Dynamic Game Environments: Best Unity Plugins for Level Design

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Mar 19, 2024
Discover the best Unity plugins for crafting dynamic game environments, from terrain creation with Gaia to game logic coding with Playmaker and Bolt. Enhance your game design process with these tools tailored for beginners and experienced developers alike, ensuring efficient workflow and stunning visual effects.
Close-up view of a computer screen displaying a code editor with various programming files and scripts, highlighting lines of code for game environment features with unity plugins.

If you’re diving into game development with Unity, finding the right tools for level design can significantly ease your workflow. This guide highlights some of the best Unity plugins for crafting dynamic game environments, making your levels not just visually appealing but also interactive. 

We will be comparing tools like Gaia and World Creator for terrain creation, Amplify Shader Editor and ProBuilder for visuals and modeling, as well as Playmaker and Bolt for coding-free game logic. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer, understanding the features, ease of use, community support, and cost-effectiveness of these plugins can help you choose the right ones for your project.

Quick Comparison of the Best Unity Plugins

PluginBest ForEase of UseCommunity SupportCost-Effectiveness
GaiaBeginners, quick terrain creationVery User-FriendlyHighGood, with a free version
World CreatorDetailed environments, advanced usersModerateModerateHigher, starts at $99
Amplify Shader EditorSpecial visual effectsModerate to HighModerateFair, around $60-$90
ProBuilder3D modeling within UnityVery User-FriendlyHighBest, free with Unity
PlaymakerCoding-free game logic for beginnersUser-FriendlyHighGood, $95 per license
BoltFlexible, customizable game logicModerateModerateBest, free and open source
Dungeon ArchitectAuto-generating dungeons and levelsModerateModerateVariable, $60-$150
EnviroRealistic skies and weatherUser-FriendlyHighFair, priced at $90

Choosing the right plugin depends on your project’s specific needs, your budget, and your familiarity with game development. This guide is here to help you make an informed decision and enhance your game design process in Unity.

Comparative Analysis of Recommended Unity Plugins for Level Design

A screenshot of the Unity Asset Store page for 'Gaia Pro 2021 - Terrain & Scene Generator,' rated 5 stars by 1,380 users, priced at $289. Notable features include over 11,000 five-star assets, support by over 85,000 customers, and moderation by Unity. A message indicates that video content is blocked due to third-party cookie settings.

1. Gaia vs. World Creator

Features

Gaia and World Creator are some of the best Unity tools you can use to make cool 3D places like mountains, rivers, and forests.

Gaia lets you create land with mountains, rivers, and more easily. You can be able to choose different types of plants and weather and use stamps to shape the land the way you want.

World Creator has realistic land erosion features, better ways to mix and match ground materials, and systems for weather and nature. A bonus point is the use of Python for more complex stuff.

Both are great for making game worlds. Gaia is easier for beginners, and World Creator is for those who want more detail.

Ease of Use

Gaia is user-friendly, even if you’re new to making terrain. It has a clear layout and guides to help you start. You can do a lot with just a few clicks.

World Creator is for people who know a bit more about making game environments. It’s a bit harder to learn, but if you’re willing to try, you can do some really detailed work.

Community Support and Resources

Gaia has a lot of users and places online where you can get help, like forums and YouTube. They also offer paid help if you need it.

World Creator’s community is smaller, but they still have forums and videos. They also have paid support.

Gaia has more free help available, which is great for learning.

Cost-Effectiveness

Gaia has a free version, but the full version costs $90, which is a good deal for what you get. World Creator starts at $99, and you might have to pay more for extra features.

For most people making games on their own or in small teams, Gaia is a good choice because it’s affordable and has lots of features. But if you need very detailed environments, World Creator might be worth the extra cost.

2. Amplify Shader Editor vs. ProBuilder

A screenshot from Amplify Creations' website featuring the Amplify Shader Editor, with a graphical interface of node-based shader creation tools. The page highlights the editor's award for 'Asset Store Award for Best Tool 2017' and offers a download option for Unity Asset Store customers.

Features

Amplify Shader Editor and ProBuilder are Unity tools for making games, but they do different things.

With Amplify Shader Editor, you can make cool visual effects, like water or fire, without writing code, and change how things look with different materials and lights.

ProBuilder is great for making 3D shapes right inside Unity and changing your game’s levels quickly without needing other software. The platform also allows you to add colors and textures for your shapes.

Ease of Use

Amplify Shader Editor has a system where you connect blocks to make effects. It’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it.

ProBuilder lets you build and change 3D objects easily. It’s very user-friendly, especially if you’re used to Unity.

Both tools are easier than the old way of doing things, but making shaders can be a bit tricky at first.

Community Support and Resources

Amplify Shader Editor has a smaller group of users, but you can still find help through forums and tutorials.

ProBuilder is part of Unity, so there’s a lot of help out there—videos, guides, you name it.

ProBuilder has more help available because more people use it, but both have good support.

Cost-Effectiveness

Amplify Shader Editor costs around $60-$90, which is a fair price for what it does.

ProBuilder is free with Unity, making it a great deal for making 3D models.

If you’re watching your budget, ProBuilder gives you a lot for no extra cost. But if you want to dive into making special visual effects, Amplify Shader Editor is worth the money.

3. Playmaker vs. Bolt
A screenshot from the Unity Asset Store featuring 'Playmaker - Make It Now' - 2021, a visual scripting tool by Hutong Games LLC, rated 5 stars by 3,395 users. Priced at $65, the page shows a gameplay image with a stylized character and the number of views in the past week.

The product page for Playmaker on the Unity Asset Store, displaying the tool’s price, user ratings, and a gameplay image, alongside details like views count and refund policy.

Features

Playmaker and Bolt are tools in Unity that help you make game rules and actions without needing to write code. 

Playmaker comes with a bunch of ready-to-use actions for controlling characters, UI, cameras, and more. It has tools for organizing game logic and works well with Unity’s animation system.

Bolt lets you create game logic using a system of nodes, it also works closely with Unity’s systems.  You can make your own nodes for more complex stuff.

Both tools are great for making games without coding. Playmaker is more about plug-and-play, while Bolt gives you more freedom to customize.

Community Support and Resources

Playmaker has been around longer, so it has lots of guides, forums, and extra stuff you can find easily. Bolt is newer but has a good community on places like Discord and GitHub.

Playmaker has more help out there, but Bolt has enough basics to get you started.

Cost-Effectiveness

Playmaker costs $95 for each use. Bolt is free and open source, but there’s a ‘Prime’ version for $40 with extra features.

If you’re watching your budget, Bolt is a great choice. Playmaker is a good option if you like having lots of ready-to-use stuff.

In short, both tools are good for making game rules in Unity without coding. Playmaker is simpler for beginners, while Bolt lets you do more custom stuff. Playmaker has more help available, but Bolt is a great deal, especially the free version.

4. Dungeon Architect

Features

Dungeon Architect is a Unity tool that helps you automatically create dungeons, levels, and structures for your game. It Makes rooms and hallways by itself based on what you want.

This tool will help you decide how big or complex your dungeon should be and works with the game’s navigation so characters can move around properly.

It does the hard work of making random dungeon maps for you, so you can focus on making them look good and fun to explore.

Ease of Use

Dungeon Architect has a visual editor that’s pretty straightforward. It comes with ready-to-use examples, making it easier to start. While it’s generally easy to use, getting the hang of more complex features might take a bit of time.

Community Support and Resources

This Unity plugin comes with its guides and tutorials. There’s also a community on forums and Discord where you can ask questions. While it might not have as many resources as some other tools, there’s enough help available to get you started.

Cost-Effectiveness

Dungeon Architect offers different prices, the basic version for $60, expanding more features for $90 and everything included for $150

This means you can choose what fits your budget. Even the basic version has plenty of features to help make your game levels interesting.

For games that need new levels created on the fly, like adventure or role-playing games, Dungeon Architect is a handy tool. It’s not too hard to learn, especially with the help available, and it’s priced in a way that can fit different budgets.

5. Enviro – Sky and Weather

Features

Enviro is a tool you can use with Unity to make the skies and weather in your games look real. It allows you to change the sky from day to night automatically, create clouds that look real, and add different kinds of weather like rain, snow, and fog.

It helps you add realistic skies and weather without having to write a lot of code yourself.

Ease of Use

Enviro is made to be both powerful and not too hard to use. It has a simple control panel where you can change settings. While it has a lot of options, you don’t need to be an expert to start making your game’s weather look nice.

There’s a bit to learn if you want to use all its features, but you can start with the basics and add more as you go. It comes with instructions and ready-made settings to help you get started.

Community Support and Resources

Enviro is well-liked by Unity developers, so there’s a bunch of people who can help you out. You can find how-to guides and advice from others who have used it in their games.

There are places like Discord and forums where you can talk to other users, plus lots of videos online. The people who made Enviro also offer help through email.

Cost-Effectiveness

Enviro is priced at $90, which is fair for what it offers.

If you’re looking to make your game’s world more engaging with realistic skies and weather, Enviro is a useful tool to consider.

Pros and Cons

Here’s a simple table to show what’s good and what’s not so good about some popular Unity tools for making game levels. It’s like a quick cheat sheet to help you decide which one might be right for you.

PluginProsCons
Gaia
  • Easy for beginners
  • Lots of ready-made land shapes
  • Many people use it, so it’s easy to find help
  • Can’t do super detailed work
  • Not as many ways to change things
World Creator
  • You can make very detailed places
  • It can show how land changes over time
  • You can add your own rules with Python
  • Harder to learn
  • Not as many people to ask for help
Amplify Shader Editor
  • You can make cool visual effects easily
  • Lots of ways to change things
  • Great for adding special looks
  • Might be tough if you’re just starting
  • Not as many ready-to-use effects
ProBuilder
  • Works right inside Unity
  • Very simple to use
  • It’s free
  • Better for simple shapes
  • Not for complex modeling
PlayMaker
  •  Quick to start with
  •  Lots of ready actions
  •  Many users and lots of help available
  • Can get messy with big projects
  • Costs a bit
Bolt
  • Flexible for making game rules without code
  • Free and open source
  • You can make it do exactly what you want
  • Might need some time to learn
  • Not as many ready actions as PlayMaker
Dungeon Architect
  • Makes dungeons by itself
  • You can change a lot of things
  • Characters can move around easily
  • No free version to try
  • Might take some time to learn everything
Enviro
  • Makes skies and weather look real
  • Matches well with Unity’s lights
  • You can change a lot of things
  • Can make your game file big
  • Might be pricey for just playing around

The main good points about these tools are that they make hard tasks easier, like making game worlds, effects, and rules. 

They can save you a lot of time. The downsides are mostly about needing to learn how they work, and some are very specific, so they might not be right for every game.

Conclusion

Looking at different Unity tools for making game levels, some really stand out for most projects.

Gaia is a great choice if you’re just starting out. It’s easy to use, not too expensive and lets you make detailed landscapes quickly.

If you’re more experienced, you might like World Creator or Dungeon Architect. These tools are great for making big, changing worlds. They take a bit more time to learn, but they let you do a lot of cool stuff.

Choosing the right tools can make creating game worlds in Unity much easier and more enjoyable. This guide should help you figure out which tools are best for your game and how to get started. Now, go ahead and give it a try!

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