Join Alan Thorn for an in-depth discussion in this video User interfaces overview, part of Cert Prep: Unity User Interfaces and Animation.
- [Instructor] In this chapter of the course, we're going to be focusing on the fundamentals of user interfaces, and in this video specifically, we're going to see in an introductory way, exactly what a user interface is, and why that's important. Now to demonstrate this I've opened up the Unity project that you can see in front of you here, which is included inside the course exercise files. This Unity project simply has an asset that is being downloaded from the Unity asset store. This includes the UI Samples package that is available free of charge from Unity Technologies and is available from the assets store to include in any of your projects.
This package simply contains scenes, data, and all kinds of stuff to have a look at how user interfaces are put together. Now to see what the user interface is, and how that works, I'm going to move to the project panel here and double click on the scenes folder. When I do this, I'm being presented with a range of different scenes that I can open up and take a look to see how they're put together. I want to take a look at the Menu 3D scene here. So I'm going to double click on that, and actually what this scene presents is simply a main menu for a typical game here, or at least, a sci-fi game.
Now to show you this in more detail, I'm going to hov my mouse over the game tab here, and then maximize that by pressing Shift, space on the keyboard here. So here we have this main menu. I'm going to press Play on the tool bar to initiate playback. And we can see that not only do we have a menu, but we have menu animations. So as I hover, for example, my cursor over the buttons you can see that they respond to indicate the the cursor is hovering over that particular button. I can also click on buttons, for example the setting button, to display a range of different options that might apply to a game.
So, for example, I can click on the video button to display a video menu, allowing me to tweak the quality settings of the game. I can also activate, for example, the option anti-aliasing, ambient occlusion. I'm going to leave those deactivated and choose close. I don't think that in the case of this sample they really make a difference anyway. But the idea is that this is presenting you with an example of the classic user interface, that is a UI. So what exactly is a user interface? Simply put, a user interface has two main purposes.
Purpose number one, is that they display information to the gamer. And purpose number two, is that they allow the gamer to access features inside the game. So, for example, this whole main menu allows us to access the main game options, like creating a new game, saving games, tweaking the options, all that kind of stuff. We get access to all of that through these menus, buttons, panels. All of this is part of the user interface. Now in a typical game, like a space game like this, when we start playing the game we may have additional user interface elements.
We might have score displays, the names of characters, mini maps. We might have other kinds of heads us displays. We may have buttons, we may have scroll bars, progress bars. All of this kind of stuff is really included in the remit of user interfaces and they represent a fundamental part of your game for increasing its usability, its accessibility, its appeal. Interfaces can make games much, much easier to use. They can help players understand how the game should be played.
So user interfaces play a critical part in pretty much every kind of game, both standard desktop games, mobile games, console games, and even VR games. So, pretty much any kind of game you can think of, it needs at least some kind of user interface aspect. In subsequent movies, we're going to be taking a look at the practical steps to see how we can put together a user interface.
- Creating a UI
- Working with text and buttons
- UI layouts
- Visual scripting
- Animation fundamentals
- Creating keyframe animation
- Controlling playback
- Importing character animations
- User input and animation