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Ali Ghadamkheir
Ali Ghadamkheir

PlayMode Scripting API: A Reference Guide for Unity Developers


Playmode: What Is It and Why Should You Use It?




If you are a game developer using Unity, you probably know what playmode is. But do you know why it is so useful and how to make the most of it? In this article, we will explain what playmode is, what are its benefits, what are some examples of playmode, how to use it in Unity, and some tips and tricks to improve your workflow.




playmode


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Introduction




Playmode is one of the core features of Unity. It allows you to test your game in the editor without having to build and run it. You can enter and exit playmode at any time, and see how your game behaves in real time. You can also interact with your game using the mouse, keyboard, or any other input device.


What is playmode?




Playmode is a mode in Unity that simulates your game as if it was running on a target platform. When you enter playmode, Unity creates a copy of your current scene and runs it in a separate process. This way, you can test your game without affecting your original scene or assets. You can also switch between edit mode and play mode as many times as you want, without losing any changes.


What are the benefits of playmode?




Playmode has many benefits for game development. Some of them are:


  • It saves you time and resources. You don't have to build and run your game every time you want to test it. You can just press the play button and see the results instantly.



  • It helps you debug and optimize your game. You can use the profiler and debugger tools in playmode to find and fix performance issues, errors, and bugs. You can also use breakpoints, watch variables, and inspect components in playmode.



  • It enhances your creativity and iteration speed. You can experiment with different ideas, settings, and parameters in playmode, and see how they affect your game. You can also modify your scene or assets while in playmode, and see the changes immediately.



What are some examples of playmode?




Playmode can be used for various purposes and scenarios. Some examples are:


  • Testing your game logic, mechanics, physics, animations, UI, sound, etc.



  • Testing your game on different resolutions, aspect ratios, quality settings, etc.



  • Testing your game with different input devices, such as mouse, keyboard, gamepad, touch screen, VR headset, etc.



  • Testing your multiplayer or networked game with multiple instances of Unity running in parallel.



  • Testing your procedural or dynamic content generation algorithms.



How to use playmode in Unity




Using playmode in Unity is very easy and intuitive. Here are some basic steps to follow:


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How to enable and disable playmode




To enter playmode, simply press the play button on the toolbar or press Ctrl+P (Cmd+P on Mac). To exit playmode, press the same button or key again. You can also use the pause button or Ctrl+Shift+P (Cmd+Shift+P on Mac) to pause or resume playmode.


How to save changes in playmode




By default, any changes you make in playmode are not saved when you exit it. This is because Unity creates a copy of your scene and assets and runs them in a separate process, so any changes you make are not reflected in your original scene or assets. However, sometimes you may want to save some changes you made in playmode, such as tweaking a parameter, adding a component, or modifying a script. To do that, you can use the following methods:


  • Use the Copy Component and Paste Component Values commands in the context menu of the Inspector window. This will copy and paste the values of a component from playmode to edit mode.



  • Use the Apply button in the Inspector window of a prefab instance. This will apply the changes you made to the prefab instance in playmode to the original prefab asset.



  • Use the Save Project command in the File menu or press Ctrl+S (Cmd+S on Mac). This will save all the changes you made to your assets in playmode, such as scripts, materials, textures, etc.



How to test your game logic in playmode




One of the main uses of playmode is to test your game logic, such as gameplay mechanics, physics interactions, animations, UI elements, sound effects, etc. To do that, you can use the following tools and features:


  • Use the Game view to see how your game looks and feels in playmode. You can adjust the resolution, aspect ratio, quality settings, etc. of the Game view to match your target platform.



  • Use the Console window to see any messages, warnings, or errors that are logged by your game or Unity in playmode. You can also use Debug.Log and Debug.LogError methods in your scripts to print custom messages to the console.



  • Use the Input System package to handle different input devices and actions in your game. You can create input actions and bindings for mouse, keyboard, gamepad, touch screen, VR headset, etc. and use them in your scripts.



  • Use the Animator window to see and edit the animation states and transitions of your animated characters or objects in playmode. You can also use the Animation window to create and modify animation clips.



  • Use the UI Toolkit package to create and style UI elements for your game. You can use UXML and USS files to define the structure and appearance of your UI elements, and use C# scripts to add interactivity and logic.



  • Use the Audio Mixer window to create and edit audio mixers and groups for your game. You can also use the Audio Source and Audio Listener components to play and control sound effects and music in your game.



How to use playmode settings and preferences




You can customize some settings and preferences for playmode to suit your needs and preferences. To do that, you can use the following options:


  • Use the PlayMode Options button on the toolbar to access some common settings for playmode, such as Auto Connect Profiler, Script Changes While Playing, Enter Play Mode Options (Experimental), etc.



  • Use the Preferences window in the Edit menu to access some more settings for playmode, such as PlayMode tint color, Pause on Error/Warning/Assert/Exception/Exit Play Mode/Domain Reload/Scene Reload/etc., Script Compilation During Play Mode (Experimental), etc.



  • Use the Project Settings window in the Edit menu to access some project-specific settings for playmode, such as Physics settings, Input settings, Quality settings, Time settings, etc.



Tips and tricks for playmode




Here are some tips and tricks that can help you improve your workflow and productivity with playmode:


How to change the playmode tint color




You can change the color of the editor window when you enter playmode. This can help you distinguish between edit mode and play mode visually. To do that, go to Edit > Preferences > Colors > PlayMode tint and choose a color from the color picker.


How to pause and step through playmode




You can pause and step through playmode using the pause button or Ctrl+Shift+P (Cmd+Shift+P on Mac) on the toolbar. This will pause your game at any point and allow you to inspect and modify anything in your scene or assets. You can also use the step button or Ctrl+Alt+P (Cmd+Opt+P on Mac) on the toolbar to advance your game by one frame at a time. This can help you debug and analyze your game logic and performance in detail.


How to use the profiler and debugger in playmode




You can use the profiler and debugger tools in playmode to find and fix any performance issues, errors, or bugs in your game. To do that, you can use the following windows:


  • Use the Profiler window to see how your game uses CPU, GPU, memory, rendering, audio, physics, networking, UI, etc. resources in playmode. You can also use the Profiler Recorder and Profiler Analyzer to record and analyze your game performance over time.



  • Use the Debugger window to see and modify the values of variables, properties, fields, etc. in your scripts in playmode. You can also use breakpoints, watch expressions, call stacks, locals, etc. to control and inspect the execution of your code.



How to use the scene view and gizmos in playmode




You can use the scene view and gizmos in playmode to see and edit your scene objects and components in playmode. To do that, you can use the following features:


  • Use the Scene view to see your scene from different perspectives and angles in playmode. You can also use the Scene view toolbar to switch between different tools, such as move, rotate, scale, rect, etc.



Use the Gizmos menu to toggle different gizmos on and off in playmode. Gizmos are visual indicators that show information about


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