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VS Tools for Unity 2 Preview Shows Improved Debugging

| by Jeff Martin Follow 16 Followers on Dec 04, 2014. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Microsoft has continued to improve UnityVS since purchasing the extension and the company that developed it in July.  Since the acquisition it has been renamed Visual Studio Tools for Unity (VSTU), and Microsoft has now prepared a preview of the forthcoming 2.0 release.  This preview adds several new features as well as support for Visual Studio 2015 and Visual Studio 2013 Community edition.  This gives independent developers a way to build games in Unity with no upfront out of pocket expense.

Under Microsoft’s management the development team for VSTU continues to support older versions of Visual Studio, including VS2010 and VS2012 so that developers who have invested in their toolset are not faced with the prospect of either paying to upgrade their IDE or being stuck with an unsupported program.

Microsoft’s Jb Evain has provided some details as to what developers will find in this preview of VSTU 2.0.  First is support for Unity’s ShaderLab, the language for describing shaders which is now part of the VS2015 IDE, so developers can take advantage of syntax highlighting and code colorization in the editor.

The remaining features are not specific to VS2015:  The debugger has added support for the most common collections (ArrayList, List, Hashtable, Dictionary) so the contents can be easily viewed in the “Locals” and “Watch” windows.  Similarly, the public members of objects have greater visibility while debugging as they will appear in the “Locals” and “Watch” windows. 

With respect to streamlining the typical workflow, VSTU is now smarter about recognizing the nature of running Unity instances.  When the debugger launches, VSTU will detect whether or not there is a single instance of Unity running.  If so, it will automatically attach to that instance.  If there are multiple instances, VSTU will prompt for you to select the one you would like to work with and remember this selection going forward.

The full changelog details some additional bug fixes that should improve stability.  For example, the sockets used to connect Visual Studio and Unity have been cleaned up which should benefit users of “Attach and Play”.  Additionally, some previous calls to Unity’s scripting engine debugger have been minimized in an effort to lessen the odds that Unity will freeze when the debugger is attached.

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