01. Installing Unity

Installing Unityhub

Unity installation is fairly straightforward for Windows, Linux and macOS. First you need to install the Unity Hub which is a sort of Meta-Software that helps when using different Unity Editor versions (and it helps Unity to monitor your usage of their Engine). Go to Download Unity to install the Unity Hub.

If you are on Linux you need to:

  1. Open your Terminal (typically Ctrl+Alt+T
  2. Go to the directory where the downloaded UnityHub.AppImage is (e.g. with cd ~/Downloads)
  3. Make the downloaded Appimage executable with chmod +x UnityHub.AppImage
  4. Now you can doubleclick the AppImage in your Filemanager or start it from Terminal via ./UnityHub.AppImage

Setup a Unity Developer Network Account

Unity Hub will ask you to sign in with an account, if you don't already have one you will need to register, and verify your account (they will send you an email).

Install Unity Editor

Once you went through all these hoops, you can actually install the Unity Editor going to the Installs sections and clicking onto the blue Add button. There you need to select the right version. Just take the latest Version with LTS (Long Term Support):

Unity Hub Install Window

The default install locations of the editor are:

OS Path
Linux ~/Unity/Hub/Editor
Windows C:\Program Files\Unity\Hub\Editor
macOS /Applications/Unity/Hub/Editor

Now you need to select the Modules you want to install. This depends a bit what your target is, but you can add these modules later on as well. It makes sense to at least select:

For more details regarding the Installation you can read more in the official Unity documentation

02. Navigation

Scene View

Scene View Pane

A editor in which you can design your scene.
Per default you have a camera called Main Camera, a Sun called Directional Light in the Scene.

You can navigate with:

Action 3-Button Mouse 2-button mouse or track-pad Mac with only one mouse button or track-pad
Move Alt+MMB Ctrl+Alt+LMB Alt++LMB
Orbit (only 3D mode) Alt+LMB Alt+LMB Alt+LMB
Zoom Scroll or Alt+RMB Alt+RMB Alt+Ctrl+LMB or two-finger swipe

Game View

Game View Pane

A Preview of the resulting Game. Note the "Maximize on Play"-Toggle on top

Asset Store

Asset Store Pane

Get/Buy Ressources for your Game


The toolbar is located in the upper left area of the Window and looks like this: Unity Toolbar

Icon Name What it does
Hand Tool Icon Hand Tool Pan around in the Scene
Move Tool Icon Move Tool Change the Position of individual GameObjects (in XYZ Direction)
Rotate Tool Icon Rotate Tool Change the Rotation of individual GameObjects (in XYZ Direction)
Scale Tool Icon Scale Tool Change the Scaling of individual GameObjects – from its Center or Pivot Point
Rect Transform Tool Rect Transform Tool Change the Scaling of individual GameObjects – from its Corners
Transform Tool Icon Transform Tool A combination of the Move, Rotate and Scale-Tools

There can be more Tools depending on the selected Object.


Hierarchy Pane


Inspector Pane

Lists all Components of the currently selected object. You can e.g.:


Project Pane

Lists all Assets you created. Assets allow you to create and store reusable:


Displays any kind of warning, error or debug message your Scripts might produce.

A simple example would be:

  1. Go to the Project-Pane
  2. Create an Asset called C#-Script with Rightclick
  3. Rename it to ExampleScript and doubleclick it to open the Default Editor
  4. Add the line Debug.Log("Hello there, I am debug Output"); in the Start()-block of the existing code. Things should look like this
using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using UnityEngine;

public class ExampleScript : MonoBehaviour
    // Start is called before the first frame update
    void Start()
        Debug.Log("Hello there, I am debug Output");

Save the file

  1. Go back to Unity, Drag the Script from the Asset Pane into the Inspector Pane of any object
  2. Switch to the Console Pane
  3. Run the Game using the Play Button.

You now should see your message in the Console:

Console Pane

03. Prefabs & Assets

A Prefab is a bit like a prototype/template of a GameObject, which includes all Components, Materials, Animations and Settings. To create a Prefab from an existing GameObject just drag the object from the Hierarchy Window into the Project/Assets Window.

Whenever you want to reuse a single object all over your Scene, it makes sense to turn it into a Prefab, as you can then edit all Instances of the Prefab in one place.

You can additionally:

Editing Prefabs

You can edit a Prefab by entering Prefab Mode via:

You can then exit the Prefab Mode via:

Instance Overrides

If you create a Prefab and place it multiple times within your scene, all the settings in every single Instance you placed will be identical – sometimes however you want to adjust single instances a bit to get some variation – this is where Instance Overrides come into play.

Here is what Instance Overrides are allowed to actually override:

Ok? What
reparent a part of the Prefab
remove GameObjects that are part of the Prefab (you could deactivate them however)
Changing the value of a property
Adding a component (e.g. a Script)
Removing a component
Adding a child GameObject

Changed Properties will be marked blue and written in bold in the Inspector:

Note: If you want to apply the changes made in an Override to all other Prefabs, you can select Apply from the Overrides Dropdown menu in the top right of the Inspector window. If you want to get rid of the changes select Revert.

Nested Prefab

Prefabs can contain other Prefabs. This is called nesting Prefabs. If you put Prefabs inside a Prefab, the Prefabs will retain their links to their own assets. This is useful if you e.g. have a Prefab of a table and you want to create a reusable Prefab with table, chairs, a vase and so on – this way you could quickly place the whole Table with chairs, vase etc multiple times within your scene without having to manually moving around each chair or vase. If you still would like to make changes to individual table-sets you can of course use Instance Overrides

To create a nested Prefab:

  1. Go into Prefab Mode (doubleclick it in the Project or Hieararchy window)
  2. Drag in any Prefab like you'd do normally

Prefab Variants

If creating Instance Overrides is getting old, you can also use Prefab Variants.

To create a Prefab Variant, simply:

  1. Rightclick a Prefab in the Project view and select Create > Prefab Variant
  2. Open Prefab Mode for the newly created Variant and modify it with overrides

Unpacking Prefab instances

If you want to convert your Prefab Instance into a regular GameObject, you can unpack it. This is basically the reverse of creating a Prefab and bakes everything you did with that single instace into a Gameobject. After you unpacked a Prefab any modification you might make in the Prefab no longer affect the unpacked Gameobject.

You can unpack a prefab in the Hierarchy view using: Rightclick on the Prefab Instance and then selecting Unpack Prefab Completely

Instantiating Prefabs at runtime

The template-nature of prefabs makes them incredibly useful for anything that needs to create things at run time. This could mean creating Super-Mario-like monsters or bullets, or basically anything that you want to create much of.

Using Prefabs for this is useful because:

This is commonly used to:

To create a prefab at runtime your code needs to reference the Prefab in code. This reference will show up in the Inspector as an assignable field, so you can quickly change what Prefab you want to use.

A code that creates a new instance of your selected Prefab at a given position:

using UnityEngine;
public class InstantiationExample : MonoBehaviour 
    // Reference to the Prefab. Drag a Prefab into this field in the Inspector.
    public GameObject myPrefab;

    // This script will simply instantiate the Prefab when the game starts.
    void Start()
        // Instantiate at position (0, 0, 0) and zero rotation.
        Instantiate(myPrefab, new Vector3(0, 0, 0), Quaternion.identity);

If you want to create Prefabs on the fly using a Trigger Volume (see BindToTrigger-Script) or via Interaction (see Interactable-Script), you might have to change:

void Start()


public void CreateMyObject()

and select that method in the BindToTrigger and Interactable Components you placed onto your objects. So instead of creating a new Instance of the Prefab on Start, you can this way manually trigger when a new Instance should be created.

If you e.g. want to create a new Prefab every 1 second while someone is within a Trigger-Volume, you could use something like this (untested, but should work):

using UnityEngine;

public class CreateRepeatedly : MonoBehaviour 
    // Reference to the Prefab. Drag a Prefab into this field in the Inspector.
    public GameObject myPrefab;

   public float delay = 0.0f;
   public float interval = 1.0f;

    void OnTriggerEnter() {
        // Run the CreateMyObject function repeadly every n seconds (where n is the value stored in interval)
        // start doing this after a delay of m seconds (where m is  the value stored in delay)
        InvokeRepeating("CreateMyObject", delay, interval);

    void OnTriggerExit() {
        // Stop repeating when the trigger is beeing exited

    public void CreateMyObject() {
        // Create a object at this fixed position
        Instantiate(myPrefab, new Vector3(0, 0, 0), Quaternion.identity);

For a more detailed overview have a look at the unity documentation

04. Modelling

Modelling describes the process of creating the geometry used by a game engine or 3D-software. A 3D-model is a numerical description of the geometry – this means Modelling is about form and shape of objects.

Unity has only basic modelling capabilities. This is an overview of the different methods you can use to get geometry in:

Tool Capabilities Complexity/Challenges
Unity (w/o Addons) Only Basic shapes like Cuboids, Spheres, Cylinders; Some special things like Terrain Low
ProBuilder Addon More complex shapes and texture mapping possible, organic shapes, sculpting and animations hard Medium
External Tools Depends on the Tool, but potentially Everything High

In the gaming industry mostly external modelling tools like Blender, Modo, ZBrush, Rhino, Sketchup, AutoCAD, Cinema4D, Maya, 3DsMax, etc. are used, the ProBuilder-Addon is used mostly for Greyboxing (Greyboxing is drafting a Level with basic blocks, just to get something that plays well before adding more Detail). Which tool you use doesn't matter, as long as it gets you the result you want to get. As long as your tool can export a fbx, obj or glb (GLTF) you are good to go. If your 3D-Software can't export that format, maybe you can take intermediate step (e.g. if you use a CAD software that can only export STEP files, you could use Blender to convert to obj, fbx or gltf).

If you don't know any 3D-Software yet, but want to learn one I'd recommend Blender – it is free, open source, runs on nearly every computer, is under active developement, has a big and friendly community, a ton of tutorials and it is no worse than any commercial competitor for >2k€.

If you don't want to learn a new Software, good ways of getting decent results are if you use free models you find online (be aware of possible license issues tho) or 3D-scan your own objects.

ProGrids & ProBuilder

If you want to power up Unity's internal editing capabilities it makes sense to install both the ProGrids and the ProBuilder Addons. Unity seems to plan to add these per default in the new 2020-Version of Unity, but at the point of writing you still need to install it yourself.

Installation in Unity (may be unnecessary in Unity 2020):

  1. Open the Package Manager: Window > Package Manager
  2. Make sure the option Advanced > Show preview packages is active
  3. Search for _ProGrids" and click the Install</kbd>-Button
  4. Search for _ProBuilder" and click the Install</kbd>-Button
  5. Activate ProGrids using Tools > ProGrids > ProGrids Window, you should see a new panel in the Scene view and the Grid should change color
  6. Activate ProBuilder using Tools > ProBuilder > ProBuilder Window, drag the Window somewhere useful, press the -Button in the window and select Use Icon Mode if you like

The ProGrids-Module allows you to snap objects to the grid (make sure the switch is set to On). Adjust the grid scale with a click on the number or using the + and --Keys on your keyboard.

The ProBuilder-Module adds many new capabilities. If you want to learn it, this videotutorial is a good starting point, but youtube is full of tutorials on it : )

Blender import Workflow

If you want to import models from Blender there are multiple things to consider:

There are multiple possible transfer formats that allow you to move models from Blender to unity:

Format How Pro Con
Blender .blend Simply drag the .blend files into the Unity Assets window Very straightforward and easy Will import the whole Blender scene, No Materials, Animations etc
.obj and .mtl Drag both into the Unity Assets window Universal and easy Limited support for Textures, Shaders and Animations
.fbx Drag into the Unity Assets window Old and trusted for transfering stuff, works well with Animations Limited Shader support
GLTF: .glb Install GLTFUtility Allows you to use everything from the principled BSDF-Shader (like Roughness, Metallic etc), Works with animations, Preserves Hierarchy and object names Doesn't work without Addon

To install the GLTFUtility open the Window > Package Manager, click on the +-Button and add the git-Url that you can find in the readme here: https://github.com/siccity/gltfutility.git

05. Oculus VR Setup

Oculus VR Setup

To get started with Unity and the Oculus Quest glasses quite a few things have to line up. As of July 2022 the way described here worked.

Attention: Changes

Both the Unity Editor and the Oculus Software are constantly changing. This means, by the time you read this guide, it might be outdated already (it has been written in July 2022). If you are in doubt please also check the official oculus developer guide.

Download and install the Unity Hub

There are many versions of the Unity Editor. To make it easier to manage your projects and the different versions of the editor software you can use a software called the Unity Hub

For this you need to go to the unity3d-website and click on Download Unity Hub

Then you install the software (how this works depends on your operating system).

Unity Account

Unity has a license model where they allow you to use the Game-Engine for projects going up to a certain revenue (e.g. if you earn below 10k€, but make sure to check yourself). In an art school this is typically not an issue. They still want you to create an account for it, so go ahead and create one

Install the Editor

The installation is pretty self-explainatory, except for one step where you have to select the modules that are needed for a Oculus-build. So follow along:

  1. Start the Unity Hub Software
  2. Go to the Tab Installs and Click on Install Editor: image-20220704111842244
  3. Now you need to tell the Unity Hub which version of the Editor you want. You can install multiple different versions and select them when creating a project. Unless anything else is mentioned in the instructions go for the Recommended version with Long Term Support (LTS): image-20220704112151826
  4. Now you need to select the Modules you want to have in this installation of the Unity editor. This means for example for which Operating System you can export ("build") your Game. The Oculus Quest uses Android as an Operating System, so you need to select all the Android stuff. You can also Select Linux, Mac and Windows if you want to run your game on these operating systems or WebGL if you want to run it on the Web: image-20220704112542606
  5. Click on Continue and Agree to the terms and conditions in the next step
  6. Now the Editor will be downloaded, which might take a bit

Note: If you forgot to install any dependencies you can add them later by right clicking the editor and clicking on Add Module

Factory reset the Oculus Quest

Note: you can skip this if the Oculus already works for you

The VR glasses might have been used by someone else before. Before you operate them (or before you give them back if you made a lot of changes) it makes sense to factory reset them:

  1. Press and hold Volume - + Power on the Oculus for at least two seconds till a brightly colored Text appears
  2. In the menu select Factory Reset with the Volume - and Volume + buttons, then commit the selection with Power
  3. Confirm the Factory reset in the next step by selecting Yes, erase and factory reset and pressing Power again

Update Glasses

Note: you can skip this if the Oculus already works for you

If the glasses already have a account on them or you had them lying around for a while it makes sense to check for updates once in a while. In the glasses go to:

Settings > About/Info > Update

Set the Oculus Quest to Developer Mode

In order to be able to install your own Games onto the Oculus Quest you need to activate Developer Mode (if it has not been activated already).

For this you need to do both of those things:

Setting up a project

First you need to connect the glasses to your computer

  1. Connect the Oculus Quest glasses with an USB-C Cable to your Computer (if your Computer does not have USB-C you can use an USB-A to USB-C Adapter)
  2. Put the Oculus Quest on your head: If it asks you if you allow that connection. Click Allow, same goes for Data connections

Setting up an Unity Project

  1. in the Unity Hub Software go to the Projects Tab and click on New Project: image-20220704114652192
  2. In the next window, make sure the right editor version is selected. Select and download the VR Template (if necessary), name your project (Note: this is the name of the app on the glasses), select a Location for the stored data and finally click on Create project: image-20220705161833743
  3. The editor opens and tells you to change some Project settings: Go to Edit > Project Settings > XR Plug-in Managmentclick on the Small Android Icon and activate Oculus (If this looks different for you, you may have to click the Install XR Plug-In Managmentkbd>-Button): image-20220704115107084
  4. Go to File > Build Settings (On a Mac this might be Unity > Build Settings). Click on the Android Tab and then click the Switch Platform button: image-20220704115323545\ Please Note: This is also where you select the Scenes that will be exported (see the Scenes in Build-Section on top)

Build the Unity project

If you were to click the Build-button now, the Scenes in Build would get built ("converted") into a Android Package (a file ending with .apk) which can then be transfered to the Oculus (e.g. using the adb ("Android Debug Bridge") command line program) and run as an interactive application or game. This means this apk contains all the scenes you included in the Build settings.

If you want a more seamless development experience you can connect the Oculus to Unity:

  1. Connect the Oculus to your computer using a working USB-cable
  2. Switch the Oculus on
  3. Allow the connection from within the glasses
  4. in Unity go to File > Build Settings then to the Android Tab
  5. Click Refresh where it says Run Device and select the Oculus Quest from the Drop-Down Menu (saying "Default device"): image-20220705162843720
  6. When you now click Build And Run your game will compile, be transfered to the glasses via USB and should start automatically!

The first compilation will take a long time (10 mins on my machine), so be prepared for a wait. But no worries the compilations after this initial one will be much faster.

If it does not work: The Build and Run-button runs the adb-command line tool in the background. If any other program (e.g. the Oculus Developer Portal) uses adb at the same time, Unity might not find your device. Sometimes it also helps to disconnect and reconnect the cable. If your Oculus is not in Developer mode this will also not work (see instructions above).

Additional Note: If you run a Windows machine you might also consider using Oculus Link and a fast USB-C-cable. This allows you to click the play button in the Unity editor and directly see what is going on which is a lot faster. The cable needed for this is however a fast 4K-ready USB-C cable (the included charging cable does not work for this).

How to proceed?

There is a ton of info online already. It might make sense to follow some tutorials. Feel also free to read the follow-up articles on this site.

99. Unity & Arduino Interaction

A interesting way to use Unity is to make it interact with physical Hardware. This could of course mean existing solutions like:

Hacking together something from these things can already get you very far, but sometimes this might not be enough – e.g. if you want to control physical things from within Unity. If this is the case, using a microcontroller like a Arduino, Teensy, ESP32 (for wireless) or similar might be a good approach.

Any physical interaction can be seen as either Input or Output. Sensors, Buttons, Dials, Sliders, Encoders, Switches, Microphones, etc could become Inputs, while Relais, Transistors, Servos, LEDs Motors, Buzzers, Screens, etc could become Outputs.

Serial Communication

This means we have to have some way to send messages from Arduino to Unity and vice versa. The way this is usually done is so called Serial Communication. Serial means, the messages are sent one after another (As opposed to say in parallel). What is being sent is usually just ASCII-Text.

Communication between Unity and Arduino

This means for example that we could periodically get sensor data from the Arduino to control stuff inside Unity, while simultaneously having our Arduino react to messages that are sent from Unity. The messages Unity receives can be used to control stuff in your scene (e.g. you could use a light sensor to change the light inside the scene). The messages Arduino receives can be used to switch on/off things, control motors, blink LEDs, show stuff on tiny displays etc.

Physical interfacing is quite intersting from an art perspective, because it allows you to influence as which medial dispositif the viewers will perceive themselves: is it passive television watching, listening to a radio or a record, is it a computer game, a arcarde game or rather just magic?

Setup and Test Arduino Software

  1. Install the Arduino IDE
  2. Connect your Arduino to Computer via USB-Cable to your computer
  3. Check if the Arduino works with the blink example:
    1. Open File > Examples > 01.Basics > Blink
    2. Try to flash it onto the Arduino using the round Arrow button
    3. If it doesn't work, you probably need to change the Arduino Model or the COM-Port. If you use cheap Arduino Nanos from China, you might also have to set Tools > Processor [...] to Atmega 328P (Old Bootloader)
  4. Copy the code below into the Arduino Editor and flash it onto the Arduino

// A variable to keep track of the last time
unsigned long last_time = 0;

void setup() {
    // Set the built in LED pin to Output Mode

    // Start serial communication with a BAUD-Rate of 9600

void loop() {
    // Print a heartbeat every 2000 seconds (by comparing if 2000ms
    // have passed since the value stored in the last_time variable)
    if (millis() > last_time + 2000)
        // Send a message to Unity. If you want to use this message
        // to control things you will have to change the Unity Script
        // (e.g. SerialController.cs) If you are reading out a sensor
        // and want Unity to react to it, consider sending a message from
        // Unity and sending your data in a response instead
        Serial.println("Arduino is alive!!");

        // Store the current time in the variable
        last_time = millis();

    // Send some message when the given letter is received
    switch (Serial.read())
        case 'A':
            // Send a response to Unity
            Serial.println("Arduino received letter A: switch on LED.");
            // Switch the LED
            digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);
        case 'Z':
            // Send a response to Unity
            Serial.println("Arduino received letter Z: switch off LED.");
            // Switch the LED
            digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);

Setup Unity

  1. Install the Ardity Addon from the Asset-Store

  2. Make sure that the Option API Compability Layer under Edit > Project Settings... > Player > Other Settings is not set to .NET Standard 2.0. At the point of writing the correct Option was .NET 4.x but this could change with new versions of Unity:

Set API Compability Layer to .NET 4.x

In your Project Window check out Assets > Ardity > Scenes to see how the thing is set up. You could use the Prefabs in Assets > Ardity > Prefabs to allow your Unity Scene to interact with one or more Arduino/Teensy/etc via USB connection. A very similar approach would potentially also work wireless with a ESP32.

PLEASE NOTE: make sure that the Object with the Serial Controller-Script on it (e.g. the Serial Controller-Prefab) has the right Port Name selected. If you are unsure where to get this value, it is the one listed in the Arduino Editor under Tools > Port ...

These Ports are named as follows (replace * with a number):

Example Project

If you are curious how to achieve bidirectional communication between Arduino and Unity have a look at this Example Scene