#UnityTips – Symbolic Projects

[EDIT 12/02/16]

I got tired of using an external tool for making symbolic projects so I made one from within Unity. This adds a menu item under ‘Edit/Create Symbolic Project’ which will create symbolic links to the ‘Assets’ and ‘Project Settings’ folder at the path specified, it’s currently windows only, and should be placed in an ‘Editor’ folder.



[Original Post]

There’s been many a time when I’ve wished to have 2 instances of Unity open, for example baking lightmaps in one scene whilst setting up another, or to compare the hierarchy of 2 scenes. I double click the Unity icon only to be hit with this message;

Well, that’s pretty clear, multiple instances cannot open the same project. BUT luckily there is a way (on windows at least) of working on multiple instances of the same project, using symbolic links. From Wikipedia “a symbolic link is a special type of file that contains a reference to another file or directory in the form of an absolute or relative path”, its like a folder shortcut, but what makes them useful is most applications including Unity will read it as a proper folder.

To start making a symbolic project create a new folder next to my original project folder, normally named “Symbollic[PROJECT_NAME]”, and create 2 subfolders “Assets” and “ProjectSettings”, then use Symlink Creator to make symbolic links. The interface for Symlink Creator looks like this (though this may not be the latest version)


For Destination navigate to the “Symbollic[PROJECT_NAME]/Assets” folder and for source navigate to “[PROJECT_NAME]/Assets”. A dialogue will open up about replacing the content of “Assets”, which is fine. Then repeat the process for the “ProjectSettings” folder. The 2 fodler will look like this;


Finally open an Unity and click Open Other, then navigate to and open the “Symbollic[PROJECT_NAME]” project. Unity will start reimporting assets, creating a new Library folder under the symbollic project directory. Once Unity’s finished importing you’ll be able to jump between the 2 projects, baking scenes or doing whatever was needed, when you switch between them they’ll each pick up each others changes etc. Below are 2 instances of our realtime IvyGenerator project running side by side.


And that’s all there is to it, enjoy your doubled productivity!


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