The Best Unity Assets for Game Developers (2020 Edition)
Unity’s mission has been to democratize game development and put developers in the best position to succeed. One avenue that they used to fulfill that goal is the Unity Asset Store. Here, developers can search for various assets that they can seamlessly integrate into their game projects within the Unity engine. Examples of Unity3D assets include shaders, scripts, graphical tools, 3D models, animations, plug-ins, SDK’s, and much more. This benefits the content creators and service providers as well as the customers that implement the assets; saving valuable development hours.
The Unity Asset Store May Sale began on May 18, 2020 and will conclude on May 31, 2020 23:59:59 Pacific Time. Customers can save up to 50% on select complete projects and template assets.
Featured Unity Asset Bundles
Previously, Unity Pro Subscribers could choose from the below as an added bonus:
Amplify Shader Editor is a node-based shader creation tool. I like it because it has an interface that appeals to both programmers and artists alike. You can connect nodes to each other and adjust the respective properties thanks to Amplify’s UI design.
Behaviour Designer allows Unity developers to create behaviour trees in order to control in-game elements of artificial intelligence.
Gaia is an all-in-one terrain generator designed for game artists to create in-game worlds at scale.
DevDog has built quite a few Unity assets, and Odin is one of their best. It allows you to optimize your project’s workflow and save thousands of development hours.
RootMotion also created the Final IK asset (found below), which pairs nicely with PuppetMaster. The ragdoll and behavior system makes it easy to add physics to your characters.
It enables developers to continue playing an animation on their ragdolls through physical muscle torque. This tool for animating ragdolls adds intelligence & realism to biped characters, so developers can dynamically adjust muscle and pin weights, edit colliders and joints in the Scene View.
UMotion Pro is one of the best animation tools for Unity.
You can purchase Unity Pro here:
A few common questions I often see on social media are “Which Unity Asset Should I Purchase?”, or “What are the best tools on the Unity Asset store”. Most of those answers refer to free Unity Assets, which in my opinion don’t need to be recommended, as there’s no risk to obtaining free Unity assets (perhaps with implementing them into live production, or maybe with the time it takes to test them). I might benefit if you decide to purchase any of these items, but it does not affect the asset publisher in any way. Also, if you are an asset publisher or know one that would like to be featured in this list, please feel free to contact me and I’ll take a look.
Tip 2: If you find an asset that you really like, but can’t currently afford, you should add it to your wishlist. The Unity Asset Store (or the publisher) will occasionally have promotional discounts – sometimes multiple assets will go on sale at the same time, so check back frequently to find deals! Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and May Madness sales occur on a regular basis.
The answer to the question of which paid unity assets you should purchase depends entirely on your needs. A developer well-versed in programming but lacking in artistic or design ability may be interested in 3D models and other art assets. At the same time, a more creative developer may need some pre-built scripts to compensate for their lack of programming expertise. In no particular orders, here are some of the top ten game development software tools that I found on the Unity Asset Store:
Networking & Online Gameplay Tools in the Unity Asset Store
Best HTTP (Pro Edition) is a network plugin for Unity3D. It supports REST, WebSocket, Socket.IO, and SignalR request customization (others as well). This would be ideal for games that involve online multiplayer gameplay as a core design component.
Photon PUN+ is a networking plugin for Unity Games. It includes cloud game hosting for up to 100 concurrent players, which could be quite useful for beta testing new games.
General Unity Plugins & Assets
The Advanced Tools Mega Pack by Ultimate Game Tools combines multiple tools into one valuable bundle, which helps developers cut down on cost. It includes Mesh Simplify, Concave Collider, Ultimate Rope Editor, and more.
Obfuscator helps you protect your game’s code and art assets from reverse engineering.
Nottorus is a scripting and debugging tool for Unity that helps game programmers visualize logic similar to the Unreal engine.
UFPS : Ultimate FPS is a Unity project template for First-Person Shooters (FPS). FPS games have been around since the earliest days of PC Gaming. This templates allow game creators to get started without having to reinvent the wheel.
Master Audio: AAA Sound is Unity’s premier audio solution. A game’s sound & music can be one of its best qualities.
LipSync Pro can be quite useful if you use a lot of character dialogue in your game.
Edy’s Vehicle Physics will help you not have to reinvent the wheel (no pun intended) when figuring out how to adjust your game’s physics. Of course, you may choose to not use realistic physics for certain types of racing games, which is your prerogative as a game developer.
Editor Console Pro is a Unity editor extension. While Unity already has an editor console included, this asset provides additional functionality in order to enhance productivity.
A* Pathfinding Project Pro is scripting/AI Unity Asset. It is used to help program the pathfinding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in games. This would be to instruct enemies how to move in the game.
Essential Unity Assets for Virtual Reality Development
Final IK can save you time with their advanced character animation systems for Unity Games.
VR Panorama by OliVR
VR Panorama 360 allows you to render 4K videos and 360-degree panoramas in Unity.
Curved UI is useful for creating a UI in VR. You can have normal menus in VR like you can in flat-screen games. The reason is that players are looking at things with two lenses, so the menus must be displayed in space.
Game Art, Animation & Design Assets for Unity
DaiMangou’s goal is to create assets that don’t require any coding, which is a noble effort. Their Pro Radar Builder has been used in virtual reality games like ioMoon and Space Pirate Trainer. They also have the Storyteller asset.
VertExmotion Pro by Kalagaan is a shader-based softbody system combined with a procedural animation system. It allows for the easy animation of things like hair and clothes.
Colorful FX is a set of fullscreen & (game) camera effects for Unity games. It is particularly useful for color adjustments and post-processing effects.
Mega-Fiers is a system for implementing animation, deformation, and morphing modifiers. Such modifications can give your game more visual complexity. The asset publisher also released Mega Shapes, which is great for level design:
Surforge is a tool for 3D-rendered texturing. It’s even great for those still learning the basics of game textures and 3D modelling.
NGUI: Next-Gen UI is a Graphical User Interface (GUI) plugin on the Unity Asset Store. Outside of the actual gameplay mechanics, well-design GUI’s are key to a making a game playable. Players could be switching weapons, adjusting controls or music volume, pausing the game, or a plethora of other possibilities, but they must be able to navigate options seamlessly. NGUI has drag & drop controls already made so that developers don’t need to invest time in making a UI from scratch.
Octave3D helps Unity developers build levels with prefabs.
Playmaker by Hutong Games LLC is one of the Asset Store’s all-time best sellers. It’s a visual scripting tool for Unity that was used in games like Hearthstone.
UBER Standard Shader Ultra allows game developers to add AAA shaders to their scenes.
2D Unity Game Assets
Rex Engine: Classic 2D Platformer Engine is a 2D platformer engine built on top of Unity. It has a ton of classic game mechanics and a completely custom 2D physics engine.
Platformer PRO 2 is a 2D/2.5D kit for Unity developers that helps them create platformer games. It includes built-in functionality to do the hard parts for them, such as jump physics and other movement systems.
Super Tilemap Editor gives game developers an easy way to create tile-based games. For those of you that aren’t familiar with tilemaps, they are a set of tiles that make up the building blocks of some 2D games. It was, and still is, a widespread technique that originally created to work with memory usage and graphics performance limitations on previous generations of hardware.
Pro Camera 2D by Luis Pedro Fonseca is the definitive 2D & 2.5D Unity camera plugin. It has many necessary features for 2D game development projects, like orthographic & perspective cameras. A Finalist in the 2016 Asset Store Awards, it is fully compatible with Unity 2019. It also includes PlayMaker custom actions (see above).
Corgi Engine is a solution for creating 2D & 2.5D platformer games in Unity. Notable examples of the platformer genres include the Mario Bros. and Metroid game franchises. Adding 2D game support to Unity was a frequent request for years. While the native editor has improved, this is almost a new game engine within an engine. There’s also a Corgi Mega Bundle containing handcrafted 2D art.
The creator of Corgi Engine, More Mountains, also release a 2D game development tool, TopDown Engine, for games that have a perspective from above. Famous examples of this game view styles include the early iterations of the Zelda and Final Fantasy game series.
DoozyUI is another UI tool for Unity that’s compatible with any other asset that uses uGUI correctly since it only works with native components.
DOTween Pro is a tool to help with game animations and transitions.
Mesh Baker allows you to combine meshes, which could improve the memory/graphical performance of Unity games.
Fingers Touch Gestures is useful for mobile games that require special touch controls.
Environment, Terrain, and World Building Assets for Unity Games
World Creator Professional is a procedural terrain & landscape generator for Unity. BiteTheBytes won the Best Game Technology award.
TerrainComposer 2 is a node based terrain generator for Unity. It makes it easy for developers to create visually stunning game environments.
Fantasy Environment is a collection of various game props and materials to give a mythical vibe for games made in Unity.
POLYQUEST Worlds is a pack of exquisite low poly game art assets compatible with both mobile and virtual reality games. While $299.99 may seem like a steep price tag for some indies, bear in mind that amount is only a fraction of what a professional technical artist would earn in a month. Also note that it would very likely take more than a month to reproduce these scenes.
Low Poly Unity Assets
POLYGON – Pirates Pack is a set of low poly graphical assets fit for pirate games.
Synty Studios also published another series:
Conclusion and Honorable Mentions
Here are a few previously listed assets that are now either free, included with Unity itself, or otherwise no longer available:
Text Mesh Pro by Stephan Bouchard
(Update: 7/22/2017 – There is now a free version of this plugin available on the Unity Asset Store.)
Text Mesh Pro is a tool that helps Unity developers create customized text inside their games.
Shader Forge by Freya ‘Acegikmo’ Holmér
Update: Shader Forge is no longer available. More info here on Twitter.
Shader Forge was a Unity asset that helps game developers create and adjust shaders. Shaders are how games adjust lighting, darkness, and various visual special effects.
ProCore Bundle by ProCore
Update: ProBuilder is now apart of Unity itself! Congratulations to the team. More info is here on Unity’s blog: https://blogs.unity3d.com/2018/02/15/probuilder-joins-unity-offering-integrated-in-editor-advanced-level-design/
ProCore Bundle is a suite of level design apps for Unity. It is intended to allow developers to complete tasks that would normally have to be done within separate programs, such as Maya or Max. This change in the process of making a game reflects upon a wave within software development as a whole: rapid prototyping. As many Indie developer teams consist only of a handful of people, it is essential that they quickly iterate on new game level builds. It is a handy tool that solves the issue of how to build static meshes in Unity.
DevDog’s Inventory Pro was a Unity3D asset that allowed game developers to manages their in-game inventory systems, which can include items, equipment, weapons, and currencies. It was a must-have for most RPG games, as they usually involve quite a few items.
After reading some reviews of these assets, I noticed that some customers have asked: ‘Why isn’t this included natively in Unity’. This highlights one of the great reason why Unity Assets are great for the indie game development ecosystem. Unity Asset Store publishers can fill gaps left by missing features and capabilities in the engine itself. Solo developers or small teams can save valuable time by purchasing these ready-to-use assets, and asset creators get a share of each sale for their efforts. Symbiotic relationships like these are key towards developing a beneficial ecosystem.
Did I miss any? Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll check it out. Thanks for reading!
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