In these future articles, I’ll be using Unity 2019.3.14f1, until otherwise stated.
When you first open up Unity you are met with this layout:
While this is okay to start playing around in Unity and getting the lay of the land, there is a much more optimized workflow that I’ve grown accustomed to.
For instance, you’ll eventually be dragging objects from the Hierarchy (far left side) into the Inspector (far right) quite a lot. It doesn’t make sense then, to have to go across the whole screen. It seems minor, but saving you a second or two, a couple hundred times in a day will help a lot. There’s also less room for accident by dropping said object into the Game Scene.
The final product looks like this… (minus the Game Objects, but layout wise, yes!)
…and this is how we get there!
First we move the Hierarchy window to the right side beside the Inspector. Simply left click and drag it over until it snaps beside, then drag your cursor down a bit to extend the window to the very bottom.
The Hierarchy window displays all the objects in your Scene’s hierarchy. These could be GameObjects, UI Elements, Lights, Audio Elements, or Cameras, and others.
The Inspector window shows you information about the currently selected GameObject, Camera, Light, etc. You can add or remove Components here, change it’s transform position, edit public values in a script, and much more. You’ll spend A LOT of time in here.
Next we’ll move the Project window inside of the Hierarchy, cutting it in half.
The Project window contains all your Assets, Scenes, Packages, Scripts, etc. Anything relevant to your game lives in here. The file structure is the same as it is in your Windows folder files, or Mac folders, of your Unity Project.
Any Assets you import will show up in here, usually in the Packages Folder, or directly underneath the Assets folder.
I also like to view my Project window in a single column. It works better in my brain, and looks cleaner.
Do this by clicking the 3 dots in the top right corner of the Project window and click One Column Layout.
Next we bring the Game view underneath the Scene view, and bring the Console window tab beside the Scene view.
The Game window shows you what your Game looks in it’s current state through the eyes of your Main Camera. This is what your end user will see, so it’s very important to pay attention to this window. Hence why I like it separate on it’s own — always in view.
The Scene window is where you’ll interact with your GameObjects, placing them and moving them around your current scene. This is the behind-the-scenes of your Game, where you can see all the gizmos, colliders, etc.
You can navigate in your Scene window by right-clicking, letting you look around in orbit. Then move around with w, a, s, d. You can also hold shift to navigate faster!
The Console window is where you will see Errors, Warnings, and any code you write with Debug.Log. Very helpful to have this in view when testing your game, debugging and checking for collisions, triggers, info events, etc.
And that’s the basics of the layout! You can save this layout in the top-right corner to easily come back to it if it gets reset. You can always change layouts from there as well, if you want to experiment and find one that works for you!
You can also add any other window tab to your layout as you need. From the Window drop-down at the top of the Unity editor, you can select any window and drag it to the appropriate section for you.
Very often I will have an Animator and Animation window somewhere in my layout.
Hope this helps with some workflow inefficiency! Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you and your workflow!