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Game Development with Unity [Paperback]

Michelle Menard

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Book Description

Jan. 19 2011
GAME DEVELOPMENT WITH UNITY shows you how to use the Unity game engine, a multiplatform engine and editor in one, to build games that can be played on just about any platform available, from the web to the Wii and even on smartphones. Unity's simple interface, friendly development environment, and wide-ranging support of all popular gaming platforms make it perfect for new developers or those looking to create games with an easy, efficient, and inexpensive game engine. Throughout the book you'll learn all the important interface commands, how to set up and organize your project, and all the basics of getting a 3D game up and running, from character importation to scripting to audio. Basic game and level design theory are taught in tandem with specific skills so you can build your game development skill set. The book is divided into five parts, with each chapter within a part covering a single concept, and new concepts are taught using step-by-step tutorials and questions, as well as through a comprehensive game project built throughout the book. GAME DEVELOPMENT WITH UNITY covers everything from building game assets, to adding interactivity, to polishing your finished game and publishing it, and provides you with all the information you need to create your own games using Unity.

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PART I: AN INTRODUCTION TO UNITY AND DESIGN. 1. Preface. 2. Introduction. 3. Basic Overview of the Unity Engine. 4. Designing Concepts. PART II: BUILDING THE GAME ASSETS. 5. Environments - Setting the Stage. 6. Characters. 7. Props. PART III: ADDING INTERACTIVITY. 8. Instances and Prefabs. 9. Custom Interactions (Scripting) and Input. 10. Physics and Animations. 11. GUI. PART IV: POLISH AND FINISHING TOUCHES. 12. Lights and Shadows. 13. Cameras and other controllers. 14. Particle Systems. 15. Sound and Music. PART V: PUBLISHING AND DISTRIBUTING BUILDS. 16. Making Builds 17. Basic UNITY debugging and Optimization 18. Publishing and Distribution Techniques Appendix.

About the Author

Michelle Menard is a freelance writer and game producer. After receiving a double bachelor of arts in Applied Mathematics and Music from Brown University, she decided to jump into the games industry by getting a master's of fine arts in Game Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She authored the first edition of Game Development with Unity in 2011.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid beginner-intermdediate book March 3 2011
By C. Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very well-written book on Unity game development. It discusses, in detail, virtually every aspect of Unity interface, gives a good review on Unity Javascript and in some cases C# when the differences between these languages merit attention. The entire book centers around the 3rd person character control, which is missing in other books on Unity. I especially liked the natural & logical flow of discussion from the starting level creation phase to the final stages of optimization and publishing. The number of pages is over 460 rather than 350 and appendices are on the accopanying DVD. The DVD also has useful resources and all the project files in the book. The only thing I don't like about this book is that it is based on Unity 2.x version. Thus, like other books so far published no new aspects introduced in Unity version 3.x are found here, either. Still, the material coverd in this book holds in version 3.x, if some minor modifications are made. Overall, this is a well thought-out book and the price is quite reasonable, so I believe you will get your money's worth.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Book to learn Unity3d with May 30 2011
By mike ferguson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just finished reading this book from front to back. This book is a great introductory book to Unity3d. It walks you through the process of putting a game together from beginning to end. The book spends a large portion of time on coding in the middle. By the time you finish, you will be comfortable using unity's Javascript, but you will still need to study the language much further using the unity documentation or some other source to learn more about all the unity specific functions and classes. It should be noted that you don't need to be a javascript expert to use unity. Unity's implementation is actually a little different from regular javascript anyways. You only need the knowledge of core javascript, not client side. If you know actionscript 3, you're golden as it's basically the same. Knowledge of any basic programming language like java or c++ is all you really need. The book won't show you much of how to make you're own textures and doesn't talk about modeling characters and animation rigging, but I didn't and don't expect it to. It's about the unity3d engine, not modeling.

There are definitely quite a few errors in this book. However, it does not deserve the low ratings it has. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone. It should be noted that on the very last page, the author explicitly acknowledges that there are "intentional" flaws that the author left in the widget game, but doesn't say what they are... Perhaps the people complaining about the errors didn't even read the whole book? Anyways, the author should have pointed out where the mistakes are in the book as she put them in. At a couple points, complete sections of code were missing... and there were plenty of typos. I wonder if the author just said there were intentional errors at the end to excuse the poor proofreading? Despite all the errors, the book is still great; not excellent, but great. The errors are all minor. If you can't figure them out, you should probably find another career because you are bound to make tons of errors as a programmer/game developer.

My only complaint is that it didn't go in to more detail on certain things, but then again, this is an introductory book. It should be noted that this book is written for unity3d version 2.x, but it will work for 3.x. The only difference is a couple menu options are changed when viewing specific things. I wish there were more books on unity3d that were up to date and went in to more depth on all aspects of the engine. I'm not aware of any "advanced" unity3d books that are out yet, at least at the time I'm writing this. Considering how few books there on unity at the time of this writing, the author should be applauded for her contribution.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Resource Feb. 4 2011
By Merrie Schonbach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very well written and good book for Unity 3D engine, I recommend adding it to your resource collection. The author goes over 3rd person controls and other controls that the previous books published did not. I recommend it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners, next to useless for anyone else Nov. 18 2012
By M. Lounsbury - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you have no experience with Unity, then this is an ok book to get you started. It will lead you through the very basics of how the program works, including things like what objects are, how to use the hierarchy, and other basic functions. It also has the added bonus of coming with an example cd that has things like models with built in animations, allowing you to simply plug them into the game and have them work. This is also its major flaw in my opinion. You can't expect to make a game using only unity. Most people who want to create their own games, and have zero experience with it, will need to know quite a bit of information not covered in this text. Far too much time is spent explaining how to use the landscape creator and place trees in your scene. That space could have been better used for other topics.

Most people who want to make their own game will want to design their own character and other assets. You'd need to use Maya or Max to model the character, to UV the character, to rig the character, and to animate the character. You'd also need to use a program like Photoshop or Mudbox to paint the character. While this may sound like a lot of added text, you'd be surprised by how little instruction it takes to explain these steps. Getting good at them is just a matter of practice. You cant write a book about game development and not include asset creation. For example, my game has a bird. I need to create a bird somehow, and get that bird to flap its wings. I know that I need to do all those things in Maya, and I manage to set up a flapping wing animation. Great, how do I transfer that animation form Maya to Unity? Google it and save yourself $40.

I am a game design student and picked up this book as a reference for when I needed to figure out how to do something in game, either via the editor or via script. I have been disappointed at every turn. Either the information provided is too limited or the example given is to basic that its not actually helpful. Luckily I generally know what I'm looking for and can use the Unity API scripting reference online to figure it out. I was hoping this book could fill in the places the API was lacking, but in reality this book has sat on my shelf for the last year collecting dust. After a month of trying to utilize it as a reference, I simply gave up. Every once in a while, I pick it up to look for something on the off chance it might shed some insight into what I'm looking for but I'm always disappointed.

If you have no experience with unity at all, and are looking for something to give you the basics, this isn't a terrible place to start. However, you can find better tutorials on Youtube for free.
41 of 60 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A potentially good book with a major flaw April 3 2011
By Michael Weingartner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Why in this day and age is an author providing a book on programming where the examples are only available as a DVD in the print version of the book? If you buy the ebook copy, which I did, then there is NO AVAILABLE SITE to download the sample content used throughout the book. This is a shame as the writing and content are otherwise pretty good.

Fix this incredible oversight and I will gladly change my rating. As it stands, an ebook on programming that references samples you can't get deserves a 1 star rating.

[UPDATE]: I have since also bought the physical book just to get the examples. Not my preferred way to get the content but the book is worth the read.

One comment, if you find that a review is not helpful and choose to rate it as not helpful then please add a comment so the reviewer knows what to improve about their input. This way we all benefit. I don't want to waste my time throwing my thoughts on the web if they are not helping someone. While my review is not a detailed treatise on the book's content, it is relevant that an otherwise good teaching aid is severely lacking by not making the examples available online. I don't believe every review needs to be exhaustive to be useful. But that is just my one opinion...

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