The graphics hardware that ultimately renders a Scene is controlled by specialised programs called Shaders. The capabilities of the hardware have improved over time, and the general set of features that were introduced with each phase is known as a Shader Model. Successive Shader Models have added support for longer programs, more powerful branching instructions and other features, and these have enabled improvements in the graphics of games.
The Unity Editor supports emulation of several sets of Shader Models and graphics API restrictions, for getting a quick overview of how the game might look like when running on a particular GPU or graphics API. Note that the in-editor emulation is very approximate, and it is always advisable to actually run the game build on the hardware you are targeting.
To choose the graphics emulation level, go to the Edit > Graphics Emulation menu. Note that the available options change depending on the platform you are currently targeting in the Build Settings. You can restore the full capabilities of your hardware by choosing No Emulation. If your development computer doesn’t support a particular Shader Model then the menu entry will be disabled.
• 2017–05–16 Page amended with no editorial review