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Tips for new Unity users

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Joe-Censored, Jun 27, 2019.

  1. Joe-Censored


    Mar 26, 2013
    Been here on the forums for a while, and I've noticed a few trends with new users. Here's some tips to help you be successful in getting started, saving a bit of frustration, participating here on the forums, and having fun with Unity. They are in no particular order.

    1) When running tutorials, use the version of Unity which the tutorial was written for

    The tutorial was written using a specific version of Unity, and every new version of Unity will have changes which may slightly (or significantly) change the steps of the tutorial, or worst case require a new API or workflow to achieve the same results. There is nothing wrong with using a version of Unity which isn't latest/greatest, and the skills you learn in earlier versions of Unity will still translate to newer versions, even if the exact steps aren't identical or a menu option has been moved.

    It will be very frustrating when you are trying to walk through a tutorial and hit an unexpected error or can't find a menu option the tutorial specifies. After you have experience, you'll be able to get around these kinds of issues with ease, but not a good idea when just getting started. You can have installed as many different versions of Unity as you need at the same time, which is actually completely normal even for experienced Unity users.

    2) Make regular project backups

    Any project you don't have fully backed up, is as good as lost. Backup your project folder on a regular basis, especially after making significant progress, and always before you are about to make a significant change. This includes before you import a third party asset, and especially before you move your project to a different version of Unity. Unity doesn't support later downgrading your project's Unity version, so it is generally a one way trip and can result in unexpected issues in your project.

    You can just zip up your entire project folder, but you don't actually need the library folder and a few other files. You can search for threads on this specific topic if you're trying to minimize what files you save.

    Consider using version control instead of zip files for this purpose. Version control systems, such as Git or SVN, are the software industry standard way of doing backups and help in many additional ways which zip files are weak at. At first they seem an unnecessary hassle, but once you have to revert changes a few times or investigate when a bug first popped up you will change your opinion.

    3) Only use Unity versions with an "f", no "a", no "b"

    As a new Unity user, there is likely no good reason for you to be learning Unity on an alpha or beta version of Unity. Alpha or beta versions will have major feature breaking bugs, or might be missing important functionality. Other than using the same version as a tutorial, you should be jumping on either the latest tech release or the latest LTS release.

    Alpha releases have an "a" in the version, betas with a "b", released versions of Unity (and I believe release candidate builds) will all have an "f".

    4) When asking for help on the forum ask a specific question and provide context

    There are lots of people who are more than happy to help with your struggles here on the forum, but you have to ask a question which can actually be answered in a forum post, and provide enough information in order for that to be possible. Asking a general question which would require an entire tutorial series to answer, is just wasting everyone's time. Asking a very specific question, explaining what you are trying to do, showing the code you have, and what is happening that is unexpected, is very likely to quickly get you a helpful response.

    When posting code onto the forums, make sure you use CODE tags. There is a sticky thread at the top of the scripting forum explaining how to do that, or you can just quote any other post which includes code to see how it is done.

    When you are running into some suspected problem with Unity itself, it is often helpful to specify exactly what Unity version you are using.

    5) Don't bother asking questions on Unity Answers, just ask on the forum

    Unity Answers is slow to get a response, if it is working that day at all. Just ask your question here. Just make sure you post your question in the correct sub forum.

    6) Your first project should be a single player game

    You'll have a hard time learning Unity on a multiplayer game, especially involving networking. Those games are very complex and time consuming, and you're unlikely to be successful unless you already have the fundamentals of creating a game in Unity in the first place. Make your multiplayer game a later project, and start with a single player game, preferably something of very small scope.

    7) Just because Unity released a new version, that isn't a reason to upgrade your project

    Once your project reaches a significant level of progress, you should be planning to lock down your project's Unity version. From that point on you should only take a new Unity version if it has some must have bug fix or needed new feature, and only after careful consideration.

    Whenever you change a component in your project, you should retest everything that component touches, and since Unity touches everything, that means you need to retest everything. Like any complex software, a new Unity version can introduce new issues, and these can negatively impact your project. I've seen far too many threads here about people complaining that their released to the public game has been broken by upgrading to a new Unity version just because Unity released it, publishing the new build to the public without testing, and some critical functionality in their game is broken for their customers without a clear way to quickly resolve the problem.
  2. Vryken


    Jan 23, 2018
    Also want to add:
    When posting a thread asking how to solve an error your script is throwing, please post the entire error message and stack-trace as well.

    Without that, we can only make assumptions.
    small_lizi and Joe-Censored like this.
  3. BrewNCode


    Feb 17, 2017
    point #5 is the best one for saving time when you run into a bug.
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  4. nitrofurano


    Jun 7, 2019
    "there is likely no good reason for you to be learning Unity on an alpha or beta version of Unity. " - GNU/Linux users have almost no choice there... :S
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  5. bloodwolftico


    Nov 13, 2017
    This is very useful. TYVM!
    JoeStrout and Joe-Censored like this.
  6. wqhjstudios


    Sep 3, 2019
    i agree, bloodwolftico.
  7. angelicamontano0725


    Sep 5, 2019
    Hello guys for Filipino out there I have tagalog unity tutorials kindly subscribe for more videos thanks
  8. rutukate


    Sep 9, 2019
    Very well explained the topic.
  9. GarBenjamin


    Dec 26, 2013
    That's fantastic stuff @Joe-Censored. Unity Technologies should add that to the Unity download page (and maybe in the hub "while you're waiting for installation... READ THIS"). I would say put as sticky here but doubt anyone would see it.
    Lurking-Ninja and Joe-Censored like this.
  10. hippocoder


    Digital Ape Moderator

    Apr 11, 2010
    I've been guilty of 7 a whole lot. I love tinkering with new toys. But I actually know what I'm doing + version control so there's that...

    Great set of tips!
    Lurking-Ninja and technicat like this.
  11. Lurking-Ninja


    Jan 20, 2015
    Game making is art. Every art form has its own set of rules. Newbies usually should not break those rules. Once you mastered the craft and you know the rules, you can start to break them when you know which rule you're breaking, for what purpose and when. Or you need to be incredible lucky.