SOVEREIGN MOON PRESENTS…
Unity Interface Tutorial For Absolute Beginners
After going through this tutorial, you’ll be a pro at navigating around Unity’s interface. In this video tutorial we’ll teach how to use each section of the UI!
Understanding Unity’s Interface: A Beginners Tutorial
Today, Sovereign Moon Studios, the makers of your favorite NoCode game development course, are excited to bring you a FREE lite version of our course to help introduce you to the world of NoCode game making. This is the first part of a ten part video series where we’ll walk you through the steps necessary to make a video game without having to know how to code, draw or animate.
Let’s jump in!
In this tutorial we’re going to get you familiar with Unity’s interface.
So let’s jump in and start exploring the different parts of the Unity interface window by window.
To begin, let’s take a look at the first 4 object selection tools in the upper left corner. We’re going to focus on only the first 4 tools as you’ll use them the most. Here you’ll see the hand tool, move tool, rotate tool and scaling tool.
Let’s first look at the hand tool. In a nutshell, the hand tool helps you change your perspective with the scene. You can either select the hand tool with your mouse, hit Q on your keyboard, or simply hold down the right mouse button to select the hand tool. For example, if I click on the move tool, but then hold down my right mouse button, my hand tool automatically becomes highlighted. With the right mouse button held down, I can now change my perspective within the scene.
However, notice that with the hand tool selected, I can’t select any objects within my scene view. To select objects I’ll need to use one of my other object modification tools. So let’s look at those object modification tools now.
Object Movement & Manipulation Tools
First, we have the move tool. If you select an object in the scene view and then select the “move tool” you’ll see a series of handles which correspond to the objects X,Y and Z position. By left clicking and holding and dragging any of these handles I can move the object along a specific axis. For example, I can move it along the y axis, x axis or z axis like this. If you select the object’s center point you free it from being locked on an axis, and you can move it freely through 3D space.
Nextx, with the same object selected, you can click on the rotation tool. The rotation tool will allow you to rotate an object on any axis. You simply grab the object on any of the object’s rotation angles and you can rotate the object along that specific axis.
Lastly, we’ll look at the scale tool. Again, with the object selected, click on the scale tool. By selecting and holding the center point of the object and then moving your mouse in our out, you’ll be able to change the scale of the object. Or you can grab any of the angles and scale the object along a specific axis. For example I can scale the object along the y axis like.
Now, let’s move on and look at the other sections of the interface.
The Hierarchy Window
Over to the left, we have our hierarchy window. In this section, we are able to view all of the different elements within our scene. So for example, if I’m on my scene tab and I’ve selected my move tool and then I select an object within my scene, that object will also get highlighted within my hierarchy window. For example, notice what happens when I select my glowing cube, or or my floor, or my wall. Notice in the my hierarchy window, the object selected is being highlighted over there as well.
It’s also important to note that you can search through yoru hierarchy of objects. You’ll use this search tool a lot and it’s particularly useful for larger, more complex game worlds. For example, on the other side of my game world I have a planet that I might want to edit. Now I could navigate there manually and try to find the object in my 3D environment, which is the slow way of doing it. Or I could search for the object in my hierarchy section and then click it once to pull up the properties of this object over in my inspector tab, or click it twice to navigate to the object.
Now keep in mind that elements within your hierarchy section are scene dependent. So if I was to create a new scene, the objects that i’ve placed in my current scene, would not be transferred into the hierarchy section of my new scene.
The Project Tab
Now for global assets that can be used in any scene we need to go down and look at our project tab. In this section we can find game assets that are part of our game, but might not yet be in our scene.
For example, Let’s head over to our dropship. Now let’s imagine we want to place a pillar into this scene. Currently if I search my hierarchy pillar, there will be no results found because currently there are no pillars within this scene. But if I navigate to the project section, expand my 3D game kit folder, then look for and expand pre-fabs and then expand my environment folder and look under structures I’ll find a game object I can use named pillar. I can simply drag and drop that pillar into my scene and when I do that, the object will now be added to my hierarchy. Notice when I search for “pillar” now, this new object will now show up.
Keep in mind that like the hierarchy window, you can also search for objects in the project window. For example, rather than navigating through my folder structure, I could have just as easily searched for “pillar” using the search bar here:
The Console Tab
Moving on now to the console tab. The console section allows you to monitor your game for any bugs, errors or technical issues. So if your game is failing and you need to know why, you can always come to the console section to read the error message which will explain what needs to be done in order to fix the issue.
Scene, Game & Asset Store Windows
Now let’s move into the center of the interface. This is where you’ll spend the majority of your time. Here by default you will likely see a “scene”, “asset store” and “game” tab.
The scene tab is where you will do all of your scene editing. For example, notice that with the move tool selected I can select this object and move it around by grabbing and moving its handles. However, if I were to select ‘game” mode I would not be able to select or edit any objects in my field of view.
If I click on the “game” tab I’ll be able to play my game. While on the game tab, if I were to click the play button, the game I’ve designed so far would be launched. Being able to play my game allows me to test my world to ensure all of my no-code programming is working and my world is rendering the way I want it to look.I can simply click on escape on my keyboard or click on the play button a second time to exit the game view.
Lastly, the asset store tab allows me to download and import assets from directly within unity. For example, all of these metal materials you see within the game now I downloaded and imported from unity by clicking on the asset store tab.
Let me give you an example. After clicking on the asset store tab, I’ll search for “metal materials” and then change my price range from zero to zero. Then I’ll hit search again to update the results to only show free assets.
And now notice only free metal materials will show up. Here’s one I like so I’ll click that. Now, when I download and import these materials, they will show up in my project folder down here under the folder “metal textures pack”. Now, we’ll talk about materials in an upcoming tutorial, but I just want to quickly show you how easy it is to use newly imported materials in your game world. For example, Imagine I wanted to change my dropship’s landing pad texture to one of my new metal materials. I could simply find the material I want (metal material 25), preview it over in the material preview box and then simply drag and drop it onto the object I want to apply it to.
So in a nutshell, that’s how the asset store tab works.
The Inspector Tab
Now lastly, let’s go check out the inspector tab. Essentially, the inspector tab gives you a granular look at any selected object’s properties and attributes. Again, you can select an object from either your scene view, your hierarchy tab or even your project window. Once you select an object, that object’s properties will show up.
Let me show you some examples
Notice, If I search for my dropship under my hierarchy I can change its size by looking under the transform section and simply increasing the values under scale.
Or let’s imagine that we want to change the material of the landing page that the dropship is on top of. Again, with the move tool selected, we could select the landing pad and the landing pads properties will show up in the inspector section. For example, under materials, it’s showing us the material we previously added to this object.
We can also add additional components to an object from our inspector tab to extend its functionality. For example, let’s add a basic shape to our world. We’ll rename it to test cube under the inspector tab.
Now let’s play our game. Notice I can walk through this object. Essentially, I need to program this object with a collider so my character is unable to walk through it. . with my object selected, In my inspector tab I can click on “add component” and search for the box collider component. Now, with this component added, a collision box will be placed around my object. And when I play my game, my player will no longer be able to walk through this object.
At this point in the series, you don’t’ need to worry about object collision or even adding components. I’m only showing you this, to give you a zoomed out top level overview so you understand what the inspector tab is for and how you can use it to modify game objects.
So that’s all I have for you for this tutorial.
I’ll provide a link to the next tutorial in the description below.
Also, below you’ll find a link to our more comprehensive space and sci-fi game development course, so make sure you visit and bookmark that page for future reference if you want to take your sci-fi game making skills to the next level.
I’ll see you over in the next tutorial.
Sovereign Moon Studios is dedicated to helping game enthusiasts bring their creative visions to life without having to know how to code or draw. Our NoCode game development course teaches indie game devs how to build breathtaking games from scratch.
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