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Unity 3 Feature Preview – Snapping & Marquee Selection

, April 23, 2010

Hello Unity Developers!

Incredibly, it’s already been more than 3 months since I joined this crew of nuclear-powered toaster engineers and I couldn’t be happier to have this be my first blog to share with you all.

Almost unbelievably, the last time we shipped a major version update to Unity, it was with fewer than 10 people on board.  For Unity 3, there are now 65 people working to achieve the same vision of Author Once, Deploy Anywhere.  It’s a lofty dream, but we’re pleased with the our progress so far and we’re driven on by wanting to see what you, the Unity community, will create next.

In the video below, we see how the new improvements to snapping and the addition of marquee selection can really speed up workflows.  Unity 3 now supports snapping the vertex pivot point of one object to a vertex in another object as well as snapping the default pivot point of one object to the vertex in another object.  Also shown is surface snapping, a  feature currently present in Unity 2.x.  Working on conjunction with the new vertex snapping features, assembling levels from component assets can go very quickly.   And it’s fun!

Finally, you can now use marquee selection to highlight multiple objects in the scene view by drawing a Rect around their Bounding Box.  The object highlighting is interactive while drawing your Rect, so you’ll know exactly what you’re selecting when using this feature.  You can also do this multiple times with boolean operations by using Command-Drag to remove from current selection and Shift-Drag to add to to current selection.

Without further ado then, watch and enjoy!

Snapping (GameSetup Scene in Project)
Vertex snapping
Snapping the vertex pivot point of one object to a vertex in another object.
Snapping the default Pivot point of one object to the vertex in another object.
Explaining why this makes it so much easier to create your levels inside of Unity.
Surface Snapping (not new in 3.0)
When dragging a prefab from the Project View into the Scene View it will automatically snap to surfaces.
Showing how Surface and Vertex Snapping can be used in combination for fast level layout.
Marquee Selection (GameSetup Scene in Project)
Selecting multiple Objects by drawing a Rect around their Bounding Box.
Interactive Object Highlighting while using Marquee Selection.
Boolean Operations with Marquee Selection… Command-Drag to remove from current selection, Shift-Drag to add to to current selection.

We plan to be sharing new features from the development of Unity 3 with you regularly, so stay tuned for more.  We’re just getting started!

26 replies on “Unity 3 Feature Preview – Snapping & Marquee Selection”

[…] but we are still using the 2.6.1 version, which is great yet. One of those features was the vertex snapping, which greatly helps to build entire environments and levels in a smart and quick […]

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Why isn’t this information in the documentation and/or in the video tutorials section of the web site after a whole year? I had to google to find it again after accidentally stumbling across it the first time a few weeks ago.

[…] Unity 3D muestra en un vídeo un pequeño avance de algunas de las nuevas funcionalidades que serán incluidas en Unity 3, su la próxima generación de su motor y herramienta de desarrollo de juegos 3D. Más información en su blog. […]

[…] but we are still using the 2.6.1 version, which is great yet. One of those features was the vertex snapping, which greatly helps to build entire environments and levels in a smart and quick […]

Awesome, finally a way to select multiple objects easily! Interactive selection is going to save so much time during the build process, no more tedious locating objects in the hierarchy, just click and drag! Looking forward to it.

i hope unity 3 is as awesome as you show it.

we’re triying to make a MMO and i love going back home, and play up with 2.6 :D

Finally precission tools are coming!!!
Being a Microstation user I felt really unconfortable with some workflows and lack of features. Hope new hot ones are coming (in tons) :)

It will be great to perform proper selections in the scene view, something larger projects have a hard time without. I’m really looking forward to that, and saying goodbye to the random placement of objects dropped into the scene.

It warms my heart to see the team are aiming for a more graphically ambitious engine with this upcoming release. I have to say though, you’re leaving it a bit late to announce some much needed updates to Unity3D as a terrain editor.

Awesome job man reminds me of marble madness which was awesome & addicting game!

P.S..I hope this is playable on PS3 because i wanna play this when it’s finished!

thank you Brett
what about nvidia’s APEX for mesh fractures? Tom said in forums that it’s not decided yet. i think this is a killer feature for creating many types of new creative games with new gameplays. i posted about it in my blog too.

@Ashkan: thanks :) Sharing stuff like this is always fun and yes, we’ll have news to share soon on the things you’re mentioning. Unity 3.0 will not have dx10/11 support, but support in the 3.x time frame is not out of the question. As for FB integration, that is definitely something we’re interested in helping with. Right now, I’d suggest checking out the dimeRocker stuff. It’s pretty slick.

Maybe the iPhone market is a big target for Unity and it’s users, but I still believe that if Apple wants to play hard and Unity follows there are going to be more on the way. I believe that Unity is still one of the choices for developing on PC also and that market is going to grow too, so giving everything to Apple maybe is not the right solution.

hey Brett
i loved your blog posts much even when you were a garagegame guy
thank you for the blog post but please tell us more about major things.
for example: dx10/11? APEX? or in game advertising or facebook integeration

@appstore guys
UT guys will find their way after all but the platform is …

Wow! The vertex snapping will make levels crazy much faster to make. A quick question, though: can I define pivot points for snap purposes inside the mesh?

Either way, this can totally change the way I use Unity. Can’t wait to get my hands on this (When are the pre-orders shipping?)

@Tom Higgins: Likewise, Tom, I appreciate the info. If I can ask, just as a clarification, and I understand if you can’t really answer it yet, when you guys talk about possible work on the engineering side, are you referring to changes that will likely be transparent to us users who currently write in Javascript, etc.?

Demo team is there any sign of the car tutorial ? On Unite there was talk that it was ready before christmas, only the documentation had to be made. (It is now 6 months further)
Or are you gonna publish it together with Unity 3 ?

@ rhm: that’s not what Brett said at all. Read our forums, there is discomfort out there waiting, and as of today we are uncertain of the exact fallout as it may require engineering changes. None of that speaks of the definition you want to claim, so let’s step back and relax so we can finalize the real details carefully. :)

@cmonkey: we can’t say anything mostly because we don’t know what the end result will be on the iPhone, we’re working on the details now. But until we know how we’re gonna solve this, there’s not a lot we can say.

First of all, thank you so much to Unity for the update today!

But I’m a bit confused here … would it be a violation of the NDA to at least clarify what programming languages would be supported by the new update to Unity iPhone?


The 3.0 Unity editor looks like a full-fledged 3D editor now!

It’s been my dream since 2005 to just make mesh libraries in 3dsmax then do the real scene editing in Unity.

Guess now I need to come up with a new dream. ;-)

Wonder if we can use Ruby since MacRuby is under development (mac to Obj-C… and Ruby Cocoa which is also “OKed” (older Ruby to Obj-C bridge). Used quite often in Cocoa development. Apple would have little room to complain… or at least get away with it.

Thanks a lot for your reply. It means a lot to us to hear that you believe in a positive outcome :-)
BTW, the snapping tool is great stuff! We pre-ordered 3.0 plus iPhone Pro already and are looking forward to creating new exciting worlds with the cool upcoming features.

So you had a meeting with Apple and the outcome was essentially “no exceptions” even though Unity is arguably the most important middleware on the platform. So you’re having to change it so people can ‘script’ their games in C/C++/Obj-C I’d guess?

Apple continue to amaze – I’ve never known any company in the history of computing to deliberately spread Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt about their own platform before.

It’s clear that even if Unity are forced by Apple to ‘suck it up’ and manage to produce a product that app developers can use and stay compilant with the App Store T&Cs, iPhone development is unacceptably risky. We all understand that a platform needs rules to stay high quality – the problem is when the rules are changed arbitrarily with no remorse for all the work they destroy in the change.

Vertex Snapping. That is awesome. I’ve been waiting for this a long time in Unity, and am happy to see it.

@Superwaugi: That’s really all we can say right now, unfortunately. We are continuing to make sure we’re compliant with the new Terms, but it’s certainly possible that it could mean we need to do some more work. Either way, we’re committed to providing you with uninterrupted ToS compliant tools.

The best way to stay up to date with our official updates on that topic are watching for new posts from David Helgason. Thanks for hanging in there with us. We know it’s difficult but, we’re doing all we can to ensure a positive outcome.

“Uncomfortable uncertainty”…..that really does not sound good at all! Is that all you are going to tell us? This means for sure, that the talk with apple didn´t go well! Please do not let us die in ignorance! We really care more than i can tell!
Loosing the publishing possibility for iphone and ipad would be a disaster! Still hoping for the best, but loosing faith every minute we do not hear more details. PLEASE!!!
All the best, Superwaugi

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