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Unity 3D Game Development by Example Beginner's Guide [Paperback]

Ryan Henson Creighton

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Book Description

Sept. 25 2010

A seat-of-your-pants manual for building fun, groovy little games quickly

  • Build fun games using the free Unity 3D game engine even if you've never coded before
  • Learn how to "skin" projects to make totally different games from the same file - more games, less effort!
  • Deploy your games to the Internet so that your friends and family can play them
  • Packed with ideas, inspiration, and advice for your own game design and development
  • Stay engaged with fresh, fun writing that keeps you awake as you learn

In Detail

Beginner game developers are wonderfully optimistic, passionate, and ambitious. But that ambition is often dangerous! Too often, budding indie developers and hobbyists bite off more than they can chew. Some of the most popular games in recent memory - Doodle Jump, Paper Toss, and Canabalt, to name a few - have been fun, simple games that have delighted players and delivered big profits to their creators. This is the perfect climate for new game developers to succeed by creating simple games with Unity 3D, starting today.

This book starts you off on the right foot, emphasizing small, simple game ideas and playable projects that you can actually finish. The complexity of the games increases gradually as we progress through the chapters. The chosen examples help you learn a wide variety of game development techniques. With this understanding of Unity 3D and bite-sized bits of programming, you can make your own mark on the game industry by finishing fun, simple games.

This book shows you how to build crucial game elements that you can reuse and re-skin in many different games, using the phenomenal (and free!) Unity 3D game engine. It initiates you into indie game culture by teaching you how to make your own small, simple games using Unity3D and some gentle, easy-to-understand code. It will help you turn a rudimentary keep-up game into a madcap race through hospital hallways to rush a still-beating heart to the transplant ward, program a complete 2D game using Unity's User Interface controls, put a dramatic love story spin on a simple catch game, and turn that around into a classic space shooter with spectacular explosions and "pew" sounds! By the time you're finished, you'll have learned to develop a number of important pieces to create your own games that focus in on that small, singular piece of joy that makes games fun.

This book shoots straight for the heart of fun, simple game design and keeps shooting until you have all the pieces you need to assemble your own great games.

What you will learn from this book

  • Find out how people are using the amazing new Unity 3D game engine
  • Develop and customize four fun game projects, including a frantic race through hospital hallways with a still-beating human heart and a catch game with a jilted lover that morphs into a space shooter!
  • Create both 2D and 3D games using free software and supplied artwork
  • Add motion, gravity, collisions, and animation to your game objects using Unity 3D's built-in systems
  • Learn how to use code to control your game objects
  • Create particle systems like shattering glass, sparks, and explosions
  • Add sound effects to make your games more exciting
  • Create static and animated backdrops using multiple cameras
  • Build crucial elements you'll use again and again, like timers, status bars, title screens, win/lose conditions, and buttons to link game screens together
  • Deploy your games to the Web to share them with friends, family, and adoring fans
  • Discover the difference between game skins and mechanics, to earn more money from your games

Approach

The book takes a clear, step-by-step approach to building small, simple game projects. It focuses on short, attainable goals so that the reader can finish something, instead of trying to create a complex RPG or open-world game that never sees the light of day. This book encourages readers hungry for knowledge. It does not go into gory detail about how every little knob and dial functions - that's what the software manual is for! Rather, this book is the fastest path from zero to finished game using the Unity 3D engine.

Who this book is written for

If you've ever wanted to develop games, but have never felt "smart" enough to deal with complex programming, this book is for you. It's also a great kick-start for developers coming from other tools like Flash, Unreal Engine, and Game Maker Pro.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (Sept. 25 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849690545
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849690546
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 19 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #273,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review Unity 3D Game Development by Example, Beginner's Guide by Ryan Henson Creighton March 9 2011
By chaneya - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let me start right off by saying that this book is excellent. If you paid attention to the title where it says "Beginner's Guide", you'll be very pleased with this book. In particular, for a beginner, the pacing of the book is perfect. The game examples that you create are nothing to get excited about, but that's not really the point. The main point is if you are a complete beginner to Unity and to writing Javascript within Unity, then as far as I know this is the best book available. Now that I have that out of the way, I'll veer slightly off topic.

I currently have two games published on the Xbox 360 in the Indie Games section. They are Acid Rain and Acid Rain Heroes. I am a huge huge Xbox 360 fan. When Microsoft announced XNA and the Indie Game marketplace I knew it was time for me to dust the cobwebs out of my brain and learn programming again after a 20+ year hiatus. I previously developed Paladin's Legacy and got it published back in 1985. I spent 2 years learning C#, XNA and numerous audio and graphics applications in order to publish my games on the 360. I even formed a company, PermaFrost Gaming. And all during my development, I watched as Microsoft fumbled and stumbled and most likely even intentionally sabotaged their own Indie Marketplace strategy. They changed the name. They changed the pricing structure (lowering it to be competitive). But ultimately as a business model, the Indie Game Marketplace on 360 is a failure. As a hobby location for creation and distribution of games, it's a massive success. Existing digital distribution models have proven that you can't put up a bunch of barriers and expect mass adoption of a marketplace. Barriers like, MS requires you to buy points in order to purchase anything on the 360. Indie games have a very limited 3 tiered pricing model and there is no free option. Indie games don't have access to some of the most attractive features available on Xbox Live (Achievements). Indie games by default are under 18 restricted. My current view is if you want to learn C#, build 2D games and distribute them as a hobbyist, then XNA may be your thing. But if you have aspirations of a successful business and plan to delve into 3D game development, then Unity is the better choice. This brings me to this current review.

I made the switch to Unity because Unity allows me to further my knowledge of C# but develop and distribute games on multiple platforms. Multi-platform development is the future...if you intend to make a business of game development. And this book is the perfect place to start.

Ryan starts the book off by giving the prerequisite indie game developer warnings. I love these quotes, "I don't want to set my sights too high, so I'm going to make a game like Gran Turismo, except with fewer cars." and "I'm going to build World of Warcraft with fewer class and about half the items." He devotes the first couple of chapters to explaining the core mechanics of games and establishing realistic expectations for beginner game developers. By chapter 3, you're already developing your first game prototype in 3D. That's the power of Unity! After finishing chapter 4, I just laughed out loud. Ryan humorously quips, "Worst. Game. Ever." My thought was, I can't believe what I just created in 2 short chapters. Awesome! For the record, in XNA, I intentionally avoided 3D. Even with the XNA framework library at my disposal, hand coding 3D cameras, lights, viewports, 3D model importing etc. etc. was and still is way over my head. I could go on and on...... XNA doesn't have a built in physics solution or a particle solution or a menu creation solution but I'll stop and just say that Unity has all of that stuff built in along with almost universal 3D model, audio and texture import functionality. (even native Photoshop files .PSD) I'm not embarrassed to say WOW!

At this point, I'm just going to highlight the things I think Ryan really got right in this book. These are things I sticky noted for future reference. In chapter 4, how to display variables in the editor for code debugging. You use Debug.log(). In chapters 5-7, using the GUI (Graphical User Interface) tools in Unity. I would have preferred that Ryan used the GUI feature to build an actual game menu system instead of an entire game. But one could argue that he killed two birds with one stone by creating a 2D game and a simple menu system all at once using the GUI system.

In chapter 8, you begin crafting your first real 3D game. He covers 3D Meshes, physics (rigidbodies and colliders) and the FBXImporter used to import models from Blender. Unity can import from numerous 3D modeling applications. Blender happens to be free which is pretty cool. He covers the use of Tags which helps you identify game objects through code. In chapters 9-10, you begin another 3D game and get introduced to the amazing particle system, Prefabs and audio in Unity. Prefabs allow you to craft multi-component/object Game Objects and then make an unlimited number of copies of that original multi-part creation. By making changes to just the original Prefab, your changes are automatically propagated to all prefab copies in all scenes in your game. In C#, it's the same idea as creating a class with a bunch of stuff and then instantiating that class numerous times in a list or an array thus resulting in multiple copies. Unity is basically perfecting or evolving the idea of Object Oriented Programming with a visual representation in the Unity editor......and calling it a Prefab. And that's really cool!

In chapter 11, Ryan introduces the multiple camera setup and the use of layers to control what those cameras see/display. Yes that's right, Unity allows you to use multiple cameras using layers to define what objects are seen by each camera. Simply assign a depth value to establish which camera is rendered in what order. I don't even want to think about the complexity of that in XNA.

Finally in chapter 12, Ryan goes back to the game you created in chapter 8 and introduces us to lights, more layers, more cameras and using the animation editor to animate one of the cameras in order to simulate a 1st person 3D walking effect.

Again, the book is all paced perfectly introducing us to new features in Unity with each few chapters. The Javascript coding is kept simple and very understandable.

I highly recommend this book to any beginning game developer.

Allan Chaney
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic beginners book & good for iPhone games. Oct. 6 2010
By Mark Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm an iPhone app developer and publisher, I've been wanting to get into Unity 3D for ages for iPhone games, and this book is a brilliant start. Following this book I had a bouncing ball running in 3D on my iPhone using Unity 3 after about 1hr of reading and tinkering, and already thats about 30% the way to a game I'm planning to prototype! Humorous and easy to follow writting style, and the basic game prototypes the book works through are perfect to get you started building games in Unity - especially the casual 2D gameplay games that have been so successful on iPhone (ie Angry Doodle Pocket). Its also a good compliment to the other Unity book which is more focused on first person perspective 3D worlds. (Note that Unity for iPhone doesn't have the terrain modeling features, and the examples in this book don't need that feature :-)
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diggin' It So Far Nov. 1 2010
By Joseph C. Sweeney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a darn good introduction to Unity, or even game development in general. It is very well organized, and is both easy and fun to read. I am about halfway through the book and already feel very empowered. Instead of leading you through making one big game like Will Goldstone's Unity Game Development Essentials, you make a handful of bite-sized games to keep it simple. The author is very good about not cluttering the book with unnecessary information, but fully explains important concepts when appropriate. Clarity, substance and a healthy dose of humor make this a must-have for starting Unity. It proves you don't need a CS or 3D Animation degree to get into game development.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From crawl to run in a week with Unity March 21 2013
By W. W. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I rarely write book reviews, but I read a LOT of tech books. This has to be one of the best I have ever read with regard to explaining everything you need to get up and running fast with a new technology. Not only do you learn Unity, but you also build some fantastic example projects. The book truly shows you "by example" which for many like me is the best way to learn. It assumes little programming knowledge from the get go, which to some may prove helpful. Advanced developers can surely benefit from the examples as well as I even picked up a cool little javascript "card factory" algorithm to add to my code arsenal. Deep explanations of the theory behind the projects along with some light humor make for a great read. Again, do NOT let the "Mr. High and Mighty One Star" reviewer dissuade you from picking up this book. If you want to learn Unity, this is where you need to start.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's ok if you like the author's style Jan. 1 2012
By crazyzero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book did take me from being a novice unity 3 developer to understanding the real basics of the engine. From my standpoint of being a developer for many years, the author's style of writing was rather childish in places as if he HAD to crack a joke in every paragraph. A bit more technical explanation rather than jovial verse would have been more appreciated. There are some glaring typos as well and it seemed to be based on unity 3.0 rather than 3.4 which (at the time of writing) was the latest available download. As a result there were many instances where code examples or screenshots of unity dialogs were incorrect. The Kindle version also suffered from a few glitches in that some markup text was obviously left in the example code (or did not properly render in my iPod and PC versions of the Kindle reader). The games developed are not complete and they are left up to the reader to complete (good and bad points here - depends on what you are after). It also tends to assume you have no idea how to program a computer, yet you WILL need more than a basic understanding and skill in this area to become a competent unity developer. I defy anyone to pick up JavaScript or C# in a few days. The book got me 'off the starting post' with regards to unity but I now yearn for more advanced books on the subject.
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