Overview: Script compilation (Advanced)
Scripting
Overview: Script compilation (Advanced)

Unity compiles all scripts to .NET dll files. The .dll files will be jit compiled at runtime.

This allows incredibly fast script execution. It is around 20 times faster than traditional javascript and around 50% slower than native C++ code. Unity might take a second to compile all your scripts when you save it. You can see if Unity is still compiling with the small spinning progress icon in the lower right corner of Unity's main window.

Script compilation is performed in 4 steps:

1. All scripts in "Standard Assets", "Pro Standard Assets" or "Plugins" are compiled first.

Scripts in one of these folders can't directly access scripts outside these folders.

It is not possible to reference the class or its variables directly, but it is possible to communicate with them using GameObject.SendMessage.

2. All scripts in "Standard Assets/Editor", "Pro Standard Assets/Editor" or "Plugins/Editor" are compiled first.

If you want to use the UnityEditor namespace you have to place your scripts in these folders. For example to add menu items or write custom wizards you have to place your scripts in those folders.

These scripts can access scripts from the previous group.

3. All scripts in "Editor" are compiled next.

If you want to use the UnityEditor namespace you have to place your scripts in these folders. For example to add menu items or write custom wizards you have to place your scripts in those folders.

These scripts can access all scripts in all previous groups. However they can not access scripts, in the last group.

This can be a problem when wirting editor code since you often want to edit scripts that are in the last group. There are two solutions: 1. Move the other script into the "Plugins" folder. 2. Take advantage of JavaScript's dynamic typing. In Javascript you don't need to know the type of a class to work with it. When using GetComponent you can just use a string instead of the type. You can also use SendMessage, which takes a string.

4. All other scripts are compiled last.

All scripts that are not in the folders above are compiled last.

All scripts that are compiled in this step have access to all scripts in the first group ("Standard Assets", "Pro Standard Assets" or "Plugins"). This allows you to let different scripting languages interoperate. For example, if you want to create a Javascript that uses a C# script: place the C# script in the "Standard Assets" folder and the Javascript outside of the "Standard Assets" folder. The Javascript can now reference the C# script directly.

Scripts that are placed in the first group, will take longer to compile, since when they are compiled the third group needs to be recompiled too. Thus if you want to reduce compile times, move scripts that seldomly change into group 1 and scripts that change a lot into group 4.