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How should I decide if I should use C#, JavaScript (UnityScript) or Boo for my project?

Surely C#, JavaScript (sometimes referred to as UnityScript) and Boo each have their strengths. How do I find out which is most suitable for my project?


See also: Is there a performance difference between Unity's Javascript and C#?

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asked Oct 18 '09 at 01:08 PM

Lucas Meijer 1 gravatar image

Lucas Meijer 1 ♦♦
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15 answers: sort voted first

I would say it depends very much on your past experience. If your background is in C++ or Java, you will likely feel most at home in C# - however if you're experienced with dynamically typed languages such as JavaScript / Basic or PHP, chances are you will prefer JavaScript.

If you have no previous experience with programming - JavaScript might be an easier introduction - given that you do not need to worry about types and casting.

Do note that writing JavaScript in Unity is not the same as writing it for web browsers (which is why it is popularly nicknamed UnityScript in the community). You should check out the tutorials to familiarise yourself with it if this is the route you're going to take.

If you are planning to work with other programmers on a Unity project, I very much recommend that you decide from the beginning to work in the same language. While it is completely possible to combine scripts written in multiple languages into one project, you will very likely at some point run into issues due to the nature of the task of compiling and linking multiple languages.

Finally do notice that all documentation and tutorials for Unity are currently written in JavaScript and of the three available languages for Unity, only C# examples are given in the .NET documentation (since you are working with mono, you have full access to the mono port of the .NET library).

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answered Oct 19 '09 at 08:55 AM

AngryAnt gravatar image

AngryAnt ♦♦
4.4k 14 19 52

hey can i use normal javascript in unity? or is it a speacial unity javascript? pleas reply fast

Jul 13 '13 at 07:50 PM Gab Steve
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Ah, thanks Lucas for this invite to flamewars :) !

After over 2 years working with Unity, I've come to the conclusion that using UnityScript is a Bad Idea. Always. I've started by using US, switched after a couple months, then a year later worked in US again with a different team... and we ended up porting all of our code to C# after 6 months (oh the joy), and fixed a billion bugs in the process.

Yes, C# has some overhead, its syntax is a tad more verbose (although you save all those useless vars and functions), and using typeof() is a bore (but as the API is ported to generics, this quickly disappears).

But US has so many shortcuts that are just invitations to make mistakes, you'll lose the time tenfold just tracking bugs! The biggest, most awful thing is implicit variable declaration. Can you spot the error in there?

var myVar;

function Update()
{
    if (myvar > 0)
    {
        // bla bla bla...
    }
}

I've mispelled myVar to myvar in Update, so the compiler will create a new local variable (that will default to 0), so the if will never happen, regarless of what you set myVar to in the editor. Happy head-banging. You will get NO WARNING WHATSOEVER from the compiler, since implicit declaration is legal (even with #pragma strict), effectively forfeiting the benefit of using a compiled scripting language instead of an interpreted one. There are tons of others pitfalls, but this one alone is worth using C#.

The number 2 reason is Visual Studio: with Intellisense and inline help, you'll be learning and discovering the API as you type. Visual C# Express is free (as in beer not speech). There is simply no better code editor on the market, at least for .NET development; if someone tells you otherwise, they're either misinformed, or fanboys of some other tool. Or just hate MS or non-open source.

Less notable: you can get lower performance if you use US the wrong way... you can prevent yourself from using it the wrong way by using #pragma strict (but by using C#, you can prevent much more!)

And lastly, with C# you have access to some .NET mechanisms than haven't been ported to US: properties, delegates, lambdas, generics... not something that will really affect you when you start programming, but once you taste their power you sorely miss them.

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answered Oct 20 '09 at 04:24 PM

benblo gravatar image

benblo
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@benblo Actually in real JavaScript maybe this is ok... and you will never go into bla bla bla but in Unity I'm getting a really cool message that says: Unknown identifier: 'myvar'

Mar 19 '10 at 11:59 PM Lipis

Delegates are probably the most important thing I have used when creating menu systems...so don't overlook it....

Nov 17 '10 at 04:35 AM fireDude67

I have to agree about Visual Studio. For all the amazing software Apple creates Xcode is horrible; Xcode 4 is so buggy and slow it's ridiculous. This is the one place where they should copy from Microsoft since MS really got VS right.

Oct 07 '11 at 08:07 PM Mikbe

Implicit type declaration is easily avoided by using pragma strict. The biggest issues with UnityScript are the overhead (file size and minor performance) for mobile in particular and problems interoperating with C# libraries such as UIKit that are based on C#'s delegate pattern (you can use them, but you need to write helper code in C#).

In the end C# is better supported than UnityScript and properly documented, but in terms of bugginess, I think that's more the coder than the language.

Feb 18 '13 at 03:26 AM podperson
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Depends on a few factors

1- Do you know any of the languages to begin with? Or if you know more than one then are there any of the languages you are more comfortable with? If so start learning using that language in the short term atleast.

2- IDE: Visual Studio is generally known as the best development IDE out there and Visual C# Express is free. I find intellisense and the features provided by C# tend to save me a lot of time and effort. I am equally comfortable in JS or C# but C# takes the cake in terms of performance and productivity. I really dont think there is much of an overhead (if any at all) associated with c#.

3- Code Examples: There tend to be more examples out there in Javascript but C# is gaining pace at good speed and I think it will take the lead in the near future specially since Visual Studio is properly supported now. I find that I have no problem translating code from an example in JS to one in C#, but if you are less comfortable with C# then you may find this a bit challenging.

4- If you find C# a bit daunting because you find C/C++ to be difficult, then you may psychologically find it harder to learn C#. I myself hate to work with C or C++ but love C# and I had no difficulty picking it up at all whereas C/C++ always gave me a lot of trouble.

I think in the short and long run it will pay off to use C#. However I know a lot comes to personal preference.

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answered Nov 09 '09 at 06:54 PM

abdullah.ahmed gravatar image

abdullah.ahmed
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answered Oct 20 '09 at 01:38 PM

Ricardo gravatar image

Ricardo
5.5k 20 33 98

@Ricardo, you could rename the URL to indicate what the Question is - would make it more clear.

Mar 19 '10 at 01:55 PM Cyclops

Good point, thanks.

Mar 19 '10 at 03:08 PM Ricardo

@Ricardo, Cool, +1. :)

Mar 19 '10 at 03:45 PM Cyclops
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When I started using Unity, for ease of use, I opted for Javascript. Having come from Director Lingo, VB, ASP and some Lua I expected the learning curve to be steeper than it actually was.

Using Javascript introduced me (via tutorials and help files) to the foundations and principles Unity employs. From there it was much easier to switch over to C# since I had the engine side covered and it was just a case of figuring out the new syntax.

To me, Javascript is much easier to learn than C#. C# seemed intimidating when I started out - probably just because it had a C in the title ;) - it's also a lot stricter on the formatting, though now I've switched over I wouldn't want to go back. I'm finding it to be a real joy working with c# but I am really glad I started in javascript and eased over.

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answered Oct 21 '09 at 11:54 PM

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asked: Oct 18 '09 at 01:08 PM

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Last Updated: Feb 01 at 04:15 AM