Get started with Unity for game development
Gobbling up to 50% of the game engine market, most gamers and game developers have heard of Unity. Used for indie and triple-A titles, this engine has enjoyed worldwide popularity since its launch in 2005.
Unity’s success is due to its shallow learning curve and the wealth of resources that support it. But how do you start your first Unity project?
Programming in the Unity game engine
Programming is an essential feature of any game engine. Unity supports several development languages, including three main ones, each with their own advantages.
What programming languages work in Unity?
- External .NET DLLs (C++, C, etc.)
- Unit Visual Script
Native C# support
C# is the predominant language supported by Unity, and it’s what most developers use when working with the engine. C# is an easy-to-learn high-level programming language compared to options like C++.
Support for external .NET DLLs
Dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) are files that contain precompiled code. Unity supports DLLs written in .NET languages that it cannot compile itself, including C++ and C.
Also known as managed plug-ins in Unity, external DLLs allow game functionality to be created that would not work with C#. They also make it easier for developers to share code without providing the source.
Unit Visual Script
Visual scripts have taken the programming world by storm in recent years. The Unity visual script is an in-depth example of this type of system, giving developers considerable power.
Unity’s visual scripting system allows game creators to create their work without having to write code.
Downloading and installing Unity for creating games
Designed with convenience in mind, you can download and install Unity in minutes. Simply head to the Unity store and follow the steps below to start creating your first game.
How much does the unit cost?
Unity’s pricing system is one of its most popular features. Unless you’re teaming up with Unity, you can probably get your hands on the software for free.
- Students: Students can use Unity Teams Advanced for free with proof of qualifying education.
- Personal: People with funding or income below $100,000 in the last 12 months can use Unity for free.
- Teams: Large teams and high-income companies will need to pay to use Unity.
Unity game engine download
Once you’ve chosen the Unity pricing plan you’re going with, the site will redirect you to a page where you can download Unity. The Unity game engine is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Make sure the download button matches your operating system before pressing it.
This will download the Unity Hub installer.
Installing the unit
Now that you have the Unity Hub installer, you can begin the main installation process. You will need to read and accept the terms and conditions, then choose an install location for Unity.
Next, you need to launch the Unity Hub app and log in. You can choose to sign in or create a new account at this point.
Once you’re logged in, it’s finally time to install the Unity editor. Choose the correct file location for Unity and click the install button, accepting any admin prompts you see.
Installing Unity will take some time, but it gives you the chance to explore the Unity UI in the section below.
Creating a new Unity project
Finally, it’s time to create the project you’ll use with Unity. Go to the Projects section in Unity Hub and select New Project. You can choose from a range of templates on the next page, but we’ve stuck to the Core section to keep our project simple. You can choose a project name and file location before creating the project.
You’ll need to wait for Unity to load your new project before the Unity editor opens so you can get started.
Explore Unity’s Game Development UI
Launch the project you created to open the Unity editor. This will open a window that looks intimidating at first, but we’ve broken down each UI element below to make it easier for you. These items are mobile, but we’ve used their default locations to make them easier to find.
The Unity Project and Console tabs
Located at the bottom of the window, the Unity Project and Console tabs are two of the engine’s most important features.
The Project tab is a file explorer that contains all the files used for your game. You can create your own files and folders and integrate external files into your project. It’s always worth taking the time to create a smart file structure for your game.
The Console tab acts like the console found in most IDEs. Acting as a debugging tool, the console provides errors and warnings when code is running, making troubleshooting easier.
The Unit Hierarchy Tab
The Unity Hierarchy tab performs the same role as hierarchies in tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. This is a list containing all the objects in the current scene, with a format that shows the relationships between the objects.
The unit inspector
When you select a scene or object in the hierarchy, the Inspector panel displays the components that have been applied to it. This makes it very easy to edit or compare objects without looking at code. You can even edit variables in your code from the inspector.
The Unity Scene and Game Tabs
These next two parts of the Unity UI are arguably the most important.
The Scene tab displays a 3D or 2D space filled with objects from the hierarchy. You can select objects directly from the Stage, performing transformations without depending on the Inspector.
The Game tab is different. This tab only becomes active when you compile and run your game, acting as a way to play your game in real time without fully compiling it.
Adding other elements to your Unity UI
Besides these basic UI elements, you can add a huge range of additional tabs and panels. By clicking on the Window menu option, you can choose from a range of rendering, animation, and other tools to help you with your development project.
Get inspiration and help with Unity
The community surrounding Unity is the largest of any game engine. Experts and enthusiasts alike use this software to create games, leading to a wealth of documentation on the web.
The official Unity documentation is a great place to start. You can find information on just about every feature in Unity here, all written for beginners.
Along with official documents, Unity also operates a forum for users to help each other. No matter how complex or simple your question, someone will answer it quickly. This is one of the best things about Unity, which makes it perfect for new developers.
Game development with Unity
Unity is a great tool for beginner programmers to learn how to make games. With the help of online resources, you can quickly improve your skills and bring your ideas to life. Of course, this article will only get you started and you will have to do the rest.
Explanation of player movement in Unity: Rigidbody and Collider