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Unity Short: Building User Interfaces

Photo by KOBU Agency

For the third and final “short” of this week’s Unity for Software Engineers, I give an overview of building in-game User Interfaces in Unity. As a reminder, this week’s installment is packaged as a series of short-form outlines, introducing readers to the breadth of the Unity toolkit.

Just like rendering and the Input System, Unity has a few technologies that can be used to render UI in a game. Unity’s documentation includes a comparison of these UI toolkits. Of these, only two technologies can be used for in-game user interfaces. We’ll discuss these here:

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Unity Short: Physics Raycasting

Original Photo by Pang KakitCC-BY-SA 4.0

Continuing the “shorts” week in the Unity for Software Engineers series, today we’ll be discussing Unity’s Physics Raycasting. As a reminder, this week is packaged as a series of short-form overviews, introducing readers to the breadth of the Unity toolkit.

Raycasting is Unity’s way of checking collisions between objects in the scene and an invisible ray with a given geometry. Raycasting is used in a myriad of ways. Some examples:

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Unity Short: Pathfinding with NavMesh

Photo by Susan Yin

For the 10th installment of Unity for Software Engineers, we’ll be doing things a bit differently. Instead of a single long-form article going in-depth on a single topic, I will be releasing a collection of short-form overviews over the course of this week. The goal: introduce readers to a breadth of the Unity toolkit.

Pathfinding is a common system in video games; you might have enemies that need to move throughout the scene to reach and attack a player, or a point-and-click game where you command the main character by simply clicking at a destination, or a real-time strategy game where all units navigate around obstacles and each other dynamically.

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Using Animations in Unity

Photo by Mélanie THESE

In solo game development, you can’t just stick to your strong suit. If you’re a Software Engineer trying out solo game development, being a solid developer will only get you so far; even if you’re using assets made by others, you’ll still need to know how to integrate them into your game tightly.

Animation is a great example. Imagine a character model has animations for walking, running, standing, talking, interacting, and more. In that case, you will still need to define how a character object triggers and transitions between these animations. These animations might also dictate what your object does; for example, an enemy that punches characters might want to deal damage at the precise moment the model’s arms are fully extended.

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Translating your Development Toolkit to Unity

Photo by Carlos Irineu da Costa

Whether you’re a backend, UI, web, or full-stack developer, much of the Software Development toolkit looks similar. Even when the exact tools are different, the toolkit translates intuitively between fields: version control systems, debugging and profiling tools, editors and language servers, and package managers work together similarly. What do these tools like when developing software and games with Unity? We’ll dive into this today.

Welcome to another installment of Unity for Software Engineers, a series for those seeking an accelerated introduction to game development in Unity. More is coming over the next few weeks, so consider subscribing.

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