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 better to go with one of the asset store packages.
In this post we have listed the top 5 water assets in unity asset store and also give you a step by step tutorial to use unity standard asset for creating realistic water.
Points to consider before buying a unity water asset
Before we jump into the best unity water assets lets go through some of the points to look for in a water asset.
- Rendering features like refraction,reflection ,under water rendering etc.
- Compatibility with displays. Does the water shader support DX9, OpenGL , DX11.
- Performance cost. Any game need to run smooth in the target device ,otherwise no mater how beautiful the graphics is , 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
Keeping the above criterias in mind we have listed the top 5 water assets from the asset store.
Best Unity Water Assets
Its 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. For that reason I had no need yet to dig in its code, but I am sure that it is pristine.
Pro: You can get the best looking effect out of the box
Con: Doesnt support DX9
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 fast water system in the store. Also developer were super friendly and was able to work with me to add some cool features to the asset.
Pro: Easy to setup and very good performance
Con: Manuals are not very detailed and many bugs reported in VR usage.
Its 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. Its not difficult to use and 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.
If you are looking for a slight improvement over the unity standard asset water then this is the asset for you. Aquas water satisfies the basic water shader requirement of games. Don’t expect any high quality graphics with this asset. This asset is the cheapest water asset available. Its easy to use and looks better than the native unity water asset. This has many customization option. Put this asset under water layer and ignore lighting for that layer for best performance of this asset.
Pros: Cheap and best for basic water shader needs
Cons: Doesn’t support LWRP render pipeline
If you are looking for a low poly water asset for your game then this is the best available option for you. Its easy to setup and use. Works well with VR games too. It doesnt support LWRP rendering, but a classic rendering is best suited for low poly games. This asset has good wave animation and runs very smooth even in mobile. There is no underwater feature. The customization options are one to play with. You can get down and play with the shader setting to get the right effect for your game.
Pros: Best low poly water in the asset store
Cons: Doesnt support LWRP
Using unity standard assets to make water
Unity standard asset 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 option 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 if 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 category.