Note that, since we have merged these two tags, this question and answer does not have any real value. I am keeping it for the point of record, but a moderator may feel completely free to remove it, if the point of keeping record is unrequited or otherwise redundant.

I've come across both tags quite regularly. Commonly, they are both used on the same question. When I see deliberately used over , the context applies just as much to the current release of Unity (at the time of writing this, version 5.4).

In my experience, the difference between versions is not really local to pre-5 and post-5. If the question deals with the possibility that an answer directed towards the most recent version of the editor will not be applicable to the particular situation, the user should probably be mentioning the version they are using, anyway.

Is this a case of tags that should be synonyms, or is there a more explicit argument for when to use and when to use that I've missed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Personally I rarely find the versioned tags useful except in the case of say D3D9 versus 10/11 and 12. But I am not familiar enough with Unity to know if there are sufficient differences. \$\endgroup\$
    – user1430
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 5:10
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ One minor quibble: you can easily download official versions of Unity going back to 3.x here. (When going through the normal "Get Unity" flow, click the "Older Versions of Unity" link in the grey bar below the EULA link \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory Mod
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 13:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DMGregory, wow. I had missed that. That actually helps me out considerably, too. thanks for pointing that out =) \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 14:14

1 Answer 1


I'll confess I'd selfishly feel sad to see the tag go, since up until now I've been able to brag that I'm the only user with the unity5 tag badge. ;)

But I agree, there's not much value in distinguishing unity general versus unity5 - I can't think of an instance where the tag helped to clearly identify an issue specific to 5.

If we were to do any versioning of the tag at all, the biggest split would be at 4.6, when the new UI and event system features were introduced. I'd give different answers to a user wanting to build GUI in the old system (prefaced with "WHY!?") or NGUI add-ons, versus someone working with the richer native features in later versions.

Unity 5.3 added the SceneManager, changing how we transition between or stream in levels, along with exposing more particle scripting options and sprite asset placeholders. 5.4 added GPU instancing, motion vectors, and texture arrays...

The takeaway is that substantial features get added on sub-versions often enough that it's not going to be practical to use tags to distinguish this information.

In the cases where it's relevant, I think we can just ask users to clarify in the body of the question which version they're using, and otherwise adopt the working assumption that they're on the current version.

For reference, here are the main things that changed in Unity 5:

  • Rendering

    • New lighting model with physics-based materials used by default. A physically-based-rendering or pbr tag might be more helpful here, as well as applicable outside of Unity contexts.

    • Realtime global illumination using Geomerics Enlighten. There's already a tag users can add to highlight issues with this. It doesn't distinguish the realtime case, but neither does the unity5 tag since the engine supports offline baking too.

    • HDR reflection probes, likely to be mentioned specifically in the question if the user is having reflection problems.

  • Animation

    • StateMachineBehaviours for handling animation callbacks in a more structured way.
    • Transitions between state machines & Direct Blend Trees (should be clear when used in the question)
    • Ability to generate & adjust root motion curves.
  • Audio Mixer, allowing more control over audio levels for groups of content, and dsp effects. The pre-5.0 workflow still works the same if the user doesn't create an audio mixer, so only a description of their setup will tell us whether this is in play.

  • PhysX updates, but the physics engine is treated as a black box anyway...

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Think of it this way; if the two get merged, your even closer to reaching your silver badge in unity :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 0:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Haha, that's a good way to look at it. :D \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory Mod
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 0:33
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Gnemlock you are indeed right, I just got my first silver tag badge. :D gamedev.stackexchange.com/help/badges/140/unity?userid=39518 \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory Mod
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 4:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was going to say you must be pretty close. Grats :D \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnemlock
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 5:41

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