Unity: Introduction

Setup and management

Many tools we use in this class are meant to be educational and designed with beginners in mind.
Unity is very accessible but it’s an actual game engine used for million-dollar commercial projects, so there are a few considerations and a few more things to keep in mind.

For this project you cannot use your laptop.

You will need a 3 button mouse, a big monitor, and a fast performing computer.

Unity projects can get very big, over 1 GB so you need an external hard drive to store your project and to bring it back home.

Samsung and LACIE are reliable manufacturers that produce rugged portable hard drives.
The minimum specifications are: USB 3.0, 7200rpm or SSD, 1TB of capacity.

External hard drives have to be formatted exFAT to be used on both Mac and PC

The external hard drive has to be connected to the USB ports marked SS on the lab PC.

You can and you should create the Unity projects directly on your external hard drive

You should regularly back up your Unity project. You can create a .zip of the asset folder and upload it to google Drive or Box

If you don’t create the project on the hard drive , Unity’s default location on the PC lab is
Open that location right now.
Since the folder is locally, it doesn’t have space limitations, but it will stay on that physical computer.
So you have to sit at the same computer.

Although it’s unlikely, computing services can’t guarantee that the C hard drive won’t be wiped out at any point during the semester. If not using a hard drive you should back up the project at the end of each class.

To back up or move a whole project you have to move the enclosing folder.

A project can take several minutes to copy because it has tons of files. You must wait until everything is copied or moved before you start working again.

To rename a project you have to close the project, rename the enclosing folder, and reopen it from the hub.

There is no “save as” in Unity, “save as” is just for scenes within a project.

There can be multiple scenes in a project. Sometimes scenes are in the Scene folder in assets.
Scenes have the Unity icon.
Scenes contain information about the arrangement of the objects, what you see on the hierarchy panel.

I will provide several templates as .unitypackage files, which are similar to like zip files.

Every time you import a package I will ask you to rename the scene and never work on something called “template” or “emptyScene” because reimporting the same package will overwrite the scene (there is a warning that students often ignore).

Assets that are imported in Unity are copied in the asset folder, they are not linked. The original downloads in the download folder can be deleted.

Unity allows you to edit a scene in play mode. All the changes will be reverted when switching back to edit mode. This is a great feature of the engine but it’s a tragedy for beginners.
This is 100% certain: some students will edit their scene in play mode and then lose all their work.
One way to minimize this risk is to go to Edit > preferences > colors> playmode tint and change the color to RED so you know you can’t change things when the interface is all red.

Pausing with the pause button doesn’t exit play mode. You have to click on the play button again to exit.

Common issues

Skim these common problems, come back to this session to troubleshoot your project.

You may open a project and not see your work, just because it’s not opening the right scene open. Check all the scenes, also in the “Scenes” folder.

If everything looks white is probably because you are searching for things in the hierarchy.

If everything looks flat is probably because you accidentally click on the isometric toggle under the gizmo on the top right.

If you can’t see the interface it may be because you accidentally click on buttons on the top right of the scene panel disabling skybox, gizmos etc.

Objects can be hidden and locked from the hierarchy in edit mode. These objects will be visible in play mode.

The Game panel has a cursed default setting “low resolution aspect ratio” that will make their views tiny. Uncheck that and select Full HD. 

If you hit play and the camera doesn’t move it may be because a camera from an imported model took over the player one,
Click on the asset in the project panel > inspector > model > uncheck import camera

If your scene looks suddenly overexposed it may be because there are extra lights from an imported model
Click on the assets in the project panel > inspector > model > uncheck import camera.

If you want to edit scripts you have to use Visual Studio or Visual Studio Code. The set up is not automatic:
Preferences > External Tools > Browse > Wherever the hell VS Code is hidden.

Unity Overview