Unity is the most widely used game engine, with its uses spanning dozens of fields, from film and animation to indie games! United we rise!
We’ve compiled a list of lesser-known Unity features that are sure to leave you amazed (or at least prove helpful to your cause). Most veterans of Unity probably know these features, but for newbies, this might just save their day. Let’s uncover the secrets of Unity!
Inspector Debug Mode
We really cannot describe this in words since the Debug Inspector changes with whatever you selected. So just imagine the normal inspector with superpowers (just kidding! It DOES NOT give a cop super powers), it does however grant you a bit more freedom over how you use the inspector (to use the inspector in Debug mode, right click on the inspector tab’s label and in the context menu select “Debug”). For example, take the Vehicle Physics pack: RCC. Here’s how a car looks in the normal inspector:
Here’s how the same car looks in the debug inspector:
Pretty cool, huh? You can even edit the torque curves this way (and I swear; you can’t change curves in the normal inspector!)
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just checkout the screenshots below
As you can see, debug mode unveils quite some settings that weren’t shown or weren’t allowed to change in the normal inspector. Nevertheless, do note that there’s a reason it’s called “Debug”, it’s meant to be used by experienced users. So take care when changing anything in the debug inspector (change it back to normal mode after you’re done exploring). Keep in mind that the amount of options vary depending on what the component is (some may have hundreds of hidden switched, while others will have a few).
Some folk don’t know the first thing about coding when they start using Unity. And, as the time goes by, they either get used to coding or find it to be an even bigger pain in the ass. One might find oneself attracted to the visual scripting style seen in competing engines (namely, Epic Games’ Unreal Engine). What if we told you how you could write (or draw when you put it that way) code using a node graph right inside of Unity! Wouldn’t that be just dandy? Introducing “Bolt” the only visual scripting solution that for Unity, that actually works. Make your game design dreams come true as you use Bolt and design games without writing a single line of code! But something like Bolt don’t come free, it’ll set you back $$$. So carefully weigh your options (Learning to code or buy Bolt? Hmm…) before you open your wallet (or e-wallet or whatever it is).
Asset Store Backups
This is something most people find out within the first few days of using Unity: that all the Assets you purchase (or download free) are stored at some location on your PC.
“%AppData%UnityAsset Store-5.x” - for Windows users
”~/Library/Unity/Asset Store” - for macOS users
If you’re running out of space on your primary drive or you just wanna back up your assets, simply move them to wherever you like. To import one of those backed up (or even a package still at the default location), click on “Assets > Import Package > Custom Package” from within the Unity editor. This method can essentially be used to import assets you’ve downloaded when you’re offline.
This should also clear the Unity myth (it was a myth back when Unity was in its infancy) that Unity re-downloads assets each time you click “Import” in the asset store.
Unity Package Manager
This is also something quite a lot of people are having trouble with. Unity began to move most of Unity’s own content available in the asset store to the elusive (check the comments on this Unity package to see what I mean) “Package Manager”. It can be accessed by going to “Window > Package Manager”. To show packages that are still in beta stages (Unity recorder, Immediate window, Adaptive Performance (by Samsung), Tiny mode, Vector graphic support, Burst compiler and hybrid renderer to name a few), click “Advanced > Show Preview Packages”.
Ever wondered how hard it is to render animated films and stuff? How life must be for the producers and directors who must wait for months to see their ideas come to life? How much time render farms (I didn’t make that up. Those are real!) take to render one frame (worst-case scenario: it takes a few hours to render one frame. I kid you not)? Now imagine renders taking seconds instead of hours and watching a minor edit come to life before your very eyes. That’s what it feels to use a real-time rendering engine like Unity. There are films made with Unity and they look every-bit visually entertaining as their render-farm counterparts (links below).
If you would like to direct a film (of your own making), get the Unity recorder (form the package manager) and the “Cinemachine” (also from the package manager). You can use the Unity recorder to, well…. record what’s happening on the Game tab in the Unity Editor at any resolution (up to 8K, if your PC can handle that!). Get ready to be superstars!