Learning Unity – Where and How to Search
One of the great things about Unity is the wealth of online resources, in the form of both official documentation, the forums, the Wiki, and other user-created content. However for newcomers it can often be less than obvious where to look for help, and how best to search when you get there.
The Unity forums, the Scripting Reference, and the Wiki each have their own search functions, which work well in some situations – for example, if you know exactly the name of the function that you want to look up. However if your search for knowledge is somewhat less clearly defined, you may find your searches drawing a blank – even if you know that the information you want is in there somewhere! This is where Google can help. None of the in-site searches work as well as using Google’s “Site Search” feature. To use this, you have to add a search operator to your search. For example, to search the Unity documentation for “animation”, you would enter this into the search box: (Click the link to see the results)
It so happens that Unity’s forums are also hosted under that domain, so those results will show hits from both the documentation and the forums. This is starting to become more useful, but we can do better.
You could in theory add more and more search operators, so that your results include hits from other sites such as the Wiki too, however there is a better way. It’s called a Google Custom Search. With a custom search, you can set up a whole list of sites, including specific subdomains or directories to search within, and have it grouped under a single saved definition.
I have created just such a custom search. Here’s the link: (bookmark it!)
This custom search includes results from the following sites:
- Unity3d.com : for results from the Manual, Scripting Reference and User Forums.
- The Unity Wiki : for user contributed code and articles.
- MSDN : for looking up .net classes and methods – most of which you can use in Unity.
- NVidia : for results relating to shader coding – again, most of which work with Unity.
- A handful of Unity community sites, for looking up unity tutorials, games, blogs, etc.
All in all, I find it very useful as my first port of call when looking for help or reference for Unity. I hope it helps some of you out too.
. : .As an addendum, I will add that there is another incredibly helpful Unity resource, however it is not searchable. I speak of the fabled Unity IRC channel, wherein – it is told – magical creatures dwell, who may or may not help you on your quest.