lesson 9: Help
In this lesson we'll look at Help; what's available and where to find it. Version and licensing information are available here. Help is where license management takes place.
Fig. 9.1 illustrates the Help drop-down menu.
Help offers informational resources but also helps you to manage your software and any additional licenses. The first choice, About Unity launches a Window showing your version of Unity. It displays a continuing scroll of the Unity development team and lists the other technologies, such as the Mono Project, which have been integrated into Unity. In the lower right hand corner is displayed the License type for Unity and any additional platform publishing licenses. The absence of a license for a particular platform in this list does not necessarily mean that publication to that platform is prohibited; many platforms do not require a license. Note that these additional licenses are for use of Unity's additional publishing packages. They are issued by Unity rather than the platform owners themselves. Copyright information as well as the installation's unique "Serial number" are also found here.
Unity Manual opens up an offline copy in the operator's default browser. The Unity Manual that is opened through Unity is typically the best reference as it will match your version. Http://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/index.html is the on-line location of the most up-to-date Manual. Of course, if you do not have the latest Unity version (not always a bad thing), the Unity Manual is bound to reference features lacking in your installation.
Scripting Reference exists alongside the Unity Manual. It provides reference for scripting. Often in transitioning from "Hello World" code examples to real-world usage, novice programmers will encounter and be intimidated by code they've never seen before. Typically this un-encountered code consists of class, function, and variable names specific to the software they are developing. The un-encountered code isn't something the novice programmer is expected to know; it's something he or she is expected to learn. Code specific to Unity is learned from studying Scripting Reference.
By now you know that anytime you see the word Vuforia (as in Vuforia Engine), it refers to Augmented Reality development, aka, AR. Since this book is about VR we can skip this section.
Premium Expert Help – Beta (as of the time of this writing) connects you to a community expert for “1:1 help to solve your toughest Unity questions.” As the name suggests, this is a premium service. You can select your expert according to reputation, specialty, and minute-ly rate, beginning at $1/min.
Unity Services links to online blurbs about “world-class services for monetizing, making, and improving your game.” Unity Ads, Unity Analytics, Unity Collaborate, and Unity Multiplayer are just some of the services that can be leveraged to better make and monetize your game. These services are available at different price points depending on your use status: Pro, Plus, or Personal. Activated Services are made available through the Service View.
Unity's provided reference materials won't always anticipate what knowledge is needed to complete a specific task. They certainly won't anticipate solutions to software bugs. If you encounter a problem in Unity, chances are good that someone else has encountered it first. Chances are fair to middling that someone has even posted a solution! The best places to look for such solutions are in Unity Forums and Unity Answers. The Unity developers are always looking for suggestions as to how Unity can be improved. If you have a notion about how to make the world's best engineered engine even better, be sure to click on Unity Feedback. This will launch Unity's online feedback management system in your default browser. In addition to giving suggestions, you can view, vote up, and socialize other users' suggestions.
Check for Updates checks for updates. If a newer version is available, a download link will present itself. Clicking the link will take you to a page that will allow you to download and install a completely new version of Unity through Unity Hub. Unity Hub “provides a convenient new way to manage your Unity projects and installations. You can use the Hub to create your Project, associate a default version of the Unity Editor with the project, and manage the installation of multiple versions of the Editor.” As with any upgrade, create a .unitypackage back-up first!
Download Beta downloads the Beta, if you first join the Open Beta program. Joining involves clicking on a link that says “Join our Open Beta program” and takes you immediately to the Beta download pages.
Manage License quite fittingly opens the Window License Management. This Window offers several buttons for pressing: Check for updates, Activate new license, Return license, Manual activation, Buy Professional Edition, Help, and FAQ. Next to each button is a succinct and serviceable description. It is safe to gloss over these descriptions until a need to read arises. Be aware, however, that in order to activate an in-use Unity license on another computer or laptop it must first be returned. This process is a form of DRM.
Release Notes opens to a webpage. The Release Notes webpage lists information about what has changed between the previous version of Unity and the one you are currently using. When weighing the pros and cons of attempting a Unity update, Release Notes proves an invaluable resource.
Software Licenses opens up a text file containing all the licensing types (and explanations thereof if somehow exceptional) of the software that comprises Unity.
You just had to have the newest, shiniest version of Unity, didn't you? You didn't follow any of the aforementioned advice, did you? You just clicked on "Update" like you didn't have a care in the world. Welcome to Report a Bug. If in the course of normal operations you encounter a problem with Unity, you should report the problem to its developers. Report a Bug will launch the Unity Bug Reporter questionnaire, prompting you to "describe the problem in as much detail as possible." Note that in addition to the details you provide, Unity automatically collects information about your OS and running applications. If you are OK with this and feel you've filled out the form adequately, click Send Error Report. Otherwise re-edit or abort by clicking Don't Send. The Unity developers' bug-squashing efforts are very proactive. Reporting bugs will help ensure that you and your fellow developers encounter fewer and fewer problems throughout the version's life-cycle.
Reset Packages to defaults resets Packages to defaults. This shouldn't be necessary unless you encounter unwanted, confusing, or conflicting behavior with respect to the Packages you've installed.
Troubleshoot Issue opens up the Troubleshooter window. It contains links that are mostly redundant. For example, it provides a “Unity answers” link that can also be accessed earlier in the Help menu drop-down.
In this lesson we looked at Help. License management was discussed. We learned of several sources of documentation and human assistance. We learned that upgrading Unity should not be treated as a foregone conclusion; upgrading can have dire consequences. Doing so should only result as a decision informed of the pros and cons.