Organization is a key element of success. Is it absolutely necessary? no, nope, not at all. Just ask my computer desk. However, every time we start a new endeavor we have an opportunity to start things the right way — in a nice, clean and organized fashion and we should always do our best to keep it that way.
To that end, this is what I’ve done to organize my Editor in Unity3d in order to create a more productive environment.
The Unity Editor is highly customizable. You can open new editor windows and rearrange them to your heart’s content. This, however, can lead to a cluttered mess, cramped screen real estate and confusion during game design. While there are many useful windows and tabs, I will concentrate on the essential ones I used to set up my work space.
We can start by having a look at the full editor window. This configuration is the default setup you should see when you first open Unity. I have color-coded each section for easy referencing.
As you can see it is composed of windows and tabs. Tabs allow for window space to be shared displaying the selected tab in that space. I will break them down one at a time:
The Hierarchy Window
First on our list is the Hierarchy. This window holds a structured list of all the items that are currently in the scene. In this new project we can see that Unity has automatically added our Main Camera and a Directional Light. As scenes become more and more complex, the list of items will become much longer. It therefore makes sense that this window be afforded a vertical space.
The Scene View
Currently the Scene view shares a space in our editor with the Game window. If you look on the top left, you will see both tabs that can be accessed by clicking on them.
The Scene view is where will will do the greatest portion of our game editing. We can navigate our game’s virtual space by moving, rotating and zooming our view as needed.
The Game Window
By clicking on the GAME tab we can switch over to the Game view. In this window we can test our game from the point of view of our camera. Unlike the scene view, the only way to navigate this space is by activating play mode and having the necessary scripts and components to create player movement. This window will be automatically made the focus of the editor when we enter play mode.
Arguably the most important window in the editor. The Inspector window, as the name suggests, displays all the information pertaining to a selected object in our Scene or Assets folder. It will show us all of the components that the object has and give us access to their values. Since this list can often become quite extensive, it too requires more vertical real estate to maximize our productivity.
The Project Window
The Project window is essentially our file explorer. It contains all of our project assets and packages in the same folder structure you might find if you navigate to your project folder in your windows explorer.
The Console Window
The Console window will provide us with essential information during gameplay. We can debug our code or find information regarding any errors the compiler might encounter.
Now that we’ve seen the basics, its important to note that every window can be popped-out, moved and nested in or between other windows. The entire Editor layout can be rearranged to your liking and you can find, load and save your presets in the Layout dropdown in the upper right.
To move a window all we have to do is click and drag on a TAB. The windows will then find places where they can be docked. Either in another window as a tab, or in between them.
With this behavior in mind, my final editor layout has been modified to look like this:
- I have split the largest portion of the editor between my Scene view and my Game view. This way I can edit my scene and keep an eye on what my camera sees.
- I have docked my Console in the same window as the Scene view. This is so that I can switch over to it during gameplay should I need to check on anything.
- Likewise, I have opened 2 more tabs by going into
Window > Animationand selected both the Animation window and the Animator window. I have nested them in my Game view because most of the time I wont need to access them while testing out my game. The
Windowmenu has all the windows that are available to use in your editor.
- The Hierarchy now sits to the right of my Scene view. This provides a much nicer way to interact with the Inspector as we select items in our scene.
- Below it, I have my Project window. I have nested 2 of them side by side as navigation can sometimes require it. but this is just my personal preference. By clicking on the menu icon (3 dots) of the window header, we can select a single column outline for our view.
- Lastly our Inspector window sits on the far right. When we select items in our Project or Scene view, we can have direct access to them in a more constructive fashion.
A few useful tips in closing
- You can open new tabs by clicking the three dots on the header of any window. The most common ones will be available to you there.
- You can pop windows out and have them float anywhere in your editor.
- You can use the command:
Shift-Spaceto maximize any window to full screen. using the command again will reset it to its docked position.
- You can save and load layouts from the drop down menu on the top right of your editor. this can be useful for creating workspaces that suit your project’s needs.
And there you have it. You now have the ability to change your workspace at will. This is no small matter and I promise it will help you out in the long run.