In an industry flooded with competition on every level from indie to AAA, creating better games and doing so quickly has become extremely important. Not only do developers need to concern themselves with the quality of their game, but in many cases company longevity can be based upon how quickly they can bring great games to market.
There are some amazing tools for Unity that can give studios the speed and efficiency boost they need to reduce development time and remain competitive. Here at KinematicSoup, we decided to compile a list of must have tool types and provided some examples of each. We only picked a couple of tools from the Unity asset store for each category, but there are many other amazing tools that could be mentioned.
Note that these tools are not mentioned in any particular order and we are not endorsing them over any other tools on the Asset store. Prices were all accurate at the time we wrote the article but may have changed since.
Playmaker, Publisher: Hutong Games LLC
Playmaker is a visual scripting solution for Unity3d. The tool provides value to users throughout the development process by providing an easy to use alternative to coding. Using Playmaker, teams can prototype and iterate much faster at every stage of development.
Unity asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/368
Behavior Designer, Publisher: Opsive
Behavior Designer implements a highly efficient visual behavior tree system into Unity. It allows teams to build complex AI behavior without having to write much, if any, code. This tool has the potential to greatly reduce time spent on creating AI while still enabling highly complex functionality.
Unity Asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/15277
FlowCanvas Visual Scripting, Publisher: Paradox Notion
FlowCanvas is another visual scripting solution, employing a very intuitive and user friendly interface. Users coming over to Unity with prior Unreal Engine experience will feel very comfortable using this system.
Unity Asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/33903
Gaia, Publisher: Procedural Worlds
Gaia is a terrain creation tool that helps developers create beautiful landscapes, quickly. Supporting both procedural and manual generation helps teams build highly unique scenes quickly and easily. Landscape creation and population is typically a time consuming process, meaning development teams stand to greatly benefit from this tool.
Unity asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/42618
ProBuilder Advanced, Publisher: ProCore
ProBuilder allows users to build geometry, directly in Unity. This is highly valuable from a prototyping standpoint as developers can change and playtest new geometry immediately. Not only does this reduce time from an asset creation standpoint, but also supports highly iterative design.
Price: $95 (ProCore also offers a free version called ProBuilder Basic)
Unity asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/3558
DunGen, Publisher: Aegon Games Ltd.
DunGen allows users to procedurally generate dungeon layouts by piecing together rooms they have created in Unity. The tool is very flexible, allowing customization of dungeon flow and object spawning to fit any game.
Unity Asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/15682
World Building Efficiency
ProGrids 2, Publisher: ProCore
ProGrids displays a grid within the unity editor that snaps to all three axes. While the grid is enabled, users are able to snap objects to locations very easily and accurately, speeding up level creation workflow and design precision. The tool also includes many settings to let developers use the grid in a way that works best for their team.
Unity Asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/4466
Easy Scatter, Publisher: Hedgehog Team
Easy Scatter lets users paint mesh objects or prefabs to terrain instead of having to drag them into the scene and manually place them. The tool can paint on terrain and meshes and does so according to their colliders, enabling fast asset placement in a scene with minimal manual adjustments.
Unity Asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/51269
QuickDecals 2, Publisher: ProCore
QuickDecals is an easy to use decal placement system. This tool takes a lot of time out of adding decals to a scene and helps developers make their scenes come to life very quickly. The tool also supports Atlases and multi-decal randomizing to maximize usability.
Unity Asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/6293
Simple LOD, Publisher: Orbcreation
Simple LOD takes what is normally a difficult and complex task and makes it extremely easy. By reducing triangles, combining meshes and baking texture atlases, SimpleLOD can significantly reduce draw calls and make very efficient LODs. The adjustable compression level allows users to ensure their LODs are made to fit their game.
Unity Asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/25366
Everloop, Publisher: Dustyroom
Everloop is a system that provides procedural generation of music from a base of 18 loop-able music layers. Because all of these tracks will play seamlessly regardless of their order, or how many of them are played at once, it becomes easy to create great music on the fly based on game events or areas.
Unity Asset store link: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/45205
We hope that you found this article helpful. There are many tools for the Unity engine and this list only scratches the surface. At the end of the day our team’s goal is to help game developers build better games, faster. To see what we are doing to help achieve this, check out our latest tool that enables real-time multi-user scene collaboration in Unity: kinematicsoup.com/scene-fusion