So You Want To Make Games: Installing Unity and Getting Started

Antonio Delgado
5 min readApr 5, 2021

Unity 3D is by far the most popular game engine in the market today between copious community support, ease of use of C#, huge library of free, and paid assets on the Unity Asset Store you’d be hard pressed to find a bigger more developed ecosystem. This article will cover getting Unity 3D, setting it up, and getting started with a few great resources for aspiring game devs.

First Steps: Download Unity

First you want to download Unity Hub, this is the main dashboard for creating and launching Unity projects. You can download Unity Hub here. Don’t forget to sign up for an account if you haven’t already.

This is for the Personal Edition of Unity which totally free, there are few key differences you can learn here but the quick and dirty has to do with how much your game makes/has raised and support for teams.

Go ahead and install Unity Hub and use the default settings. When it finishes installing go ahead and open up Unity Hub if it hasn’t already.

Ready, Steady… : Install Unity + Your First Project

After Unity Hub has opened you’ll want to navigate to the Installs tab on the left and click ‘ADD’ this will ask you to pick the recommended version of Unity.

As of writing this is 2020.3.2f1(LTS) for the curious, LTS stands for Long Term Support. Those are considered the most stable versions of Unity but often lack the latest features. Should be totally fine for us though.

It will ask you to download a variety of packages but just stick with the default loadout for now. You can always add modules via the Package Manager which I’ll show a little later.

After the download and install you’ll want to click ‘Projects’ and then click ‘New’ in the top right of Unity Hub.

Select the Templates that best fit your game for now stick to 2D or 3D. High Definition RP and Universal Render Pipeline are workflows better suited to those graphical APIs.

Name your project and make sure you have it saved in a good location for future projects. Then click ‘Create’ to start your new project. It should take a few minutes and then load up.

First Time For Everything: Your Project Editor

Now with the project open you are presented with the layout of Unity editor. These are some tips below but you have everything you need to get started, I recommend checking out the learning resources below to get you started.

You can change the color of the editor skin to Dark from Light (or Light to Dark) by going to Edit > Preferences in the top left of the window. Just click on Editor Theme in Preferences and select your choice.

Should you need to download additional Packages you missed in the install or want to add additional functionality you can go to Window > Package Manager on the top left bar of Unity.

Just click Packages > Unity Registry and click on it to bring up all your Unity-specific assets. Click on them and then Install/Import as necessary.

In the next section are a list of recommended resources for learning Unity. Not every learning resource is equal but these are some of the best that Unity community has to offer at the time of this writing. In a future article I’ll link here my favorite editor layout as well as some Unity assets I really can’t live without. Best of luck!

It’s Dangerous To Go Alone: Learning Resources

Unity Learn: Straight from the horse’s mouth. This a good starting point for learning Unity as well as a variety of free courses that will help you get started. The Unity Microgames are excellent as are the learning tracks.

Game Dev HQ: Probably the finest Unity career development program on the web today. Jon Weinberger, the guy who runs this actually developed some of the best Unity Learn content that they offer and is a Unity Authorized Instructor.

GameDev.TV: This is usually my go to for self-paced instruction. Ben Tristrem and crew cover the full gambit of game development and aren’t just strictly Unity related. They teach game art, Unreal, and a host of other classes related to game dev. Good way to expand your skillset quickly into related fields.