Unity — The way you like it!

When you first start out using Unity it can be a little overwhelming but don't worry let's go over it together.

Let's quickly look at a few of the windows you will be using. Afterward, we look at some ways you can set these up in order to maximize your workflow.

When you open up Unity for the first time you are greeted with the default Unity Layout. It is made up of an assortment of screens that all serve their own purpose.

Default Unity Layout

Let's go over the most important ones quickly so you are familiar with what they all do.

On the left you see the “Hierarchy” Window, this window is a list that contains all the objects that you are working on within the current Scene. if you are looking for a specific one you can use the search function on the top to quickly find these objects.

Next, we have the window in the middle this contains the “Scene”, “Game” and “Asset Store” tabs. You can click on these tabs to go through them or click and drag to detach the view and move it around but more on that later.

The “Scene” window is the main environment you will be building your game in. This is where you add and manipulate all the components that are part of your game.

There are a few ways to manipulate your objects like move, scale, rotate and rect. Play around with these until you feel familiar with how they work.

Manipulating Objects in the Scene window

Notice that if you select any object from either the “Hierarchy” or the “Scene” window the “Inspector” window to the right will come alive and display all the properties and components attached to the selected object.

We will dive deeper into the individual components at a later time but for now, just note that all these components have values that you can edit straight from the editor or later through code. The content of this window is specific to the object that you currently have selected.

Next up is the “Game” window this is the view that the person playing your game is will actually see on their screen. This is what is rendered by the camera object in your Scene so when the camera moves so will the game view.

A small note is that you can change the display, Aspect ratio, and scale on the top of the screen, more about that later.

The controls on the top allow you to start and pause your game. Once you start your game using the Play button on the top your game will come to life, by default your “Game” window will maximize and all the scripts and effects that are active in your game will start executing in the way you set it up.

You can also pause the game by using the pause button.
Do keep in mind that any values you change while the game is in that PLAY state WILL NOT BE SAVED UPON EXITING!

The last window we will go over is the “Project” window. You can see this as the file explorer on your PC, this window holds all the components you have to your disposal while developing your project.

This includes things like Gameobjects, Prefabs, Audio files, Animations, Scripts, and many more. You can sort these by creating folders and nesting your components in there to keep it all nice and sorted.

We will go a bit deeper into this subject and common conventions in a future post.

Project window

Now that we are familiar with some of the basic screens you will be working with let's take a moment to go over some layouts that I like to work with.

Please note that this is highly dependent on your personal preferences, screen real estate, and the task that you are performing for example a level designer will use a different layout than for instance a coder since they all work with different components and features.

Nevertheless, one of the layouts that is good to start off with is what you would call “Professional Layout” first you select the Tall layout from the layouts then you detach the “Game” screen by drawing it to the bottom and make it the same size as the scene screen by dragging and resizing the view. this will give you the option to instantly see the changes you are making in the Scene on the Game window. This gives you a nice and clear overview of all windows you need on 1 screen.

Setting up the Professional Layout

Lastly, make sure to save your layout so you can easily switch to it in the future simple as that!

If you do have multiple screens I personally advise going even one step further and arrange the windows over multiple screens. I like to keep the windows related to building the scene on my middle screen while having the Game window on the right screen and my IDE on the left. In the end, it all comes down to what you feel most comfortable with so don't be afraid to play around with it a bit and adapt to the task you are performing.

Thank you for taking the time to go through this article. We will go into some of these concepts more in the coming weeks but for now.

I wish you a good day and lots of fun while taking your project to the next level one step at a time!