SOVEREIGN MOON PRESENTS…
Unity Keyboard Shortcuts & Hotkeys For Beginners
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to quickly navigate around Unity using keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys.
Unity Keyboard Shortcuts & Hotkeys For Beginners
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 development. 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!
Hi and welcome back to our sci-fi no-code game development series. In this tutorial we’re going to learn how to navigate around a 3 dimensional space within Unity. This is important, because you want to be able to build your world as quickly as possible. However, 3D environments can get big and complex quickly, so it’s important that you can jump from one place within your world to another section quickly, and then once there, effortlessly maneuver around objects within your scene. Understanding Unity’s interface will help you speed up your game development time dramatically.
So let’s first explore three ways to move through a scene when we have our scene tab selected.
You can simply use the arrows on your keypad to move around your scene. You can move left and right easily and to move forwards or backwards you simply need to point your camera in the direction you want to go by holding down your right mouse button, pointing yourself in your desired direction and then using the up and down arrow keys to move in that direction. The arrow keys already provide a fast way to move from one part of your scene to another, but if you want to move even faster, you can hold down the shift key while pressing an arrow key to increase your movement speed even further.
The hand tool
You’ll be doing a lot of your scene movement with your hand tool selected. You can always use the Q key as your keyboard shortcut to automatically select the hand tool. Similarly, the hand tool automatically becomes selected when you hold down your right mouse button. So with your right mouse button held down you can move your mouse around to change your perspective. However, notice using this method we’re just able to pivot on our center point. What if we wanted to move?
Well we could Hold down alt and then right click while moving our mouse to zoom in and out.
Or we could hold down ALT while left clicking and then moving our mouse to orbit around the object that you currently have selected.
The third way to navigate around a scene is in flythrough mode. Flythrough mode will be familiar to you because you already use the WASD keys to navigate through your world when you’re in game mode. Now in Scene view you can do the same. All you need to do is hold down the right mouse button and then use the WASD keys to move around the world. With the right mouse button held down, The Q and E keys can be used to move your position up and down and of course you can pivot during the movement by simply moving your mouse.
Other Handy Keyboard Shortcuts
Here are some other handy keyboard shortcuts to help you quickly select options within the Unity interface and navigate around your scene.
First, The Q,W,E,R keys conveniently correspond to the previously mentioned selection tools in the upper left section of the interface.
Q selects the hand tool
W selects the move tool
E selects the rotate tool
R selects the scale tool
Second, if you want to focus on an object, you can select that object in your scene view and then hit F on your keyboard.
The F key shortcut is a great shortcut to use when the object you want to see or edit is in your scene view. However once your world starts getting larger, you might want to focus on objects in totally different parts of your game world. So a great way to focus on distant objects is to find the object in your hierarchy window and then double clicking on the object to warp to it.
Play & Pause Game
Whenever you’re ready to test your game, of course you can click this play button or you can always hit control P. If you’re on a mac, you’ll need to hit command P.
Next, to Pause your game on windows you can hit control shift p.
On a mac you can hit cmd shift p.
In some cases, after taking this action you might be brought back to your ‘scene’ tab. If that happens, just click back onto your game tab and you’ll see your game has been paused.
I use the pause feature regularly because you can’t actually make edits to your game while in play mode. This means that you’ll often make a change in edit mode and then have to jump over to play mode to see how your change will really look and then keep jumping back and forth until you get the look you want.
For example, notice I have a planet outside of this window. Now, of course in scene mode I can edit this plant, change its shape and alignment, even change the material…. But I can’t see how it’s lining up from my character’s perspective and I can’t see how the material looks through the glass window. So notice in scene edit mode I might find a material I like, but when I play the game I can’t really see the detailed planet textures with my character at this distance while looking through a glass material. What most people do is they audition different materials one by one, jumping back and forth between scene and game modes. This is a really inefficient workflow.
Instead you can use this pause function while in game mode and then place your character in the part of your scene you want to edit, pause your game, jump m over to the scene edit tab and then make your changes there. For example, now notice how I can quickly audition as many planet materials as I want and I can see my changes will look from my character’s perspective.
However, there is one really important thing you need to keep in mind when you take this approach, Unity won’t save the changes that you make while in game mode. So in this example, once I find the material I want, I’ll need to remember the material name, exit play mode, jump over to edit mode and then change the material from there.
So in a nutshell that’s the pause feature and its importance.
Duplicating / Copying Objects
Another thing we’ll be doing a lot in this tutorial series is duplicating objects. For example, look at the walls within my scene. There is no reason for me to create two different walls when they are just clones of each other. Instead, I can select my object and then on Windows click control C to copy and control V to paste. On a mac I can hit command C to copy and command V to pate. After you’ve copied an object, you simply need to drag it over to be able to see it. From here you can position it within your world where you want it.
Also, if you ever add anything to the scene that you don’t like, you can always remove it by selecting the object and then hitting the delete key on your keyboard.
Or, if you want to keep your object, but you want to undo your last modification, you can always click on Control Z on windows or command Z on a Mac.
One last feature of the interface that you’ll find yourself using a lot during this tutorial series is the axis navigation tool. You can perfectly align your perspective along any axis by using this axis rotation tool. Notice as I right click and change my perspective you’ll see the axis change here. Now, if you need to align an object with precision you might need to align your perspective along one of the axes. For example, look at what happens when I click on the Y axis here. Notice I’m taken to a perfect top level aerial overview of my scene. This view will make it much easier for me to make precision adjustments.
Now, of course, there are many more shortcuts you could learn, but these are the most common shortcuts you’ll use in your early days.
And most importantly, don’t be discouraged that you won’t have a handle on this navigation system right away. There will be times when you’re trying to zoom, but you’ll pan, times when you try to move up, but you find yourself orbiting an object. This is natural and happens to everyone. It takes some time and practice before these controls get baked into your muscle memory. So have patience with yourself. With time, you will master these controls.
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 where we teach you how to use 3D Game Kit to make breathtaking 3D games (without code). 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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