Beginner’s Guide to Unity - How to Download and Install Unity and Visual Studio
April 19 2022
Unity Engine is a free game engine software most often used for game development, interactive simulations and AR/VR experiences. Besides Unreal Engine, Unity is one of the main choices for beginner developers who want to build real-time 2D or 3D games or applications for smartphones, desktops or XR headsets.
Unity is using C# as a primary programming language which is easier to grasp for beginners due to forgiving syntax than Unreal. To create your first project in Unity we’ll need to install Unity Hub, Unity Editor and Visual Studio.
One of the best parts of Unity is that you can extend its use for multiple platforms and uses. You can develop for mobile (Android and iOS), tablets, desktops, consoles and AR/VR headsets and different operating systems (Windows, MacOS, or Linux).
For a quick video guide, check out Mitchell’s walkthrough:
In this mini guide, we’ll be installing Unity and Visual Studio on your desktop/laptop and start our first project. Depending on your project needs you can always extend the functionality of Unity by downloading plugins (SDKs or APIs). For example, if you’re building an AR game for iPhones you’ll need to install ARFoundation and ARKit SDKs.
Note: In the guide, we are assuming that you are a complete beginner to Unity and you’re installing the software for the first time. The following steps are our recommendations to get it up and running as fast as possible. Whenever you’re downloading a new Unity version, make sure it’s an “LTS” version which might be different from the latest version.
Unity System Requirements
The system requirements for running Unity are fairly low so you should be ok with most laptops and desktops released in the last three to five years. However, if you’re going to run graphically intensive simulations, develop 3D games, or AR/VR experiences, you might want to check the hardware recommendations before you start the development process.
Most modern applications are going to demand strong CPU and GPU processing power which can be restricted to people with gaming PCs and laptops. Mac computers can run Unity and support application development but there’s a reason why most games are made for PC due to OS infrastructure and plain hardware performance and modular upgrade optionality.
|Minimum requirements||Windows||macOS||Linux (Support in Preview)|
|Operating system version||Windows 7 (SP1+), Windows 10 and Windows 11, 64-bit versions only||High Sierra 10.13+||Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and CentOS 7|
|CPU||X64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support||X64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support||X64 architecture with SSE2 instruction set support|
|Graphics API||DX10, DX11, and DX12-capable GPUs||Metal-capable Intel and AMD GPUs||OpenGL 3.2+ or Vulkan-capable, Nvidia and AMD GPUs.|
|Additional requirements||Hardware vendor officially supported drivers||Apple officially supported drivers||Gnome desktop environment running on top of X11 windowing system, Nvidia official proprietary graphics driver or AMD Mesa graphics driver. Other configuration and user environments have provided stock with the supported distribution (Kernel, Compositor, etc.)|
|For all operating systems, the Unity Editor is supported on workstations or laptop form factors, running without emulation, container or compatibility layer.|
Note: For special project needs check out Unity’s system documentation.
10 Steps to Install Unity on Your Computer (Technical Steps)
- Go to Unity.com and click on Get Started button on the top right side of the navigational menu
- Under Plans and Pricing choose “Individual” plan and either Student or Personal option
- Download Unity Hub for your OS
- Download a version of Unity Assistant Installer — we always recommend downloading the latest Long Term Support (LTS) release. You’ll find them on here
- Go through the Unity Installer prompt checks like Terms and Services, Licenses, Components and location on your hard drive where you want to install it. At the minimum you’ll have to install Unity Editor (Unity 2020.3.28f1 - your version might look different) and Visual Studio for Mac/Windows. Note: If you’re on Windows you’ll have to start the UnityDownloadAssistant[unity version].exe file. If you’re on Mac you’ll have to double-click on the UnityDownloadAssistant.dmg file. Note: You can install the Unity Editor and/or Visual Studio from your Unity Hub at any point. Just click the Add Button and select it from the menu.
- Open a Unity Hub and Create an Account. You will receive a confirmation email. Confirm your new Unity Account.
- You’ll be redirected to the id.unity.com window where you’ll create a unity id.. Sign in into your Unity Hub with your Unity ID (email and password).
- Launch Unity Hub and click on the Sign in button.
- In the Unity Hub you’ll be prompted to install the Unity Editor. Make sure it's the LTS version. You’ll be prompted with another License Agreement.
- Once Installation is complete, click on Projects and New Projects. That’s it! You’ve just installed Unity!
Now that you’ve successfully installed Unity, you should get familiar with the Unity Editor and its Interface. With your first run of Unity, the program will recommend a couple of templates to start with already.
If you’re already looking to get started by making your own version of a popular AR mobile game Pokémon Go, check out our 8-hour mini course Intro to AR. If you’re stuck on any Unity project, feel free to engage with our XR Slack Community.