Now that Unity 5.0 is here, many of you have been asking what is actually in Unity 5.0 and how best to learn it. We have a few ways of getting up to speed with our new features, and some sample and demo content that will get you 5’ing in no time. Let’s dive in!
Unity 5.0 Tutorials
Our Online Content Team has been busy creating a series of tutorials to get you up to speed with the headline features of Unity 5, so over in the Learn area, you’ll find a new series of videos for everyone to learn about Graphics, Audio and Animation, with more to follow in our scheduled Live Training sessions, where our twitch heroes Adam and Matt will be spending time with you to let you know about other features and answer your burning questions!
Tutorials for Unity 5.0
Live Training Sessions
We are also working to recreate our classic Roll-a-Ball tutorial series for total beginners to be aligned with Unity 5 so beginners get a good introduction.
Those of you lucky enough to attend this year’s GDC will have witnessed our new interactive demo project Unity Labs. Home to the illustrious Dr Charles Francis (pictured above), Unity labs is our latest large project to help you understand the usage of many of Unity 5’s new features. It makes use of –
- Enlighten Global Illumination
- Standard shader
- Audio Mixer
- State machine behaviours
- Custom skin and hair shading
We aim to ship this to you by the end of March to the asset store for you all to enjoy, and will keep you posted on when it’s live to download. This demo was shown at GDC on PC, Mac, Xbox One and Playstation 4. For more information on Unity labs and some of the other 5.0 features, see our Talking Tech video below.
Learning Physically-based Shading
For those interested in the art side of Unity development, you’ll likely know that Unity 5.0 ships with what we call the Standard Shader. The Standard Shader is a physically based shader designed to equip you with a single shader for 95% of the use cases in your games. To help you learn this there’s 3 main things you should do first –
1. Watch the tutorial! Read the docs! Check out the blog!
Docs page about the standard shader.
Blog post about physically based shading and how it works.
2. Download the Viking Village
Want to see how our internal teams are using the Standard Shader? grab the Viking Village now from the asset store.
3. Download the Shader Calibration Scene
This small test scene is setup for you to import your assets and try out the standard shader. It comes complete with an array of pre-built configurations of the shader, as well as a test scene with a variety of options for testing. Download it now!
Once you’ve done these, check out some of the content the community is building and sharing, such as this awesome guide to PBR from the guys at Allegorithmic.
Use the all-new Standard Assets
In Unity 5.0 we rebuilt Unity’s Standard Assets from scratch. For those unfamiliar, Standard Assets are our set of tools and prefabs for you to use as a building block in creating your game or even just to get you kickstarted in prototyping. So if you need an First or Third Person controller, a Car, a Plane or 2D character, look no further. We also include useful tools like Touch control setups.
You can grab the new assets from the Unity 5 installer, but if you didn’t grab them then, or you want to make sure you have the latest version, grab the assets from the Asset store.
Note: For anyone using this in beta, we referred to them as ‘Sample Assets’ – note this is simply a change of name – we returned to Standard Assets to ensure totally backwards compatibility. So if you’ve used these in beta when they were called Sample Assets, please update to the latest Standard assets and continue to use them. Thanks to Ray in the comments for raising this. At the time of writing there is no difference between the downloaded install version of SA and the version on the Asset store, but from time to time we may push fixes to the store outside of release / patch releases.
What else would you like to see from Standard Assets? we have more plans but would love to hear from you!
As of Unity 5.0 we’ve made a few changes to the scripting API to tidy things up, add new features and encourage best practices. One important thing we’d like to highlight is deprecation of some of our previous ‘Shortcut’ aspects of the API. In the past, you’ve been able to use for example –
Referring to the Audio Source component directly by using the term ‘audio’. Behind the scenes this was simply utilising a GetComponent(); command, and this is what our auto updater will replace it with. However if you are using this more than once in a script, be sure to go through and cache a reference to the component, instead of leaving many GetComponent calls in your script. For more details on this change, see Lucas’ blog post.
I hope this helps you get started with 5. We’ll have more tutorial and demo content coming soon, and please sound off in the comments below as to what you like and dislike, and if you have requests for future content, let us know about that too!