In this article we will show Unity 2018 primary views and windows; we will also cover layouts and the toolbar. The interface components covered in the post are the used most ones.
This article is taken from the book Getting Started with Unity 2018 written by Dr. Edward Lavieri.
Unity 2018 User Interface Components at glance
When we first launch Unity, we might be intimidated by all the areas, tabs, menus, and buttons on the interface. Unity is a complex game engine with a lot of functionality, so we should expect more components for us to interact with. If we break the interface down into separate components, we can examine each one independently to gain a thorough understanding of the entire interface.
As you can see here, we have identified six primary areas of the interface. We will examine each of these in subsequent sections. As you will quickly learn, this interface is customizable. The following screenshot shows the default configuration of the Unity user interface.
The Unity editor’s main menu bar, as depicted here, consists of eight pull-down options. We will briefly review each menu option in this section. Additional details will be provided in subsequent chapters, as we start developing our Cucumber Beetle game:
Unity’s menus are contextual. This means that only menu items pertinent to the currently selected object will be enabled. Other non-applicable menu items will appear as gray instead of black and not be selectable.
The Unity menu item, shown here, gives us access to information about Unity, our software license, display options, module information, and access to preferences:
Accessing the Unity | About Unity… menu option gives you access to the version of the engine you are running. There is additional information as well, but you would probably only use this menu option to check your Unity version.
The Unity | Preferences… option brings up the Unity Preferences dialog window. That interface has seven side tabs: General, External Tools, Colors, Keys, GI Cache, 2D, and Cache Server. You are encouraged to become familiar with them as you gain experience in Unity.
The Unity | Modules option provides you with a list of playback engines that are running as well as any Unity extensions.
You can quit the Unity game engine by selecting the Unity | Quit menu option.
Unity’s File menu includes access to your game’s scenes and projects. We will use these features throughout our game development process. As you can see in the following screenshot, we also have access to the Build Settings.
The Edit menu has similar functionality to standard editors, not just game engines. For example, the standard Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Undo, and Redo options are there. Moreover, the short keys are aligned with the software industry standard.
As you can see from the following screenshot, there is additional functionality accessible here. There are play, pause, and step commands. We can also sign in and out of our Unity account:
The Edit | Project Settings option gives us access to Input, Tags and Layers, Audio, Time, Player, Physics, Physics 2D, Quality, Graphics, Network, Editor, and Script Execution Order. In most cases, selecting one of these options opens or focuses keyboard control to the specific functionality.
Assets are representations of things that we can use in our game. Examples include audio files, art files, and 3D models. There are several types of assets that can be used in Unity. As you can see from the following screenshot, we are able to create, import, and export assets:
You will become increasingly familiar with this collection of functionality as you progress through the book and start developing your game.
The GameObject menu provides us with the ability to create and manipulate GameObjects. In Unity, GameObjects are things we use in our game such as lights, cameras, 3D objects, trees, characters, cars, and so much more. As you can see here, we can create an empty GameObject as well as an empty child GameObject:
We will have extensive hands-on dealings with the GameObject menu items throughout this book. At this point, it is important that you know this is where you go to create GameObjects as well as perform some manipulations on them.
We know that GameObjects are just things. They actually only become meaningful when we add components to them. Components are an important concept in Unity, and we will be working with them a lot as we progress with our game’s development. It is the components that implement functionality for our GameObjects.
The following screenshot shows the various categories of components. This is one method for creating components in Unity:
The Window menu option provides access to a lot of extra features. As you can see here, there is a Minimize option that will minimize the main Unity editor window. The Zoom option toggles full screen and zoomed view:
The Layouts option provides access to various editor layouts, to save or delete a layout.
The following table provides a brief description of the remaining options available via the Window menu item. You will gain hands-on experience with these windows as you progress through this book:
Window OptionDescriptionServicesAccess to integrated services: Ads, Analytics, Cloud Build, Collaborate, Performance Reporting, In-App Purchasing, and Multiplayer.SceneBrings focus to the Scene view. Opens the window if not already open. Additional details are provided later in this chapter.GameBrings focus to the Game view. Opens the window if not already open. Additional details are provided later in this chapter.InspectorBrings focus to the Inspector window. Opens the window if not already open. Additional details are provided later in this chapter.HierarchyBrings focus to the Hierarchy window. Opens the window if not already open. Additional details are provided later in this chapter.ProjectBrings focus to the Project window. Opens the window if not already open. Additional details are provided later in this chapter.AnimationBrings focus to the Animation window. Opens the window if not already open.ProfilerBrings focus to the Profiler window. Opens the window if not already open.Audio MixerBrings focus to the Audio Mixer window. Opens the window if not already open.Asset StoreBrings focus to the Asset Store window. Opens the window if not already open.Version ControlUnity provides functionality for most popular version control systems.Collab HistoryIf you are using an integrated collaboration tool, you can access the history of changes to your project here.AnimatorBrings focus to the Animator window. Opens the window if not already open.Animator ParameterBrings focus to the Animator Parameter window. Opens the window if not already open.Sprite PackerBrings focus to the Sprite Packer window. Opens the window if not already open. In order to use this feature, you will need to enable Legacy Sprite Packing in Project Settings.ExperimentalBrings focus to the Experimental window. Opens the window if not already open. By default, the Look Dev experimental feature is available. Additional experimental features can be found in the Unity Asset Store.Test RunnerBrings focus to the Experimental window. Opens the window if not already open. This is a tool that runs tests on your code both in edit and play modes. Builds can also be tested.Timeline EditorBrings focus to the Timeline Editor window. Opens the window if not already open. This is a contextual menu item.LightingAccess to the Lighting window and the Light Explorer window.Occlusion CullingThis feature allows you to select and edit how objects are drawn. With occlusion culling, only the objects within the current camera’s visual range, and not obscured by other objects, are rendered.Frame DebuggerThis feature allows you to step through a game, one frame at a time, so you can see the draw calls on a given frame.NavigationUnity’s navigation system allows us to implement artificial intelligence with regards to non-player character movement
Physics DebuggerBrings focus to the Physics Debugger window. Opens the window if not already open. Here we can toggle several physics-related components to help debug physics in our games.ConsoleBrings focus to the Console window. Opens the window if not already open. The Console window shows warnings and errors. You can also output data here during gameplay, which is a common internal testing approach.
To summarize, we have discussed the Unity 2018 interface. If you are interested to know more about using Unity 2018 and want to leverage its powerful features, you may refer to the book Getting Started with Unity 2018.