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New Icons in Hierarchy

Discussion in 'Prefabs' started by runevision, Sep 12, 2018.

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  1. runevision

    runevision

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    With the introduction of improved Prefabs, objects in the Hierarchy now have icons in order to convey information about Prefabs that would not otherwise be easy to see.

    Those of you who've been using the Preview Build knew this already, though the icons have a slightly new look in the beta. For others it may be news.

    The icons let you see:
    • Whether a Prefab is a Prefab Variant, Model Prefab, or regular Prefab.
    • Where Prefab roots are. Those are all the blue icons.
    • Whether objects under a Prefab root are part of that Prefab or added as an override.
    Icons.png
    IconsDark.png

    As with many features, we've heard many different opinions about the icons. Here in the forums we had many people pitch in with opinions in the thread here.

    We have taken that feedback to heart and made the icons for GameObjects more subtle than they were in the Preview build (where they were the classic 3-colored GameObject icons). We still might not be able to make everyone happy, but if the prior feedback is anything to go by, the new icons should work well for most people.
     
  2. Grimreaper358

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    Ah I see, I don't really have a problem with the new Icons except that the grey for game objects makes it seem like they are disabled.
     
  3. hippocoder

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    Don't like the icons at all. Please make them optional.

    Also, I don't understand why there's cubes on *everything* regardless if a prefab or not. This simply wastes space. There are much better ways of doing this.

    Perhaps we should call it the cube hierarchy since everything has a cube regardless, which is illogical vs having clear icons on their own, perhaps less real estate waste.
     
  4. Thomas-Pasieka

    Thomas-Pasieka

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    Can we at least have a tickbox in the Preferences to turn them on/off? I find them rather annoying/useless. I think most "new" things introduced should ALWAYS have a tickbox in the Preferences so users can turn them on/off at any time.
     
  5. Grimreaper358

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    Clearer icons would be better instead of the grey/grey cube (Looks like a disabled Game Object). Some game objects already have nice Icons so that could be used for (Post Processing icon on Post Volume, etc)
     
  6. hippocoder

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    The project view uses a unique icon for each intention without redundant stuff. A gameobject on it's own should not have an icon.
     
  7. Ofx360

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    upload_2018-9-12_22-46-5.png

    Looking at 3DSmax, it's not all that different. Maybe the icons are too bold in Unity (even in the current toned down version) and should use a more flat design?

    For me, i'm not bothered by the icons at all - i actually kinda like them. Though an option to turn it off seems like a good idea. The prefab's text is still colored blue and the prefab type icon could also be in the upper left corner of the inspector anyone who needs to know the type. Though, that icon is user settable.

    Maybe something like this would have less clutter for those concerned:

    upload_2018-9-12_22-46-25.png

    Normal GOs wouldn't have any icons and prefabs would have an icon to the farthest right, before the carrot. Any additional custom icons would be pushed left. Probably not the best for people that might have a very wide hierarchy view, but i think it helps get around the indentation/clutter issue some people are having?
     
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  8. bac9-flcl

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    This is a definite improvement over the last release! I'd fade the default gray cube icon even more, making it 50% more transparent, but otherwise this works for me. Prefab icons are now properly standing out vs. plain objects. And I suppose I can always just edit default editor resources to make the default state fully transparent or otherwise less noticeable.



    Fully fading out the icon for plain GameObjects can also work, but in that case I'd move the "plus" icon for added prefab elements to the center of icon space, since it would no longer have a foundation to attach to:



    On the subject of docking icons at the right edge of the screen, I tried that for a while with custom hierarchy windows, but I found that layout to be pretty inconvenient vs. left side icons, since it was often hard to see what exact line corresponded to what exact icon.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  9. halley

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    If we're going to classify things in the hierarchy so much, why not make a different non-cube icon for "things without a renderer" such as marker/manager empties, or lights, or cameras, etc.? There is at least one "draw icons in the hierarchy" add-on available in the Asset Store (which this update will surely break, at least temporarily). Let people go nuts with bookmarking their hierarchies richly. Or... turn it all off.
     
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  10. Deeeds

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    Was Modo the 'inspiration' for these choices?

     
  11. rocar

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    Currently the only problem with this approach is that everything is a GameObject. With the exception of prefab types, nothing distinguishes GameObject's from one another. If the intention is show more information in the hierarchy, then icons should probably indicate a main component.

    Though, it does seem like Unity's intention is to add more icons in the future. The redesign showcased at Unite Berlin does show various icons according to type in the hierarchy:

    unity-ui-showcase.PNG

    If the direction is to improve readability in the hierarchy with more icons, please do.
     
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  12. LukeDawn

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  13. hippocoder

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    I think we need to see more of Unity's plans here. Will they be adding icons for everything? for cameras? what if it doesn't have a renderer? what about multiple components? you cannot keep stuffing info on the left, long term

    I propose that all the icons be shifted to the right justified side instead and include:
    • prefab state
    • visibility toggle
    • camera / renderer / etc icons
    You can't keep pushing this stuff on the left. It makes it hard to navigate and hard to read. It should be right-justified instead and contain actual functionality, like you click the box, you edit the prefab.

    Assuming Unity wants to add a lot more information, it should all be packed on the right-justified and unused space, particularly now there is a highlight bar so we know what line we are over.
     
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  14. Grimreaper358

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    This version looks worst to me. The Icons makes sense in that they relay information needed to understand what type of prefab is being used (even with just the grey ones there), the only problem is the other game objects having the default grey Icon. As @rocar mentioned the ones showed in the roadmap talk looks nice and also relay what type of game objects they are so and when this is paired with folders to organize things it will look pretty sweet.

    2018.3
    upload_2018-9-13_8-52-51.png upload_2018-9-13_8-53-53.png

    2019 Mockup
    upload_2018-9-13_9-7-44.png

    They were stated to be in two stages, 2018.3 (which gets mainly icon updates, the Setting/preferences organised in a tab) and 2019 forward (with the redesign and workflow enhancements) both stated to be optional/opt-in via the Package manager. I would jump on those new Icons instantly but that's me. I rename default objects created sometimes and the icons that are shown there will help to tell what "type" of object it is quickly (Especially when it's a project I haven't messed with in a while or even team projects). The only thing missing there is the icon custom models/meshes would show.

    With that said I know some people might not want to use them (but there will be objects that require them - Folders when that's in, prefab types, etc) so you can see for the devs it's now a little bigger than adding an option to disable/enable. From my perspective thinking about making those customizable (On/Off) would come down to three modes/settings two at max.

    All options
    On - All icons on
    Off - All icons off
    Mixed - Some icons on but only for things that require an Icon (Folders, prefab types, etc)

    Or at least
    On - All icons on
    Mixed - Some icons on but only for things that require an Icon (Folders, prefab types, etc)
     
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  15. hippocoder

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    This is why it's not possible to condense that much information on the left. It should be right-justified, and they should be clickable, and you should control what is visible for you.

    So instead of a > icon to edit prefab, you just click the prefab box (if it has one), which would be with the other (optional) icons.

    I hope @runevision doesn't feel attacked here or anything, I mean it's his work. We're just trying to get the most from it.
     
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  16. rocar

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    What application with a hierarchy have you used that doesn't have the icons on the left?

    They're just matching a UI standard - it's not like this is an odd choice. The closer the hierarchy matches standard DCC tools the better.
     
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  17. hippocoder

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    It's a flawed argument and here is why:

    • existing DCC apps are often experimental and badly designed *cough zbrush*
    • DCC apps only have a small handful of things an object can be - modifier, geo, camera etc
    • Unity gameobjects can be any number of infinite things (many components on one object)
    So, unless you want to restrict it entirely for level building, the existing DCC concepts horribly break in a Unity context.

    But sure, if it's just going to be a level design tool, knock yourself out. I have a custom hierarchy that does stack information on the right-justified side ...

    upload_2018-9-13_15-5-5.png

    upload_2018-9-13_15-7-34.png

    OK so ours is more of a collapsible category system, that self-organises so we can work on the game engine stuff or the world stuff or the dynamic stuff and so on. We can see if something is an actor, static etc - don't use icons but text, and it's fine for us.

    Not saying Unity should do what we did, only realise there's more to solve here.
     
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  18. optimise

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    @runevision, from the discussion so far I think the best way to solve this problem is to make it highly configurable. Whether you want to disable all the icons, display only for things that require an Icon, move the icon to right and etc.
     
  19. runevision

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    It's the work of the team here, I certainly can't take all the credit!

    To sum up on many replies here (and in some other threads) at once:

    "the grey for game objects makes it seem like they are disabled"
    "I'd fade the default gray cube icon even more, making it 50% more transparent"​

    "Don't like the icons at all."
    "the icons add nice feedback to the hierarchy, which I wouldn’t want to miss from now on"​

    "[Icons] should be right-justified"
    "They're just matching a UI standard [with icons on the left] - it's not like this is an odd choice. The closer the hierarchy matches standard DCC tools the better."
    "On the subject of docking icons at the right edge of the screen, I tried that for a while with custom hierarchy windows, but I found that layout to be pretty inconvenient vs. left side icons, since it was often hard to see what exact line corresponded to what exact icon."​

    [Mockup that shows icons only for Prefabs]
    "If you only had them for prefabs it would make the indentation weird in some cases."​

    It seems we have a healthy diversity of opinions among you all here, often going in diametrically opposite directions. For perspective, all of this feedback here in the forums is just a tiny slice of the overall feedback we've gotten from all sources, most of which has no comments about the icons but is just overall positive about the feature design. No one solution will make everyone happy when there's people who want the exact opposite things from each other.

    Some of you have requested options to turn this or that on or off, such as turning all the icons entirely off. Providing options for something is a feature like any other feature. It's not free for us to add; once something can be turned on or off, both ways have to be designed, implemented, tested and made sure to work with every other feature that might interact with it. Apart from that, all options increase the complexity of the product a tiny bit.

    Sometimes, providing such options is worth the time and effort and added complexity, but the benefit has to be weighted against the cost, and against all the other things we could spend the time and resources on implementing instead. Add to that that there is significant information that would not be visible if e.g. all icons are removed, unless we designed an alternative way to provide that information (again taking resources). Simply turning the icons off without such an alternative design would really only be responsible for people who don't use Prefabs much at all, which is a small subset of our users.

    All this together means that we don't always provide options just because different people would prefer different things - it has to be more important than the other things we could otherwise be doing (see the FAQ for some of the other things we could spend our resources on instead). We will of course continue to monitor these threads (like we do with the entire Prefabs forum) and read all feedback and take it all into account in our overall prioritizations.
     
  20. hippocoder

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    Yeah totally understand the user-communication aspect. How do you make documentation or train customers for a moving target?

    But what is happening in the big picture? Will future Unity have icons that share the same space?


    I really like that actually, but how on earth do prefabs fit with the rest of what Unity is suggesting? A lot of our feedback is in isolation... It would help to see what else will be fighting for the same screen estate.

    At the moment, the above image would break. What if the camera has a directional light component? What if it's a prefab that's partially modified?

    (I absolutely love the folder one though, for organisation...)
     
  21. runevision

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    There's a lot of ideas and nothing yet set in stone on that front. It relates to future versions of Unity and will require future solutions to the questions it raises. We're working on that, and of course bringing in users in the process of that design process, but the forums here - and particularly the Prefab forum - is not the best place for this discussion.
     
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  22. cirocontinisio

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    Chiming in very briefly just to add one thing: regardless of which icons get chosen, I believe that creating a user preference to decide what icons to visualise in the Hierarchy is not a good idea.

    It sounds good in principle ("I get to choose how to visualise things!"), in practice it creates confusion when you post screenshots, you're following a tutorial online, reading docs, and you're not seeing what you have in your editor. Or maybe when we create a new icon to communicate a new type of object (like Prefab Variants), and people have icons off.
     
  23. Jaimi

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    Of course you're mostly hearing opinions from people that don't like it. I'd hazard to guess most people don't care, and you won't hear opinions (for the most part) from people that do like it, because we don't generally bother to reply when we like things.
    I personally like the direction, and like the icons on the left, because that's where everyone else puts them. I would like them to be expanded (camera, light), but that could be problematic because those are just components and could be on anything.
    But I think you could quiet most people down just by adding the option to turn them off in prefs.
     
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  24. Deeeds

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    I think colour is the most powerful of the simplest tools, but this is just a draft of an idea...

    Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 1.29.12 am.png

    The three marks on the left indicate these objects have been modified since the last save.

    Colours out to a gradient on the right give the user the chance to rapidly scan for the type of object they want to find, in the context of other object types, free from all other noise. Permits rapid pattern based rediscovery and reorientation within a long/complex hierarchy.

    The Main Camera and any lights positioned immediately underneath the main camera should act as though pinned to the top of the hierarchy as the user scrolls down, permitting editing of the lights within the context of objects they're affecting, regardless of hierarchical positioning.
     
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  25. Quatum1000

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    Can not agree. There are a lot 'new hierarchy assets on asset store. But I never seen any of the +10.000 video tutorials use a visually changed hierarchy. The unity pro bloggers would not use anyway.

    I would recommended an on/off ticker and use a darker blue cube for none - prefab assets to prevent a disable look.
     
  26. Ferazel

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    Color blindness is an issue with your mockup and any mockup that doesn't have unique icons for the different states.
     
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  27. recursive

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    @Jaimi is right, there's a lot of us who are fine with it, although I can see where the complaints are coming from. That many similar boxes just feels... wrong. I think going with more unique icons (as is proposed for later) is the right way to go. It'll help break up the "Repetitive Noise" problem the box icons currently have (which is a similar problem in games where tile repetition is too obvious and unnatural). Other solutions/aids I can think of:
    • Use a fade as @bac9-flcl suggested, weighted by how many of the same icon in a row there are, with some curve to prevent it from fading out completely?
    • Or have a single icon with a line or dashed line running along all the same kind of object, which the kind icon at the top (similar to how nested prefabs asset store asset works now).

    As @Ferazel mentioned, color blindness is a problem, but on top of that, color selection may be used for an individual or studio to add extra organizational meaning to things and if it is included I think that should be left to a user option, not a replacement for icons.
     
  28. AcidArrow

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    You can choose appropriate colors that will look different for most cases of color blindness (everything apart full monochromy) and Unity already uses color coding in the hierarchy and I don’t see anyone complaining about that, so I don’t see why people bring it up as such a roadblock.
     
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  29. Thomas-Pasieka

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    So in other words, all the replies and feedback you get here are irrelevant. Noted.


    Thomas
     
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  30. Deeeds

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  31. TooManySugar

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    Ok reading that creating a configurable UI from an Unity staff was hartbreaking. Yet I can see the point of the issue sharing, simply add a button so that it can quicly swap between default and custom ui for problem sharing, problem solved.

    Back to track somaone complained that my icon mocup atracted too much attention to the coloured icons(it could even this make sense as you whant to do so) but as I'm not either a big fan of icons I would preffere simply coloured text. I had to grab the image from the forum so the coloring is not super clean, yet I see the concept is clear, and I like it the most.
    upload_2018-9-14_11-38-52.png
    edit: I'm Tokyo Warfare the other account is the console account, sorry for the mess.
     
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  32. hippocoder

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    Yes, that would be my preference as well. Simply clicking the prefab would remind me in-depth what kind it is, via the inspector. Where the verbose information should be.

    Seems these changes are purely aimed at making Unity accessible to new developers with minimal experience. After all, learning materials were mentioned and documentation. All things our team does not need. We just would like text really, or just the old behaviour.

    This is not a slight or attack or anything like that, just genuine user feedback. Not from a moderator, not from someone with a ridiculous avatar, just a dev telling the truth.

    Our team's plans in response:
    • use them exclusively for artists, level construction only - art etc (if they actually want)
    • build all previous prefabs that were dynamic (enemies, AI, objects etc) through Scriptable Objects or reduce to single components
    We decided these changes slowed down how we worked (highly iterative, copying component from play mode and pasting back values after on prefab) as well as distracting from the view. The view thing is a problem because we do kinda know best what we want to draw attention to for our game needs. That's why there's a pushback on the icon stuff.

    I feel the whole prefabs thing is over-engineered for us.

    But, ultimately I'll stop now - I've said my bit and there's a game to be completing...
     
  33. Deeeds

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    The power of this is SIGNIFICANT!

    This is one of the few areas where Unity offers discoverability.

    Good point!
     
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  34. TooManySugar

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    Yep, I'm also totally unthrilled by the new prefab system. For nested prefabs to be they've NOT ADDED the feature of nested but they've blown the whole system for that feature be available breaking workflows that where productivity favourable like bulk prefab modification from project view.
     
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  35. hippocoder

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    Nested prefabs (the design of the technology, not the UI) are not adding productivity, only confusion. I don't see any benefit workflow wise, where it saves any time. All it has done is add time to our development. I don't see a single real-world example from people who release actual games, really digging this process.

    Real games do not have hundreds of nuanced changes between each object. Real games have mostly the same thing repeated everywhere. In the next level, a slightly more aggressive variant is used. That is why the old prefab system was actually perfect. If you wanted a significant change like a different model, you (rightly) made a new prefab.

    Minor changes worked fine with the old prefab system.The new one is basically making it so hard to track changes that they have to invade the hierarchy. It is band aid on band aid and for me it means that we will have a more consistent game and less authoring bugs by avoiding it.

    In addition to being forced to invade the hierarchy due to too much complexity, it removes the chance for custom UI from users, and works against Unity's own future plans such as having a configurable information display in hierarchy users could configure - similar to the way we can already configure the visibility and icons in scene view...

    People should have never been given nested prefabs. The concept itself is not a good one. There are better, flatter ways to design practically, anything. A fantastic grouping system and power over hierarchy such as the same power we have over scene view is far more beneficial.

    That is why we will not use nested prefabs, as they are over-engineered.
     
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  36. Deeeds

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    This is the path I want to take... but I ssooooo want some of the new Particle Features.... and then some. And then some more.

    I dearly wish New Prefabs was a package, optional.
     
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  37. Deeeds

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    Not even. Can use Prefab exposed variables and/or script value changes for upgrades...

    Most of it's just increasing the values that determine the proficiency of the enemy. Speed, accuracy, rate of fire, strength of shots, etc. The old system is good. And the defining feature of Unity.

    And it just works.

    It's almost as if they didn't have any respect for the significance and experience of using the old system when 'designing' the new system.

    It feels like subjective personal choice design rather than focused objective endeavour design. Kind of like Apple omitting the Lightning -> Headphone adaptor AND 3DTouch from the Xr.
     
  38. TooManySugar

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    +1 if it works...
    While nested thing can be cool for having lets say the tags of an enemy prefab up to date you can just instantiate the tag to that enemy on spawn instead of storing inside the prefab. And you can just build editor script for higher control of complex prefabs such is my case for tanks. What bothers me is that they've estroyed my workflow in favour of a less proficient one for reasons not too clear. I really whant/need to take advantage of physix 3.4.2 but prefabs issues are holding me away... they should make two workflows available as one breaks the other. They had a package for nested, they should make one for classic approach.
     
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  39. hippocoder

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    You know something is a design smell when it has to invade a hierarchy (which imo should be entirely configurable to show what we would like to show - just like scene view).
     
  40. Deeeds

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    to use an old cliche...

    Improved Prefabs™ look like solutions in search of a problem.
     
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  41. Deeeds

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    What's perhaps more distressing, to me, is a field of endeavour that could desperately use some help from powerful and stable and capable nested prefabs (specifically within Unity) is UGUI... and yet Improved Prefabs' design process seems to have overlooked those needs, workflows and considerations/requirements.
     
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  42. hippocoder

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    Seems to be fine for years so far in scene view...
     
  43. runevision

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    We have had uGUI as one of the major use cases in the design of the nested Prefabs feature. Auto-generating Canvases for uGUI Prefabs in Prefab Mode and being able to specify a custom environment scene specifically for uGUI Prefabs (with a custom Canvas for example) are some of the pieces of functionality made to support this. The functionality has been developed with input from people from various studios, and the feedback we've gotten around this has been leaning to the positive side, although there are still more improvements that could be made that we didn't have time for yet.

    One of the things that doesn't work great for uGUI is the fact that most of the root RectTransform properties are default overrides, meaning they cannot be applied or reverted (similar to root position and rotation for regular Transforms). This is how it always was, and not something we changed for new Prefabs functionality. We didn't change it now as we had plenty of other changes to manage already, but it's something we want to take up for consideration for future improvements.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  44. Lurking-Ninja

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    For starter, I'm one of the few people here on the forum who actually likes the trend. But, I don't agree with your summary here. The default should 'show everything'. If someone (like @hippocoder ) turns off something, that is their responsibility.
    But, I would not put this (actually no visual settings should go) in the settings, I would put it in a layout settings or local settings for the hierarchy.
    And it is something to do with layouts: layouts is a great feature I would like to see it stronger. It is because I wear many hats when I'm working on something.
    Many hats means many views in Unity. My layout is different when I'm working on levels, it's different when I'm working on code and it's different when I'm trying to rig characters or put together building blocks for the game (prefabs and so on). Sometimes I even have different windows open on the layout, sometimes I don't even have scene or game window etc.

    So when you build your prefabs and so on, the icons should be visible, so you know what you have there, but when you work with your code logic, you don't need this information (mostly and probably).

    So I for the icons and I for the settings but I for the local settings!
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
    DeoSsin and hippocoder like this.
  45. Marc-Saubion

    Marc-Saubion

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    I think this might clash with existing assets who are already doing a very good job. For people looking for a more complete hierarchy window, I recommend Qhierarchy. Very useful and customizable.

    Qhiearchy.png
     
  46. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
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    That's a bit power-usery indeed. Seems to me that the cubes could be shifted to the right and entirely replace the > arrow for editing a prefab. So people would just click the cube there instead... It'll be too late by the time prefabs ship to change the mess of (icon) (text) (icon) (icon) (icon)

    Really it could be:

    text icon icon icon

    Because text has a rollout and depth to it in the hierarchy, so it makes sense to bang all the icons right-justified especially if Unity wants further expansion and currently even now it's icon text icon ( > ) and that's just a jumble mentally.

    The prefab icon could replace > and perform the same clickable functionality. It would not necessarily even have to be on the far right even, and allow futher Unity icon expansion.

    I know I've been active in prefabs feedback but I'm only ever active in areas I have a keen vested interest in improving or using. Don't get me wrong :)
     
  47. Deeeds

    Deeeds

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    Mar 15, 2018
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    Does this have a performance hit on Mac, where the editor UI is already... SLOW!!!
     
  48. Marc-Saubion

    Marc-Saubion

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    I don't know, I never used unity on a Mac. You' should ask the author.
     
  49. Marc-Saubion

    Marc-Saubion

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
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    372
    While we're at it, I'd like to make a request about the "model prefab".

    It may share some inheritance features similar to a prefab, but it is not one. Allowing it to share the "prefab look" and referring it as such is misleading for beginners who are already confused by the whole prefab concept. More than once I had to explain that "yes prefabs are blue, but not when they are blue with a tiny file on it" to a new guy who lost 15 min looking for the apply button on a mesh.

    From my experience, this is much more needed that making a difference between prefabs, nested prefabs and variants.

    Thanks.
     
    Deeeds likes this.
  50. OhLawdie

    OhLawdie

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2017
    Posts:
    1
    Unity UI crew, much improved! Is there any way we'll be able to modify these icons to our own liking if we aren't able to currently? Thanks!
     
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