Importing Assets

In Unity 5

Adding assets to a Unity project is as easy as dragging and dropping.  For image files, depending on whether your project is set to 2D or 3D, images will default to either sprite or texture respectively.  Unity imports like a boss and the drag and drop method happens to be my favorite.

Once imported, Unity tags on all the bells and whistles needed for said files to be imported into the scene.  Some assets can be dragged into a scene, while others cannot.  Mostly, it’s models for 3D games and sprites for 2D games.


However, if you fancy alternatives, look no further than below.  Unity allows you to manually import assets by selecting Assets > Import New Asset.  This brings up an explorer dialogue similar to the kind that shows when you are opening a file in an ordinary windows program, like word.

This dialogue is useful because it shows you what can or cannot be imported via unity.  Unity Pro also allows certain movie files to import and attach to models as animated textures, though that one takes a bit of effort to work right.  I’ll save that for an advanced tutorial.


Aside from ordinary assets, Unity also allows importing of it’s own unique file type, the package.  A Unity package is a cluster of assets that already have all the Unity specs sewed onto them.  Packages are a great way to export your Unity-made assets for use in another project because it allows them to cross over between projects without losing their settings or dependencies.

To export a package, first highlight all the objects you want to export in project folders.  Then, go to Assets > Export Package.  Unity will gather up those assets and anything they’re referencing, showing you a list to confirm.  Say yes and Unity will export your assets as a custom package.

A word of note though
  • Your packaged assets will often be more than what you selected, because Unity has to export both the assets and their dependencies in order to retain their information.
  • You can even export a scene file in the same manner by selecting it in the Project view.

Unity can import custom packages using a command in the same area.  Just select Assets > Import Package > Custom Package.  This will bring up a dialogue to open a unity package that you might have lying around.  Once you’ve found it, you may import the file via the dialogue to bring it into the game.

Unity packages retain their original folder destinations, so you may see some folders overwritten and assets overwritten as well if you use similar naming conventions.  A word of warning, though.  Any files overwritten via an asset package import are final, so make sure you have a backup if you are working between multiple versions of the same project.


Lastly, if you are looking for new assets, you can always take a trip to the Unity Asset Store.  The Asset Store carries all sorts of free and paid assets for any game development project.  You can pretty well build a game from scratch using only free assets, because there are a lot of them.  Load up the asset store by going to Window > Asset Store to bring up the internal window.


Once inside, you may navigate to your preferred domain via the tree on the right of the window.  For instance, I navigated to 3D Models > Characters > Animals > Mammals to find a free animated horse.  Once you like what you see, click the download button and follow the dialogues that come afterward.

Unity distributes these files as asset packages, so they will import into your project much the same way that custom asset packages do.  In fact, making asset packages is more or less how sellers post their bits on the Asset Store in the first place.


That’s all for now, though.  Come and join me on the next tutorial!

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