Version: 2019.3
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Unity’s Package Manager

A package is a container that stores various types of features or Assets, such as:

  • Editor tools and libraries, such as a text editor, an animation viewer or test frameworks.
  • Runtime tools and libraries like the Physics API or a Graphics pipeline.
  • Asset collections, such as Textures or animations.
  • Project templates to share common project types with others.

Packages are newer, more tightly integrated versions of Asset packagesA collection of files and data from Unity Projects, or elements of Projects, which are compressed and stored in one file, similar to Zip files. Asset packages are a handy way of sharing and re-using Unity Projects and collections of Assets. More info
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, able to deliver a wide range of enhancements to Unity through the Package Manager. In the Editor, you can access the Package Manager window through this menu: Window > Package Manager.

How Unity works with packages

When Unity opens a Project, the Unity Package Manager reads the Project manifestEach Unity Project has a Project manifest, which acts as an entry point for the Package Manager. This file must be available in the <project>/Packages directory. The Package Manager uses it to configure many things, including a list of dependencies for that Project, as well as any package repository to query for packages. More info
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(1) to figure out what packages to load in the Project. Then it sends a request (2) to the registry server (3) for each package that appears as a dependency in the manifest. The registry server sends the requested information and data back to the Package Manager (4), which then installs those packages (5) in the Project. Each Project has its own manifest which lists the packages to load as “dependencies” of the Project.

How the Unity Package Manager installs packages
How the Unity Package Manager installs packages

If you want to include a package in your Project, you must update the Project manifest to include it in the list of dependencies. If you want to, you can modify the Project manifest directly, but it is safer and easier to let the Package Manager do that. For more information on using the user interface, see the documentation for the Package Manager window.

How to use the Package Manager

The Package Manager uses three interfaces to communicate with users, manifests, and registries:

Interface method How to work with it
User interface You can use the Package Manager window to quickly browse and search for features. It also allows you to easily select the packages you want to install and update, and resolve conflicts in package dependencies. The Package Manager provides a user interface in order to make changes to the Project manifest directly.
Package manifestEach package has a manifest, which provides information about the package to the Package Manager. The manifest contains information such as the name of the package, its version, a description for users, dependencies on other packages (if any), and other details. More info
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The Package Manager provides a dedicated Inspector in Unity, which allows you to view the manifestThere are two types of manifest files: Project manifests and package manifests.
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of any package, while the manifest gets the main focus in the Project viewA view that shows the contents of your Assets folder (Project tab) More info
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at the same time. This integration means you can also edit package manifests directly in Unity for embedded or local packages.
Scripting API The Package Manager scripting API enables users to interact with the Package Manager programmatically. You can use it to query the package registry, install, embed, and remove packages, and list packages using a variety of criteria.

  • Unity Package Manager added in Unity 2018.1 NewIn20181
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