Getting Started with Unity3D on Linux

If you have any sort of interest in game development, you’ve probably heard of Unity3D. And if you’ve used it before, you probably know that it has for a long time been restricted to Windows and Mac in terms of development platforms. That changed recently, when they added support for Linux. In this article, I’ll show you how I set up Unity3D on my Kubuntu 20.04 installation, and if the distribution you’re using is close enough, the same steps will likely work for you as well.

First, go to the Unity3D Download page and grab the Unity Hub.

Download the Unity Hub, then open it.

After Unity Hub has finished downloading, run it. It’s a cross-platform AppImage, so you can either double-click it or run it from the terminal.

You have no valid licence… you filthy peasant!

Register an account on the Unity3D website if you don’t have one already. Once Unity Hub loads, it immediately complains about not having a licence. If you click “Manage License”, it will ask you to login. You can click on the resulting “Login” link, or else click the top-right icon and then “Sign in”, to log into Unity3D from Unity Hub.

This is where you sign in.
Reject cookies and login. Social providers are under the cookie banner.

Click “Reject All” to opt out of cookies. Then, sign in using your email address and password. Alternatively, if you log into your account using a social identity provider, you’ll find different providers’ icons under the cookie banner.

Now you’re back in the Licence page of Unity Hub. Wait a few seconds for it to activate, then click the “Activate New License” button:

After logging in, you can activate a new licence.

In the next window, select whichever options apply to you. If you’re just a hobbyist, Unity3D is free, so you can select the radio buttons as shown below. Click “Done” when you’re ready.

Choose the relevant options. Unity3D is free unless you’re a company making $100k or more.

You now have a licence! Click the arrow at the top-left to go to the Projects section.

Armed with a licence, go out of Preferences and back to the main sections.

If you try to add a new project, you’ll realise that you need to install a version of the Unity3D editor first. Head over to the Installs section to do this.

You can’t create a new project before you install a version of the Unity3D editor.

In the Installs section, click the “Add” button:

Add a version of the Unity3D editor from here.

Choose whichever version you prefer. The recommended LTS version is best if you need stability; otherwise you can use the latest and greatest version with the newest features.

Choose which version of the Unity3D editor you want to install. The recommended LTS is better for stability; if you’re just starting out, you don’t really need that and can go for the newest one instead.

Click “Next”, and you can now choose which platforms you want your builds to target and what documentation you want. If you’re just starting out, keep it simple and just leave the default “Linux Build Support” enabled. You can always add more stuff later if/when you need it.

Choose which platforms you want to target, and which documentation you want to include. If you’re just starting out, you don’t really care.

Click “Done”, and wait for it to install…

Grab some coffee.

When it’s done, head back to the Projects section. Click the “New” button to create a new project.

In the next window, select the type of project (3D by default), give it a name, and select a folder where your Unity3D projects will go (the new project will be created as a subfolder of this). Then click the “Create” button:

Choose project type, name and location.

Wait for it…

Nice loading screen…

And… that’s it! The editor then comes up, and you can begin creating your game.

The Unity3D editor, finally running on Linux.

If you need a quick place to start, check out my “Unity3D: Moving an Object with Keyboard Input” tutorial here at Gigi Labs, as well as my early Unity3D articles at Programmer’s Ranch.

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