Unity has a diverse physics system, but when it comes to water, unity lacks a bit. Making a water asset in unity can be confusing, unless you are well versed with shaders. Unity water assets from the asset store are really useful in this matter. Basic requirements of water in a game can be fulfilled by the standard asset water package itself. But if you are looking for complex water physics then you’d better go with one of the asset stores packages.
In this post we have listed the top 5 water assets in unity asset store and also given you a step-by-step tutorial to use unity standard assets for creating realistic water.
Points to consider before buying a water asset from the Unity asset store.
Before we jump into the best unity water assets let’s go through some of the points to look for in a water asset.
- Rendering features like refraction, reflection, underwater rendering etc.
- Compatibility with displays. Does the water shader support DX9, OpenGL, DX11?
- Performance cost. Any game needs to run smoothly in the target device, otherwise no matter how beautiful the graphics are, the player experience is going to suffer.
- Customization options like dynamic ripples, buoyancy, underwater effect, water color, depth, transparency, wave animation, flow direction, foam, distortion, reflection, caustics, etc
- Render Pipeline compatibility.
Keeping the above criteria in mind we have listed the top 5 water assets from the asset store.
Best Unity Water Assets for SRP
It’s the best water shader on asset store. Very well optimized, great support from the developer. You can get any query resolved within a day. It’s straightforward, simple to work with, very customizable. It has an implemented solution for dealing with underwater transparent stuff. It has a solution for deep water effect. The author simply thinks about realism and stuff that you might want, and puts it in.
Pro: You can get the best-looking effect out of the box
Con: Doesn’t support DX9, URP and HDRP
2. Calm Water
Performance-wise and visually, this asset is really good. You can get great reflections, great looking water effects, and terrific foam around any object sticking through the surface, all the while keeping high performance. The asset provides some nice properties to configure your water, and it looks and performs well. This water is by far the easiest and fastest water system in the store. Also, the developer was super friendly and was able to work with me to add some cool features to the asset.
Pro: Easy to set up and very good performance
Con: Manuals are not very detailed and many bugs are reported in VR usage, URP and HDRP not supported
It’s much fun to use it and the result feels exciting to see. You get about the best cartoon water shader you could buy from the asset store. I had the best support by email contact with the developer. This water shader is very useful if you are going to make a toon-like game. The customization options are many and you can just get creative with it. It’s not difficult to use and the performance in both PC and mobile is good.
Pros: The best cartoon water shader in the asset store
Cons: Getting outdated and water effects in mobile is not up to mark. URP and HDRP not supported
Top water asset for URP and HDRP
Crest Ocean system is feature rich Ocean system for Unity’s URP and HDRP render pipelines. If you are looking to make a game with Oceans for PC or Console then Crest Ocean system is the asset to go for.
The asset is well optimized and is full of features. Unfortunately, it’s optimized only for PC and Console. Crest ocean System seems to have some version compatibility issues with older Unity version. So, if you are using a Unity version with LWRP then you probably shouldn’t get this asset.
There is a free version of this asset for Built in Render pipeline that can be download from Git. You can get the URP and HDRP versions from the Asset store.
If you are looking for a water system to suit all your water needs, this is the only package you will need. It comes as a separate package for different render pipelines. If you need a water system for two different render pipelines then you will have to buy two separate packages.
This package is not compatible with mobile games. This is targeted at PC games only.
It has all the required features like buoyancy, depth masking, dynamic waves, rain effect and Tessellation.
KWS for URP
KWS For HDRP
URP water for best performance
KWS water system is the best when it comes to features but if you need performance then it’s not your best option.
This asset is the best when it comes to basic water features with performance. You can use it in your mobile and VR games without much performance lag. It has support for Fog and 2D lights in URP.
It’s the successor of original stylized water that supports only the standard render pipeline. All the original features have been retained with support for URP.
- Built for 3D rendering. Can’t be used with the 2D Renderer or Tilemaps
- Planar reflections are disabled in VR
Using unity standard assets to make water
Unity standard assets has its own water script and shader that can be used to make simple yet elegant looking water. This method is the best if you are not looking for any advanced water physics in your game. Let’s see how to make water in a step-by-step manner.
- Add a mesh to your scene and size it to your requirement. This mesh is going to act as the water for your game. Mesh should be flat and horizontal.
- Add the mesh to the water layer in the inspector. This is to prevent it from buggy render while interacting with the lights.
- Find the water script in Standard Assets/Water/Sources. Attach it to the water mesh that you created.
- Find the materials for the water in Standard Assets/Water/ and add it to the mesh. There are two basic options of daytime water and nighttime water. If you want to customize then use FX/water shader in the material and tweak the settings.
The standard asset water in unity doesn’t give the reflection and refraction settings unless you have the pro version of standard asset. The pro standard assets have the reflection and refraction settings in the water shader but the settings do not work well in VR games.
Lux Water is the best for all conditions and is a good investment.
Check out the best unity asset in other categories.