Improving the Unity AssetStore: what I’d like to see in 2020

One of Unity3D’s greatest successes has been the Asset Store. Bursting to life 9 years ago, initially sounding a lot like an optimistic clone of Apple’s 2-year-old App Store (and boasting the same 70%/30% revenue share), it turned out to be so much more.

But Unity still struggles to figure out what it should look like and how it should work for users/purchasers. The raw content is the biggest determinant of the store’s success, but closely followed by the browsing and discovery experience – which have hardly improved at all (and in some ways have gone backwards) over this past decade.

Based on hundreds of purchases, and having launched and maintained some small assets on the store myself over the past 5 years, here’s what I’d like to see now.

The A-test for Unity Assets

Every asset-purchase page should have a section that answers the critical, machine-answerable, fully 100% automatable questions that matter to purchasers. There is no excuse to miss this out – these make a huge difference both to users, and to authors, and to Unity itself: they massively reduce the amount of refund requests, and increase the purchase volume due to increased buyer-confidence.

How well do your assets score on these? If you’re an author, do you publish all this information up-front (some do – their Full Description on the asset page is long and scrolly)

Art Assets

  • Min/avg/max verts per model in package
  • Top 3 shaders in package, with number of models that use each
  • Min/avg/max texture sizes in package
  • Total number of materials with unassigned textures/colors vs fully assigned
  • Total number of materials using Standard shader with Albedo, Metallic, Normal, Roughness maps assigned
  • Total number of models with LODs vs number of models without LODs
  • Min/Max LOD levels for models with at least one LOD
  • Number of prefabs in package that have same prefix-name as an FBX/model file

Code Assets

  • Number of files that include source code (C#) vs number without source code
  • Number of (Unity official) Unit-tests in package
  • (one line for each Unity version): Num Errors, Num Warnings, when installing the project
  • (one line for each Unity version): Num Errors, Num Warnings, when opening the marked demo-scene
  • (one line for each Unity version): Num Errors, Num Warnings, when pressing play in the marked demo-scene
  • (one line for each Unity version): Number of Unit tests passed, number failed

All Assets

  • Number of demo scenes in package
  • PDF documentation in package
  • Time since Author’s last edit of package (upload)
  • Time since Author’s last discussion of package (meta files + comment threads)

Self-reported / author-tagged info

All the above was easily automatable by Unity (Apart from “issue reports”, which Unity keeps private, I’ve written scripts myself that do all of them!)

What happens when we extend the Asset Store Publisher Upload tool to let authors add extra info that Unity can then collate and publish? Well…

Art Assets – author controlled

  • Render-pipelines supported: Default?, URP?, HDRP? (tickboxes)
  • Player platforms compatible: Windows, PS, XB, VR, iOS, Android, WebGL (tickboxes: “compatible” means “author expects it to work, but isn’t actively testing that platform – it may not work out of the box”)
  • Player platforms supported: Windows, PS, XB, VR, iOS, Android, WebGL (tickboxes: “supported” means “author actively tests on this platform and promises it will work out of the box (or fixed very rapidly)”)

Nice-to-have’s only Unity can provide

  • Ask-the-author question box on purchase page (SO MANY TIMES people need to check if an asset supports X or Y, or ask the author if they include something, and Unity still provides no way for the purchaser to do this)
    …with answered-questions automatically appearing for all to see (just like Amazon has done for the past 15+ years)
  • Number of reported issues per Unity version (OR: star-rating per unity version)
  • Number of refund requests (successful + unsuccessful) by Unity version and/or package version

2020 future-looking awesome “make everyone rich” features

  • When author uploads the asset, choose a Demo scene that will be auto-built as a WebGL build and embedded in Asset Store page (if build succeeds)