What makes a great #Unity3d asset? Which do you recommend?

Unity is still the only major game-engine with an effective, established Asset Store. This is an enormous benefit to game developers – but do you feel you’re making full use of it?

I’ve bought and used hundreds of Unity plugins, models, scripts, etc from 3rd parties. I’ve found some amazing things that transformed my development.

TL;DR: please share your recommended assets using this form: http://goo.gl/forms/G3vddOdRL3

Things we want to improve

This is a shortlist; if you’ve got areas you want to improve, please add a comment.

Challenge 1: Value

Quality is immensely variable – there are no standards on pricing. So sometimes you get an asset worth $30 and it’s free (amazingly). Other times you pay $30 and the asset is so poorly supported, and badly written, that you feel it’s not worth anything at all.

Unity has an excellent refund policy: basically, if you feel you were mis-sold, you get a quick, easy refund. (allegedly – I’ve never tried to get it, but I know others who have, and said it went fine).

Challenge 2: Quality

The Asset Store lets you see a few screenshots and a very hard-to-read description, along with optional customer short-reviews. But we’re an audience of experts! We can write – and we need – detailed, expert reviews.

Challenge 3: Comparison

Most things have 20 or more competing solutions on the Asset Store, but when you’re looking at one, you can’t see any of the others (unless they randomly appear on the listing). Most of the time, an asset is “almost but not quite right”, and you need direct competitors you can compare to.

Bonus: if this happened more, we’d see more competition-driven improvements to assets.

Challenge 4: Compatibility

Many assets are incompatible with common / standard assets. They shouldn’t be. But with no-one holding the authors to account, there’s no reason for them to change this.

On the other hand, many assets claim compatibility with each other, which boosts their sales. So compatibility guides should help everyone.

Challenge 5: Discovery

How do you know what to look for when you don’t know what exists?

For instance, some of the major bugs in Unity that are too niche for Unity to fix … have easily-purchasable assets that fully fix the problem. If you only knew this, you would have a better, more stable Unity.

Challenge 6: UX / GUI / Usability

Unity puts (almost) no limits on the usability of assets. This is great for freedom. But it’s bad for long-term development. Often you install an asset are immediately lost: how am I supposed to use this thing? Does it have a GUI? Or not? Where do I click?

It’s often a problem for 3D models (many are packaged incorrectly), and for editor-extensions (MANY of them have major bugs eg. no support for Undo, or they corrupt when moving stuff between scenes, or … etc).

What would help enormously is some standardization that asset authors can apply, and users know and know how to use.

What can we do about it?

My plan has a couple of stages:

  1. Compile a list of “best of the asset store”
  2. Solicit reviews of everything on the list, and peer-review them for accuracy/impartiality
  3. Create “best practices” standards for authors to follow
  4. Hilight assets that adopt the best-practices
  5. Start small, scale it by pushing out to Unity community to grow

Step 1: Share your favourite Asset-store assets!

Here’s a google form for sharing your favourites. NB: this will combine all the repeat recommendations for the same asset. If you add something someone else has added you’re effectively voting it to the top:

http://goo.gl/forms/G3vddOdRL3

One thought on “What makes a great #Unity3d asset? Which do you recommend?

  1. Andrew Crystall

    “Challenge 3: Comparison”

    Heh. Well, as an Unreal user, let me tell you that works far better than the crappy store Unreal has, because they don’t want to allow too much overlap between packages. The store is the one thing which really annoys me about Unreal (also that they stick it in their slow client rather than a web browser).

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