A Game Design Tip a Day #10 – [Unity Editor] Preferences

This fledgling little series of mine has reached 10 tips already! I’ve still got heaps more to throw at you, so stay tuned! If you’re liking the series so far, then go tell your friends, tell your neighbours, tell your cat. If Mr. Snuggles doesn’t start reading these tips, I’ll be mad! Today’s tip is a bit on the short side, but covers a few useful options you’ll likely end up using.

For some people that like to customise everything to their liking, this menu is the first place you’ll go as soon as you’ve downloaded Unity. But others probably don’t realise how useful some of the features are, or don’t know where to find the goddamn thing (hint: it’s buried in Edit -> Preferences…). I’ll now go over the various tabs on the left-hand side, ignoring General, GI Cache and Cache Server because they’re not where the juicy stuff hides.

External Tools

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One thing I completely neglected to mention in the previous tip (the one where I called MonoDevelop terrible a lot) was how to set a different IDE as your preferred one. This is where you can do so – in the External Script Editor drop-down, by default you’ll see MonoDevelop and Browse; the latter allows you to check for a real IDE. Editor Attaching sets whether the external IDE is responsible for debugging, so you’ll want to check this box if you’re using Visual Studio. You can also set which application opens up images – it may be helpful to set this as Photoshop or GIMP to allow for quick image editing, since the default program on your system for opening images is probably just a photo viewer of some kind. Finally, this is where you point Unity to your system’s Android SDK if you’re developing for mobile.

Colors

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You can safely ignore most of the colours on here, unless you really want to customise everything. What I want to highlight here is the topmost colour option – Playmode tint. Often while working in the editor, you’ll forget that you’re currently in play mode and modify a bunch of variables on all your components, only to realise you’re not in edit mode and those changes will be reverted. Then you’ll curse loudly, grumble and tweak them all over again. If you changed Playmode tint to something strikingly obvious, like red, then you’ll definitely notice much more often when you’re in play mode, because the entire editor changes to that colour. It’s much more obvious than the slightly different grey used by default. It’s only a shame you can’t also change the spelling of the header to “Colours”, the correct way of spelling it. Sigh.

Keys

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The last thing doesn’t require much of an explanation, but you can rebind all the keys used to navigate the editor. It’s very handy if there’s a specific key you’d rather use for a given task.

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