Microsoft Visual Studio Unity For Mac

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Unity is a game engine that enables you to develop games in C#. This walkthrough shows how to get started developing and debugging Unity games using Visual Studio for Mac and the Visual Studio for Mac Tools for Unity extension alongside the Unity environment.

Visual Studio for Mac Tools for Unity is a free extension, installed with Visual Studio for Mac. It enables Unity developers to take advantage of the productivity features of Visual Studio for Mac, including excellent IntelliSense support, debugging features, and more.


Dec 13, 2019 Using Visual Studio for Mac Tools for Unity.; 3 minutes to read +1; In this article. In this section, you'll learn how to use Visual Studio for Mac Tools for Unity's integration and productivity features, and how to use the Visual Studio for Mac debugger for Unity development. Customize the coding environment exactly the way you want – choose your favorite theme, color, fonts, and all the other settings. In addition, create Unity script methods inside Visual Studio quickly by using the Implement MonoBehaviours and the Quick MonoBehaviours Wizards. Oct 25, 2019 Visual Studio Tools for Unity.; 2 minutes to read +8; In this article. Visual Studio Tools for Unity is a free Visual Studio extension that turns Visual Studio into a powerful tool for developing cross-platform games and apps with Unity. Unity is a powerful solution to create games for a multitude of platforms, from mobiles to consoles, desktop and web games. Since Unity 5.2, Visual Studio and the Visual Studio Tools for Unity have been the default experience on Windows. When we released Visual Studio for Mac last year.

  • Learn about Unity development with Visual Studio for Mac

May 28, 2018  For 2018.1 beta testers, you can try the following builds of the Visual Studio Tools for Unity. What will change? With those versions, instead of generating from scratch Visual Studio projects, the Tools for Unity are going to participate in Unity's project generation.


  • Visual Studio for Mac (https://www.visualstudio.com/vs/mac)
  • Unity 5.6.1 Personal Edition or higher (https://store.unity.com, requires a unity.com account to run)

Intended Audience

This lab is intended for developers who are familiar with C#, although deep experience is not required.

Task 1: Creating a basic Unity project

  1. Launch Unity. Sign in if requested.

  2. Click New.

  3. Set the Project name to 'UnityLab' and select 3D. Click Create project.

  4. You're now looking at the default Unity interface. It has the scene hierarchy with game objects on the left, a 3D view of the blank scene shown in the middle, a project files pane on the bottom, and inspector and services on the right. Of course, there's a lot more to it than that, but those are few of the more important components.

  5. For developers new to Unity, everything that runs in your app will exist within the context of a scene. A scene file is a single file that contains all sorts of metadata about the resources used in the project for the current scene and its properties. When you package your app for a platform, the resulting app will end up being a collection of one or more scenes, plus any platform-dependent code you add. You can have as many scenes as desired in a project.

  6. The new scene just has a camera and a directional light in it. A scene requires a camera for anything to be visible and an Audio Listener for anything to be audible. These components are attached to a GameObject.

  7. Select the Main Camera object from the Hierarchy pane.

  8. Select the Inspector pane from the right side of the window to review its properties. Camera properties include transform information, background, projection type, field of view, and so on. An Audio Listener component was also added by default, which essentially renders scene audio from a virtual microphone attached to the camera.

  9. Select the Directional Light object. This provides light to the scene so that components like shaders know how to render objects.

  10. Use the Inspector to see that it includes common lighting properties including type, color, intensity, shadow type, and so on.

  11. It is important to point out that projects in Unity are a little different from their Visual Studio for Mac counterparts. In the Project tab on the bottom, right-click the Assets folder and select Reveal in Finder.

  12. Projects contain Assets, Library, ProjectSettings, and Temp folders as you can see. However, the only one that shows up in the interface is the Assets folder. The Library folder is the local cache for imported assets; it holds all metadata for assets. The ProjectSettings folder stores settings you can configure. The Temp folder is used for temporary files from Mono and Unity during the build process. There is also a solution file that you can open in Visual Studio for Mac (UnityLab.sln here).

  13. Close the Finder window and return to Unity.

  14. The Assets folder contains all your assets-art, code, audio, etc. It's empty now, but every single file you bring into your project goes here. This is always the top-level folder in the Unity Editor. But always add and remove files via the Unity interface (or Visual Studio for Mac) and never through the file system directly.

  15. The GameObject is central to development in Unity as almost everything derives from that type, including models, lights, particle systems, and so on. Add a new Cube object to the scene via the GameObject > 3D Object > Cube menu.

  16. Take a quick look at the properties of the new GameObject and see that it has a name, tag, layer, and transform. These properties are common to all GameObjects. In addition, several components were attached to the Cube to provide needed functionality including mesh filter, box collider, and renderer.

  17. Rename the Cube object, which has the name 'Cube' by default, to 'Enemy'. Make sure to press Enter to save the change. This will be the enemy cube in our simple game.

  18. Add another Cube object to the scene using the same process as above, and name this one 'Player'.

  19. Tag the player object 'Player' as well (see Tag drop-down control just under name field). We'll use this in the enemy script to help locate the player game object.

  20. In the Scene view, move the player object away from the enemy object along the Z axis using the mouse. You can move along the Z axis by selecting and dragging the cube by its red panel toward the blue line. Since the cube lives in 3D space, but can only be dragged in 2D each time, the axis on which you drag is especially important.

  21. Move the cube downward and to the right along the axis. This updates the Transform.Position property in the Inspector. Be sure to drag to a location similarly to what's shown here to make later steps easier in the lab.

  22. Now you can add some code to drive the enemy logic so that it pursues the player. Right-click the Assets folder in the Project pad and select Create > C# Script.

  23. Name the new C# script 'EnemyAI'.

  24. To attach scripts to game objects drag the newly created script onto the Enemy object in the Hierarchy pane. Now that object will use behaviors from this script.

  25. Select File > Save Scenes to save the current scene. Name it 'MyScene'.

Task 2: Working with Visual Studio for Mac Tools for Unity

  1. The best way to edit C# code is to use Visual Studio for Mac. You can configure Unity to use Visual Studio for Mac as its default handler. Select Unity > Preferences.

  2. Select the External Tools tab. From the External Script Editor dropdown, select Browse and select Applications/Visual Studio.app. Alternatively, if there's already a Visual Studio option, just select that.

  3. Unity is now configured to use Visual Studio for Mac for script editing. Close the Unity Preferences dialog.

  4. Double-click EnemyAI.cs to open it in Visual Studio for Mac.

  5. The Visual Studio solution is straightforward. It contains an Assets folder (the same one from Finder) and the EnemyAI.cs script created earlier. In more sophisticated projects, the hierarchy will likely look different than what you see in Unity.

  6. EnemyAI.cs is open in the editor. The initial script just contains stubs for the Start and Update methods.

  7. Replace the initial enemy code with the code below.

  8. Take a quick look at the simple enemy behavior that is defined here. In the Start method, we get a reference to the player object (by its tag), as well as its transform. In the Update method, which is called every frame, the enemy will move towards the player object. The keywords and names use color coding to make it easier to understand the codebase in Visual Studio for Mac.

  9. Save the changes to the enemy script in Visual Studio for Mac.

Task 3: Debugging the Unity project

  1. Set a breakpoint on the first line of code in the Start method. You can either click in the editor margin at the target line or place cursor on the line and press F9.

  2. Click the Start Debugging button or press F5. This will build the project and attach it to Unity for debugging.

  3. Return to Unity and click the Run button to start the game.

  4. The breakpoint should be hit and you can now use the Visual Studio for Mac debugging tools.

  5. From the Locals pad, locate the this pointer, which references an EnemyAI object. Expand the reference and see that you can browse the associated members like Speed.

  6. Remove the breakpoint from the Start method the same way it was added-by either clicking it in the margin or selecting the line and press F9.

  7. Press F10 to step over the first line of code that finds the Player game object using a tag as parameter.

  8. Hover the mouse cursor over the player variable within the code editor window to view its associated members. You can even expand the overlay to view child properties.

  9. Press F5 or press the Run button to continue execution. Return to Unity to see the enemy cube repeatedly approach the player cube. You may need to adjust the camera if it's not visible.

  10. Switch back to Visual Studio for Mac and set a breakpoint on the first line of the Update method. It should be hit immediately.

  11. Suppose the speed is too fast and we want to test the impact of the change without restarting the app. Locate the Speed variable within the Autos or Locals window and then change it to '10' and press Enter.

  12. Remove the breakpoint and press F5 to resume execution.

  13. Return to Unity to view the running application. The enemy cube is now moving at a fifth of the original speed.

  14. Stop the Unity app by clicking the Play button again.

  15. Return to Visual Studio for Mac. Stop the debugging session by clicking the Stop button.

Task 4: Exploring Unity features in Visual Studio for Mac

  1. Visual Studio for Mac provides quick access to Unity documentation within the code editor. Place the cursor somewhere on the Vector3 symbol within the Update method and press ⌘ Command + '.

  2. A new browser window opens to the documentation for Vector3. Close the browser window when satisfied.

  3. Visual Studio for Mac also provides some helpers to quickly create Unity behavior classes. From Solution Explorer, right-click Assets and select Add > New MonoBehaviour.

  4. The newly created class provides stubs for the Start and Update methods. After the closing brace of the Update method, start typing 'onmouseup'. As you type, notice that Visual Studio's IntelliSense quickly zeros in on the method you're planning to implement. Select it from the provided autocomplete list. It will fill out a method stub for you, including any parameters.

  5. Inside the OnMouseUp method, type 'base.' to see all of the base methods available to call. You can also explore the different overloads of each function using the paging option in the top-right corner of the IntelliSense flyout.

  6. Visual Studio for Mac also enables you to easily define new shaders. From Solution Explorer, right-click Assets and select Add > New Shader.

  7. The shader file format gets full color and font treatment to make it easier to read and understand.

  8. Return to Unity. You'll see that since Visual Studio for Mac works with the same project system, changes made in either place are automatically synchronized with the other. Now it's easy to always use the best tool for the task.


In this lab, you've learned how to get started creating a game with Unity and Visual Studio for Mac. See https://unity3d.com/learn to learn more about Unity.


In this section, you'll learn how to use Visual Studio for Mac Tools for Unity's integration and productivity features, and how to use the Visual Studio for Mac debugger for Unity development.

Opening Unity scripts in Visual Studio for Mac

Once Visual Studio for Mac is set as the external script editor for Unity, opening any script from the Unity editor will automatically launch or switch to Visual Studio for Mac, with the chosen script open.

Alternatively, Visual Studio for Mac can be opened with no script open in the source editor by selecting Open C# Project from the Assets menu in Unity.

Unity documentation access

Visual Studio for Mac Tools for Unity includes a shortcut for accessing the Unity API documentation. To access Unity API documentation from Visual Studio for Mac, place the cursor over the Unity API you want to learn about and press ⌘ command + ‘.

IntelliSense for Unity messages

The Unity engine broadcasts messages to MonoBehaviour scripts, allowing developers to write code that reacts to messages such as OnMouseDown, OnTriggerEnter, etc. Because these are not virtual methods in the base MonoBehaviour class, some IDEs such as MonoDevelop lack code completion functionality for Unity messages.

However, Visual Studio for Mac Tools for Unity extends its IntelliSense functionality to Unity messages. This makes it easy to implement Unity messages in MonoBehaviour scripts, and assists with learning the Unity API. To use IntelliSense for Unity messages:

  1. Place the cursor on a new line inside the body of a class that derives from MonoBehaviour.

  2. Begin typing the name of a Unity message, such as OnTriggerEnter.

  3. Once the letters 'ont' have been typed, a list of IntelliSense suggestions appears.

  4. The selection on the list can be changed in three ways:

    • With the Up and Down arrow keys.

    • By clicking with the mouse on the desired item.

    • By continuing to type the name of the desired item.

  5. IntelliSense can insert the selected Unity message, including any necessary parameters:

    • By pressing Tab.

    • By pressing Return.

    • By double-clicking the selected item.

Adding new Unity files and folders

While you can always add new files to a Unity project in the Unity editor, Visual Studio for Mac allows for easily creating new Unity scripts, shaders, structs, enums, and folders from within Visual Studio.

Add a new C# MonoBehaviour script

To add a new C# MonoBehaviour script, right-click on the Assets folder or one of its subdirectories in the Solution pad and select Add > New MonoBehaviour.

Add a new Unity shader

To add a new Unity shader, right-click on the Assets folder or a subdirectory in the Solution pad and select Add > New Shader.

Add a new folder

To add a new folder, right-click on the Assets folder or a subdirectory in the Solution pad and select Add > New Folder.

These additions are reflected in the Project window of the Unity editor.

To rename a file or folder

Visual Studio For Mac Tutorial

right-click on the item to rename in the Solution pad and select Rename....

Microsoft Visual Studio Unity For Mac Windows 7


C++ Visual Studio Mac

If you have a new Unity project with no scripts and the Assets folder does not show up in the Solution pad in Visual Studio for Mac, add an initial C# script from within the Unity editor.

Unity debugging

Unity projects can be debugged with Visual Studio for Mac.

Start debugging

To start debugging:

  1. Connect Visual Studio to Unity by clicking the Play button, or type Command + Return, or F5.

  2. Switch to Unity and click the Play button to run the game in the editor.

  3. When the game is running in the Unity editor while connected to Visual Studio, any breakpoints encountered will pause execution of the game and bring up the line of code where the game hit the breakpoint in Visual Studio for Mac.

Start Debugging in a Single Step

Starting debugging and playing the Unity editor can be completed in a single step directly from Visual Studio for Mac by choosing the Attach to Unity and Play configuration.

Stop debugging

To stop debugging:

  1. Click the Stop button in Visual Studio for Mac, or press Shift + Command + Return.


If you started debugging using the Attach to Unity and Play configuration, the Stop button will also stop the Unity.


To learn more about debugging in Visual Studio for Mac, see Using the debugger.