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Top 10 Unity Asset Store Gems - Volume 1

Around here, we rely on well-vetted tools and assets to accelerate our prototyping and give us an edge wherever possible. The Unity Asset Store is jam-packed with offerings, but not all assets are created equal. Here are some of the best assets we've found, and a bit of context as to how we've used them:

10. Scalable VFX - There are a number of options for this type of tool offered within the store, and they're all low cost, so don't hesitate to snag one. Particle effects don't scale like typical assets, but this asset makes it easy to modify them to any size and retain their full glory. We've found it to be essential to create grand moments and layered intensity with both large-scale explosions and weather events.

9. Game Object Cloner - What a game-changer this tool can be when used properly, especially if you're laying out custom walls, fencing, towers, or flooring. For prototyping, it saves a huge amount of time, and includes a handy undo in case you get your axes confused. Plus it's totally free!

8. Volumetric Lightbeam - This plug-in can make your flashlight, searchlights, and floodlights so much more tangible and gratifying. With intuitive settings and the ability to couple or decouple them from the light's settings, you can achieve just the look you need. We initially implemented it to enhance our flashlight, but eventually even used on our UFOs.

7. PerceptLUT - You can lose yourself for hours with this tool, which generates a custom color grade LUT (look up table) based on any image you provide it. Say you love a particular scene in the latest Blade Runner movie, drag a screengrab into this tool and your entire scene will reflect those color values. Save the LUT and use it anywhere with your own post effects to attain a similar look. Genius.

6. Bird Flock Bundle - Unluck Software offers a number of flocking packages, but it's worth picking up the bundle for the variety within. There is tremendous value in adding meaningful animation to your world, and whether you have flocks of crows flying overhead on a dark foreboding night or dolphins swimming past you as you dip into the ocean, the emotional impact of these assets cannot be denied.

5. RayFire - This is a new edition to our arsenal, and one of the most impressive tools we've found on the store. If you're not comfortable bringing assets into Blendr to "pre-cut" them for destruction, let RayFire do the work for you in-engine. Watch any demonstration of this tool and you'll see the immediate power and utility of having this fidelity of destruction at your fingertips. Yes, it's expensive. But you'll quick see why it is worth the big bucks.

4. GrassFlow - Adding even the default settings to your terrain or ground mesh is immediately gratifying. With easy parameter editing (density, height, color), and great performance, it's a no-brain if your art style allows for it. We use it in our dreamier levels to add to the beauty and calm.

3. Peek - What a joy it is to upgrade your editor with so many quality-of-life enhancements. Peek is full of amazing shortcuts, features full-screen editing, and makes things like grouping and mass replacement unbelievably easy. We'd have paid the price for grouping alone.

2. Mesh Kit - This tool works wonders if you're looking to optimize, combine, or re-build meshes and don't have the time or experience to do it outside Unity. Although it has limitations compared to a dedicated 3D modeling application, you'll find all sorts of uses for it, and its interface couldn't be easier.

1. Horror FPS Kit - Possibly the best value on the store, and an absolutely brilliant starting asset for anyone looking to learn Unity and the ins and outs of development. There are so many well-designed systems and assets included in this package, and the possibilities are endless with regards to what you can build. Don't let the genre label fool you, this package can help you build almost any time of 1st or 3rd-person experience. Buy it now.

For more Unity Asset Store recommendations, be sure to check out Top Ten Unity Asset Store Gems - Volume 2.

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