Tip of the day

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November 2015

  • Tip #88 – Show In Explorer

If you need your editor scripts to have the same functionality as “Assets->Show In Explorer” check out the cross platform method EditorUtility.RevealInFinder. This method is currently undocumented in Unity 5.2.1.

  • Tip #87 – Proper handling of EditorWindow close and recompile events

When writing editor scripts involving EditorWindow’s it is often important to initialize and cleanup your code when the window is shown and hidden. Specifically it is important to differentiate between the OnDisable and OnDestroy methods if you need to perform some kind of cleanup before the window is closed or disposed of. OnDestroy is called when the user closes the window, where as OnDisable is called after unity recompiles scripts. Think of the OnDestroy method as a close event for the window but the window still resides in memory, where the OnDisable method signals that the window is about to be unloaded from memory such as during a script recompile.

This differentiation is important when you need to save data to disk before the window is destroyed during a recompile. OnDestroy will not get called during recompile only OnDisable does. The OnEnable method is typically intended as a initialization method where you can load data related to the window.

I only wish the Unity team had made these methods more descriptive ala .NET window forms naming scheme. OnDestroy & OnDisable are not the most descriptive for what they do as well as being somewhat similar in spelling. But I digress.

October 2015

  • Tip #86 – Environment.GetFolderPath for mac and windows

When compiling your Unity games & applications to different platforms, there may be times when you need to get the location of special folder locations on the system that your app is running on.

The Environment.GetFolderPath method can be use to retrieve those specific folder locations. Below is a list of folder locations for both Windows 7 and Mac OS X. The source of this information is available here along with code examples.


Desktop (0)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname/Desktop
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\Desktop

Programs (2)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Personal (5)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\Documents

MyDocuments (5)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\Documents

Favorites (6)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname/Library/Favorites
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\Favorites

Startup (7)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup

Recent (8)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent

SendTo (9)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo

StartMenu (11)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

MyMusic (13)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname/Music
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\Music

DesktopDirectory (16)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname/Desktop
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\Desktop

MyComputer (17)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 n/a

Templates (21)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname/Templates
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Templates

ApplicationData (26)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname/.config
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming

LocalApplicationData (28)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/username/.local/share (inside unity)
/Applications/Unity/MonoDevelop.app/Contents/MacOS/../Frameworks/Mono.framework/Versions/Current/share
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Local

InternetCache (32)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname/Library/Caches
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files

Cookies (33)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies

History (34)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\History

CommonApplicationData (35)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /usr/share
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\ProgramData

System (37)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Windows\system32

ProgramFiles (38)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Applications
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Program Files
or C:\Program Files (x86)

MyPictures (39)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) /Users/yourname/Pictures
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Users\yourname\Pictures

CommonProgramFiles (43)
Apple.gif Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) n/a
Windows7.gif Windows 7 C:\Program Files\Common Files
or C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files

July 2015

  • Tip #85 – Disallow Multiple Components Attribute

If you are writing custom scripts there may be situations where you don’t want the same component added more then once to a game object. For such situations Unity provides the DisallowMultipleComponent attribute that you can specify in your scripts code.

May 2015

  • Tip #84 – Don’t just show errors alert them

It’s not something people think about these days. Back in the 90’s when MS-DOS was king, alerting the user to a problem involved both a visual alert as well as a auditory alert in the form of a “beep”. It’s actually something I miss from those days. Luckily the unity editor has an API to alert the user and wouldn't you know it, it’s called “Beep”!

April 2015

  • Tip #83 – Detect when unity compiles scripts *Redux*

If you are developing unity editor extensions often it is necessary to know weather or not unity is compiling the projects scripts. To determine if unity is currently compiling you can simply check the EditorApplication.isCompiling flag in your code before deciding what to do. See older related tip #64 from April 2013.

  • Tip #82 – Enhancing the Project and Hierarchy windows

ProjectAndHierarchyEnhancements.png

Unity provides hooks into the Project and Hierarchy windows OnGui event. This allows you to add additional flair to these windows. To learn how to enhance these windows see the fallowing documentation pages

If you want an example project to work off of and learn from there is an open source project called “UnityEditorEnhancements” that you can download as a zip file or you can fork the Mercurial repository.

  • Tip #81 – Per-Camera Fog

The fallowing script allows you to control fog settings on a per camera basis, allowing you to use say green fog for one camera but red fog for another camera.

Unity 5 package demo is available here
CameraFog.unitypackage (46.66 kb)
File:CameraFog.zip
See related page CameraFog

CameraFogScreenShot.png

CameraFog.cs script code

 
    using UnityEngine;
 
    /// <summary>
    /// Modifies a camera to allows you to control the fog settings for that camera separately from the global scene fog or other cameras. 
    /// </summary>
    [RequireComponent(typeof(Camera))]
    [ExecuteInEditMode]
    public class CameraFog : MonoBehaviour
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// The enabled state weather or not fog will be visible.
        /// </summary>
        public bool Enabled;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// The start distance from the camera where the fog will be drawn.
        /// </summary>
        public float StartDistance;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// The end distance from the camera where the fog will be drawn.
        /// </summary>
        public float EndDistance;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// The fog mode that controls how the fog is rendered.
        /// </summary>
        public FogMode Mode;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// The density of the fog that is rendered.
        /// </summary>
        public float Density;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// The fog color.
        /// </summary>
        public Color Color;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Stores the pre-render state of the start distance.
        /// </summary>
        private float _startDistance;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Stores the pre-render state of the end  distance.
        /// </summary>
        private float _endDistance;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Stores the pre-render state of the fog mode.
        /// </summary>
        private FogMode _mode;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Stores the pre-render state of the density.
        /// </summary>
        private float _density;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Stores the pre-render state of the fog color.
        /// </summary>
        private Color _color;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Stores the pre-render state wheather or not the fog is enabled.
        /// </summary>
        private bool _enabled;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Event that is fired before any camera starts rendering.
        /// </summary>
        private void OnPreRender()
        {
            this._startDistance = RenderSettings.fogStartDistance;
            this._endDistance = RenderSettings.fogEndDistance;
            this._mode = RenderSettings.fogMode;
            this._density = RenderSettings.fogDensity;
            this._color = RenderSettings.fogColor;
            this._enabled = RenderSettings.fog;
 
            RenderSettings.fog = this.Enabled;
            RenderSettings.fogStartDistance = this.StartDistance;
            RenderSettings.fogEndDistance = this.EndDistance;
            RenderSettings.fogMode = this.Mode;
            RenderSettings.fogDensity = this.Density;
            RenderSettings.fogColor = this.Color;
        }
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Event that is fired after any camera finishes rendering.
        /// </summary>
        private void OnPostRender()
        {
            RenderSettings.fog = this._enabled;
            RenderSettings.fogStartDistance = this._startDistance;
            RenderSettings.fogEndDistance = this._endDistance;
            RenderSettings.fogMode = this._mode;
            RenderSettings.fogDensity = this._density;
            RenderSettings.fogColor = this._color;
        }
    }
  • Tip #80 – Unity5 Material Reference Charts

The unity 5 documentation has a couple of handy reference charts/Info Graphics for when you need to help determining what material values to set to get a particular look and feel.

http://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/StandardShaderMaterialCharts.html

StandardShaderCalibrationChartMetallic.png StandardShaderCalibrationChartSpecular.png

March 2015

  • Tip #79 – Unity 5 Transform performance

With the introduction to Unity 5 there comes some api changes. Specifically this foot note was interesting “[2] in Unity5 we also cache the transform component on the c# side, so there should no longer be a performance reason to cache the transform component yourself.”

I decided to test it out by writing a few performance test scripts and comparing performance numbers. Below is a screen shot of my results along with the scripts used.

As you can see caching a reference to the transform component in the Start method then using that reference is still faster then calling “this.transform” directly albeit only slightly by about 10-20 ticks. And calling “this.GetComponent<Transform>()” is almost twice as slow.

Unity5GetComponentPerformanceTests.png

The code for the PerformanceTesting class is available here.

TransformCachedGetComponentPerformance script

 
    using UnityEngine;
 
    public class TransformCachedGetComponentPerformance : MonoBehaviour
    {
        private Transform reference;
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Awake is called when the script instance is being loaded.
        /// </summary>
        public void Awake()
        {
#if PERFORMANCE
            var perf = PerformanceTesting.PerformanceTesting<string>.Instance;
            perf.Create("UnityTesting/TransformCachedGetComponentPerformance/Update");
#endif
        }
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Start is called just before any of the Update methods is called the first time.
        /// </summary>
        public void Start()
        {
            this.reference = this.GetComponent<Transform>();
        }
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Update is called every frame, if the MonoBehaviour is enabled.
        /// </summary>
        public void Update()
        {
#if PERFORMANCE
            var perf = PerformanceTesting.PerformanceTesting<string>.Instance;
            perf.Start("UnityTesting/TransformCachedGetComponentPerformance/Update");     
#endif
 
            var rnd = new System.Random();
            this.reference.localPosition = new Vector3(rnd.Next(-3, 3), rnd.Next(-3, 3), rnd.Next(-3, 3));
 
#if PERFORMANCE
            perf.Stop("UnityTesting/TransformCachedGetComponentPerformance/Update");
#endif
        }
    }

TransformGetComponentPerformance script

 
    using UnityEngine;
 
    public class TransformGetComponentPerformance : MonoBehaviour
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// Awake is called when the script instance is being loaded.
        /// </summary>
        public void Awake()
        {
#if PERFORMANCE
            var perf = PerformanceTesting.PerformanceTesting<string>.Instance;
            perf.Create("UnityTesting/TransformGetComponentPerformance/Update");
#endif
        }
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Update is called every frame, if the MonoBehaviour is enabled.
        /// </summary>
        public void Update()
        {
#if PERFORMANCE
            var perf = PerformanceTesting.PerformanceTesting<string>.Instance;
            perf.Start("UnityTesting/TransformGetComponentPerformance/Update");
#endif
 
            var rnd = new System.Random();
            this.GetComponent<Transform>().localPosition = new Vector3(rnd.Next(-3, 3), rnd.Next(-3, 3), rnd.Next(-3, 3));
 
#if PERFORMANCE
            perf.Stop("UnityTesting/TransformGetComponentPerformance/Update");
#endif
        }
    }

TransformFieldPerformance script

 
    using UnityEngine;
 
    public class TransformFieldPerformance : MonoBehaviour
    {
        /// <summary>
        /// Awake is called when the script instance is being loaded.
        /// </summary>
        public void Awake()
        {
#if PERFORMANCE
            var perf = PerformanceTesting.PerformanceTesting<string>.Instance;
            perf.Create("UnityTesting/TransformFieldPerformance/Update");
#endif
        }
 
        /// <summary>
        /// Update is called every frame, if the MonoBehaviour is enabled.
        /// </summary>
        public void Update()
        {
#if PERFORMANCE
            var perf = PerformanceTesting.PerformanceTesting<string>.Instance;
            perf.Start("UnityTesting/TransformFieldPerformance/Update");
#endif
 
            var rnd = new System.Random();
            this.transform.localPosition = new Vector3(rnd.Next(-3, 3), rnd.Next(-3, 3), rnd.Next(-3, 3));
 
#if PERFORMANCE
            perf.Stop("UnityTesting/TransformFieldPerformance/Update");
#endif
        }
    }

Archived Years

Older Tips

  • When move a GameObject, hold the Key V,will fast align.
  • A skinned character updates its vertices every frame, even when not animating. To freeze a skinned character in place without making it disappear or revert to a T-pose, set its SkinnedMeshRenderer.bones field to null.
  • There are two really nice hotkeys to insert or delete array elements in the inspector. SHIFT + DEL will delete the selected element and CTRL + D will duplicate it. SHIFT is only needed for reference types like GameObject[].
  • When you're using Debug.Log or related methods, provide the instance of the script so you can click the log output and have the relevant object selected in editor! Debug.Log("Test", this);
  • If you're placing objects in the screen and want them to "snap" into place (great for placing items on the ground) you can hold the Command key (Control on Windows) while dragging the object's axis (snap increments are defined in Edit->Snap Settings)
  • Importing classes in JavaScript. Tired of writing Debug.Log and SendMessageOptions.DontRequireReceiver? Did you know that static members of classess and enums can be imported just like importing namespaces. Simply add import UnityEngine.Debug; and import UnityEngine.SendMessageOptions and then you can write Log("my log string") and SendMessage("ApplyDamage",2.0,DontRequireReceiver);.
  • Deleting objects. Use Command + Backspace in the Scene, Hierarchy and Project views to remove objects. In the Scene and Hierarchy views this will just remove the selected instance of the object. In the Project view this will remove the selected object file and put it in your system Trash.
  • If you need some textures, like font textures, to not be affected by Texture.masterTextureLimit, disable Generate Mip Maps in the texture's import settings. On the down side, this can adversely affect clarity of rendering at smaller scales.
  • Boo has some handy built-in functions like shell(), join() and reversed(). And the cool part? They are available from JavaScript as well.
  • Every built-in component in the inspector has a small question mark in the right of it's heading. That's the quickest way to open the context-help for that component. It's your friend.
  • To remember which color means what on an axis in Unity, just remember the mnemonic: RGB = XYZ.
  • You can use keyboard shortcuts for Edit->Load Selection and Edit->Save Selection to speed up the selection of commonly used parts in your scene.
  • If you option-click an object in your hierarchy, the entire hierarchy within it will expand and unexpand.
  • You can write Editor scripts to greatly reduce project-specific tedium when making something with Unity. These are just as easy to write as regular scripts, and can save you a lot of hassle. See the Wizard Archive for some examples.
  • If you have the problem when importing models that Vector3.up points in the wrong direction (or for any of the other directions), make the game model in question the child of a blank game object, and orient it correctly in local space.
  • When assigning properties of components in the Inspector, you can click on the triangle to pop up a menu of choices. Type in the name of the thing you want and press enter to assign it. This can be a speedy alternative to using drag-and-drop.
  • When entering text in the Inspector view, you can press option-return to get a new line. This is useful for writing multiline things with GUIText objects.
  • If you only have one editor view and no game views in the Unity pane set up, the editor view will be automatically replaced with a game view when you enter play mode and back again when you press stop. This is a nice feature when you are working on a small monitor.
  • Use Tags to assign your own categories and attributes to game objects. Then scripts can refer to the tags. Example: if (contact.otherCollider.tag == "Enemy") or GameObject.FindWithTag ("Enemy")
  • If you want to move a file inside of a project use Unity's project view to move it and not the Finder. This way all references and import settings of the file will be maintained.

Note: Place your new tip at the top of the list, not at the bottom.

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