I'm just trying out Unity's new Mecanim animation system and I'm kind of impressed. What it is, is an animation state machine where you can adjust transitions more carefully. Coupled with their navmesh system it's pretty fun to play around with. I put a navmesh agent on a character, gave it a destination, and then played with speed, acceleration, turn radius, and transition fade between idle and walk. It was amazing how much better it looked after playing around a little bit compared to the standard settings. It actually does a lot more than what I'm doing with it, also. I kind of went into overload watching their tutorial, but for my purposes, it's pretty cool just messing around with the transitions. This latest version is the first one they are giving away their simpler version of navmesh on the free version. It has to be baked in and probably would need some raycasting for dynamic changes. They also have realtime hard shadows on this version for free.
i think that unity has put the last nail on the engine's programmers coffin
mecanim is that online animation service mixamo placed in unity. when they first introduced it. you could not use your own rigs. only mixamo rigs which made it a no go for many. but now imported custom rigs work. it became a viable choice again. navigational mesh is something you could do on your own. but having a preset that does the job for you essentially makes one less thing to program. a genuine good feature.
they improved on the help file some which was much needed. the only knock against unity is the false sense of accomplishement. which isnt the engines doing but the users. too many think making a game in unity automatically makes it better than other games or just automatically good. simply because the engine is popular.
It's pretty amazing for a free version, and their paid version is reasonable also as far as engines go. I guess engine programmers will have to do things more specialized or go for the AAA game titles.