So once you have created your first unity project you will be greeted with this editor screen (after a bit of loading)….
Its ok… but we can do better… Let’s customise our workspace a little, to get the most out of our screen real estate…
Customising your Editor…
- Let’s start by changing the layout… Goto Windows > Layouts > 2 by 3
This sets up the basis…
- Pull down the Projects tab under the Hierarchy
- Push the Hierarchy/Project tabs to make space for the Scene and Game window… This gives you freedom to debug your application without the need to switch between Scene and Game windows.
- Change the Project tab layout to One Column… use Two Column Layout if you prefer big icons over peripheral vision…
- Let’s make sure you don’t lose progress by working in Playmode…
Goto: Unity > Preferences > Colors > Playmode Tint
Set the colour you would like to be overlayed on the screen when you are in Playmode… this makes sure you have a visual difference between the Editmode and Playmode of your editor.
I’m sure you are itching by now to know “What in the world is this play and edit mode you keep talking about?”, well if you haven’t already figured out, Playmode is the state of the editor you get when you play your Game (Application)… It’s a temporary state in which you play and test your app without making a build, you can also use applications like Unity Remote while developing for android to run the application on your mobile device through the Playmode. Note, any changes made in the editor/inspector during Playmode will NOT be retained, only changes made to files will be retained… Thus the need for a visual contrast between the two modes.
Editmode is the default state of the editor which is when you aren’t playing the application and just editing and setting up.
Let’s talk Tabs..
There are 5 Major Tabs/Windows in the unity editor by default… More can be added and things can be dragged around as needed… If you follow the numbering on the above image they correspond to:
1. Scene View
2. Game View
4. Project Window
This is your 3D workspace (Even if you are making a 2D Game). This is where you add the 3D, 2D objects, your audio and videos, UI and effects, Particle Systems and Forcefields, Lights Camera, and Action!… “Wait… What?” :P
You can use the scene view to add, place, rotate and edit GameObjects(GOs) (GameObjects are the fundamental objects in unity they can be anything the lights, the characters the obstacles, and everything that’s in the scene view is a GameObject… By themselves GameObjects aren’t much more than place holders and containers for Components, it’s the components that provide properties and behaviour to the GameObjects).
This is the preview for what the user would see, and also your play window when you enter Playmode. This is mostly used to test the game.
The Hierarchy gives you the list of all the GameObjects(GOs) in the Scene (Scenes are a collection of GameObjects which form like a Level in a video game or a Page/Window in your application or maybe a whole Application or part of a single page. GOs can be grouped into families, to provide logical separation as per your needs. The objects are saved in to the scene files and can be loaded additively. The only caveat is data transfer among scenes is a pain so separate wisely…)
…wait where were we? Hierarchy… oh yeah… It helps organise the objects in a hierarchical tree like structure which lets form parent child relations to share component properties and behaviours between objects. We will look into these interactions in depth in later parts.
This is your window to view and manage your files. This gives you a better understanding of your Files Structure. You can drag files from your Finder/File Explorer directly into the Project window to add them.
The provides details of GameObjects, Components and Files. It gives you a handy way to view the Components attached to a GameObject the values of their properties and lets you tweak them. The values can also be changed and viewed in this window during Playmode.
Apart from these we have the console. You will soon meet this window when we get into scripting but it can be found in Windows > General > Console if you are so inclined. It provides the different kinds of logs (Info/Warning/Error). A minimised version of the console can be found just underneath the Game View, it’s interactable if you have any logs.
With the boring bits out of the way… and knowledge of the editor we are almost ready to embark on the journey… :)
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