bit easier to understand, we also included a setting for the star field that enables rendering of hitboxes in the scene view. If you are unsure about the size of your star region lookup size or how large your star picking hitboxes are, enable this setting.
  • Separated alpha and star sprite size calculations in the star shader.
    • We used to always scale the star with the same value as we’d scale the alpha of the sprite for the star. This has now been changed in order to allow fading out of stars given a distance at a different rate than the size of the sprite. In this way, we now allow the user to configure their way out of a few corner cases where stars could not be prevented from popping in and out of existence when spawned/despawned.

It really helps when our users report issues directly to us so that we can come back with questions should be not have a clear reproduction case. I would like to send a big thank you to all our users who do get in contact with suggestions, questions, issues or other feedback as it helps us make the asset better. So Thank You!

An additional thing we’ve prepared for with the move to Unity 2018.3+ is future optimization. Unity does not currently allow asset developers to set dependencies for packages, and the packages in question are not out of beta yet, but in the mean-time we would like to offer a way for our users to utilize the bleeding edge of what Unity can offer in performance. So, next time we’ll likely offer a way to utilize the new Entity Component System in order to boost performance even more. So far it’s looking quite promising!

Until next time…

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