AltspaceVR Update 4.3.5 – URP & Unity Upgrade Release Notes

Hi Altspacers!

We just released an update to AltspaceVR, client version 4.3.5 available now across all devices and platforms. This update includes an upgrade to the Unity game engine (Unity 2020.3.18), a switch from Unity’s built-in rendering engine to Unity’s Universal Render Pipeline, a switch from gamma color space to linear color space, and some additional features and bug fixes.

The Mac client for this release is here: https://altvr.com/altspacevr-mac/.

This version of AltspaceVR will be a required installation as of October 22, 2021. After October 22, you will be prompted to install the latest version of AltspaceVR.

Message from the Team:

This Unity and URP upgrade has been a journey for all of us, most of all for our World Builder community. We are thankful for all the work you’ve put in over the past several weeks. We can’t wait to see the future creations that are made possible through these upgrades – we are continually impressed with and inspired by your creativity!

New Features:

  • Upgrade to Unity game engine, Unity 2020.3.18.
    • Unity has fixed numerous graphics and performance issues, and 2020.3.18 is the recommended version for AltspaceVR content.
    • AltspaceVR should load most 2020.3.9 content without any issues
    • If your content works in 2020.3.9, you can update to 2020.3.18 at your leisure, but we recommend updating when you can, or if you encounter any performance, reliability, or compatibility issues.
    • Moving forward, Unity 2020.3.18 is the recommended and supported version.
  • Switch to Unity’s Universal Render Pipeline, linear color space, and single pass instancing. These changes will make it easier to develop content while improving content performance.
  • Events and Worlds that are incompatible with the Unity and URP upgrade will display a warning on the thumbnail.
    • Go to your event/world info page to see which platforms are not supported. (i.e. This Event is not supported on PC.)
    • Event Hosts and World Builders: Read more below to learn about the Unity and URP upgrade.
  • Added Holoportation support to the Mac AltspaceVR beta client. Holoportation support requires a minimum operating system of MacOS 11.

Known Issues:

  • Mouse is disabled when in VR Mode on PCVR.
  • When in VR mode on PCVR, the physical keyboard is unusable for input fields. Use the virtual keyboard until a fix is released.
  • Certain shader features don’t work on Quest (_CameraDepthTexture and _CameraOpaqueTexture). This will cause certain shaders (mostly water shaders) to appear white on this platform.
  • Smooth turning is too fast. Use snap turning until a fix is released.
  • Flight tool + smooth locomotion controls are conflicting. It’s recommended to not use the flight tool and the controller joystick at the same time until this is fixed.
  • If Quest/Quest 2 users that have previously installed sideloaded builds encounter installation issues when installing AltspaceVR, users may need to factory reset their device to resolve conflicts.

Any Issues? Contact us!

Please reach out to our AltspaceVR Support Team for assistance with any issues or bugs: https://altvr.com/support.

Important Note for World Builders & Creators:

World Builders and creators will need to make sure their templates and kits are upgraded to at least Unity 2020.3.9, though we encourage upgrading content to Unity 2020.3.18 as soon as you’re able. Content will need to support Universal Render Pipeline and linear color space. With this new AltspaceVR client, some worlds, kits, and events may not fully function until they are updated.

Please see our guide for updating content:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/altspace-vr/world-building/upgrading-old-unity-projects

Changes to Homespaces:

  • Previous generations of the official AltspaceVR Homespace are no longer supported. We have converted these Homespaces to the Vista Homespace template.
  • During this conversion process, objects in the space will be reset. To recover old objects, a backup can be accessed in World Editor > Altspace > Backups.
  • Custom Homespace templates will need to be compatible with this update. If your Homespace is not compatible, it will be inaccessible.
  • Homespace templates can be edited or changed on our website at https://account.altvr.com/worlds/my?type=home or in app by going to Main Menu / ME / HOMESPACE.

Changes to Main Events:

  • Events must use templates or source worlds that are URP compatible as a requirement for ‘Main Event’ status.
  • Previously scheduled Main Events that are using templates/source worlds that are not URP compatible have had their Main Event status removed. Event hosts will need to resubmit their Events for Main Event status after updating their template/source world to URP. 

Benefits of Universal Render Pipeline and Linear Color Space:

Switching to Unity’s URP

Unity’s Universal Render Pipeline has evolved into a powerful graphics solution that delivers beauty with speed and performance, and it’s supported on all platforms Unity targets. AltspaceVR is adopting this to make our worlds better across all platforms. Specific benefits include:

  • Shader Graph Support
  • New Post Processing Effects (eventually)

*Some shaders will require updates to be compatible with URP.
**With this update, builders should be using URP-compatible shaders from here on out.

Moving to Linear Color Space 

  • Removes the oversaturation caused by Gamma Color Space, allowing for more realistic lighting effects
  • Improved colors from texture sampling when rendering
  • Higher quality lighting effects at a reduced cost

Switching to Single Pass Instancing (SPI)

  • Faster frame rates
  • Lower CPU usage
  • Increased detail and complexity of scenes