Follow our step-by-step guide for beginners to get started installing and running Unity3D.
What is Unity and why should you use it?
Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies, in order to develop games. It has been written in the C++ programming language, but it's scripting application programming interface (API; which is used to actually code games) is in C#. Unity can be used for much more than just making games. It can even be used to create visualizations for movies, architecture, or car manufacturing. The benefit of using Unity rather than writing our games from scratch is that Unity already provides many ready-made tools to assist us in our game-making processes, such as physics or lighting. Compared to other game engines, Unity is far more popular, which makes resolving bugs or learning how to do something easier, because it is very likely that something will already be present on the Internet.
Downloading and installing Unity on your local machine
Before starting to use Unity, you must have an account set up at id.unity.com. As well, you can create an account using your Google, Apple, or Facebook account.
Once your account is successfully created, you will be redirected to your unity account. On the right top of the page navbar, click on your profile icon. It will show you a menu with some links. Click on the ‘Download Unity’ link.
You will be redirected to another page again. On that page, you can now download Unity based on system requirements. Before you download you must choose the version of Unity that’s right for you. But it is recommended to choose the latest stable version.
Once the download is finished, run the unityHub executable file to install it on your local machine. After installation, start Unity Hub and you should see a screen similar to this.
Now you need to connect to your Unity Hub account with the credentials you previously used to create an account. Then you will be prompted to download a version of the Unity Editor (the actual game engine). You can choose the version of Unity Editor you want. But it is recommended to choose the latest stable version. At the time of writing, it is version 2021.3.15f1. You can also change the default program files installation directory location.
Next, you need to get an active license to use Unity. Unity has four licenses: Personal, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise. Personal has most of the features offered in the other business licenses and is free. Plus can be purchased by individuals who want more features than Personal offers. Pro or Enterprise licenses must be purchased if the income derived from your game-developing business or organization exceeds a particular threshold. The greatest advantages that you’ll be forfeiting by using a Personal license are the ability to customize the splash screen of your game (when the game starts), the use of a dark editor UI, greater support, availability of premium resources (although not absolutely required), and more diagnostics/analytics.
Next, proceed to click your profile picture or initials (top-left corner). Go to Manage License and verify you have an active Personal license. Finally, go to Installs, click the gear icon on the version of unity installed in the previous step, and select Add modules. Now choose the modules you wish to install. If you will be working on a mobile game, choose at least Android and/or iOS Build Support modules.
Note that you will not be able to make iOS games if you don’t have an Apple computer. For Android build support, check Android SDK & NDK Tools and OpenJDK, too. The documentation and everything else are optional. Now you can select Projects in the left panel and press the New Project button to get started on your first Unity3D game!
Take a look at our other article How to set up Visual Studio Code for Unity.