Unity Dev: Editor Layout and the Death of Your Screen Real Estate
So you’ve installed Unity and now you wanna get crackin’. I can definitely understand that. Once you’ve created a new project, your shiny new Unity editor is gonna pop open and you’re gonna see… well, a lot of empty space, if I’m being honest. Don’t worry though! That boundless horizon is just the potential of your game. I’ll go through what you see by default briefly. Don’t be afraid if you don’t understand some of the terminology yet, we’ll get there!
1: This panel is your Scene Hierarchy. In it, you’ll find a list of all the Game Objects that exist in the current Scene that you’re working on. This includes things like the Player object you’ll eventually create
2: Scene View — This is, in short, where you put the bits and pieces of your game into existence. It contains a visual reference of all the Game Objects in the scene including Cameras, Light Sources, and any other Game Objects.
By default, this space also has tabs for Game View and the Asset Store. The Game View shows you your game as perceived from your active Camera object. It’s also where you’ll be able to play test your game as you go along. The Asset Store will link you to Unity’s store front allowing you to purchase art and models for your game! Pretty handy resource if you aren’t able to create them yourself!
3: Inspector — This panel will show you details about your currently selected Game Object. Here you can see which Components are being applied to any given object in your scene, providing you with references and data you’ll need when you finally get to coding!
4: Project — Here’s where all your meticulously crafted (or purchased) assets, code files, and well… basically everything you have available to add to your game, you’ll find it here. This panel also has a tab for the Console, which is where you’re going to want to look whenever it seems like something has gone horribly wrong during development. I look here often.
Now… these are the defaults of the Unity editor. In the next screenshot, you can see my preferred layout, which I’ve saved using the right most dropdown along the top of the editor (just below the close button for Unity if you’re on Windows). You can set up as many editor layouts as you like! I haven’t run into this situation yet, but depending on the type of game you’re making or which aspect of the game you’re working on, you might prefer to have a different set of windows up at a given time. A developer might have a completely different set of windows on display than a level designer.
And yeah, there’s a lot of possible windows you can have open with all sorts of different information and functionality. The best way to discover what they do is to open them up and click around blindly! Unity’s “Window” menu will give you access to everything you could potentially open up.
I personally like to be able to view the scene editor and the Game view at the same time as I’m going along. Coupled with a few simple reorganizations of the existing windows, I found a setup that works for me.
I hope you’ve got a lot of screen real estate. We haven’t even opened up our IDE yet!