This course is authorized by and made in partnership with Unity Technologies.
Unity has decided to partner with Jonathan Weinberger, an experienced software engineer who has made several titles using Unity. Together, they have created a course intended to teach beginners how to make both 2D and 3D games using Unity. I had the opportunity to review the authors’ Cinematography course some time ago, but had mixed feelings on the approach to coding. I recently decided to give The Ultimate Guide to Game Development with Unity a chance, here are my thoughts.
The course is divided into two main components: a 2D section and a 3D section, both of which guide students through the entire process of creating a game from scratch. To be clear, this course is definitely for those new to Unity (or possibly those lacking in some areas). The author walks through concepts such as the basics of C#, the Unity API, post-processing, and much more. One area that some courses seem to glance over is creating a character controller, opting to simply import example assets; however, with this course you will create one from scratch. Another pitfall some instructors often take is just typing out code and getting students to follow along. Weinberger takes the approach of greater effort, walking students through the entire process of a game’s development workflow, including version control (although I would have preferred some git coverage in addition to the still valid Unity Team Collab).
With the 2D section of the course, you will learn about important concepts such as animation (sprite sheets), collision, as well as how to add commercial aesthetic with post-processing. Other important aspects are included such as user input, behavior modification (e.g., power-ups), developing cross-platform support (i.e., releasing on multiple platforms such as mobile, Xbox, PlayStation, PC). A lot of equally important concepts not mentioned here are covered, but if you’re new to Unity then it might get a bit overwhelming to read about them all before you’ve even installed the software! If that doesn’t sound like you, then rest assured you will learn about the fundamentals of C#, Unity’s component-based system, Unity’s monobehavior, inheritance, attributes, coroutines, script communication, AI, prefabs, UI, and working with shaders. Shaders don’t receive a whole lot of depth. Rightly so, as they are an entire subject of their own. If you are interested in learning more about shaders then I highly recommend Penny de Byl’s Shader Development From Scratch.
Right after the 2D section wraps up, things heat up quickly with the production of a 3D first-person shooter. The author introduces important concepts such as Raycasting, game logic, the creation of a FPS controller, and even more post-processing! Students should feel very familiar with the scripting API by this point and will gain the experience necessary to further learn on their own from the official Unity Docs. There is also some great coverage on making the important connection between what you’re coding in a script and what is displayed in the component system. There will also definitely come a point in the course where students feel fairly comfortable navigating both a 2D and 3D scene in Unity.
- Top-notch pacing: the author wastes no time in getting through the introductory phase of the course. He goes through each section at a solid pace, only touching on the important stuff for beginners without making it feel like a drag for someone with more experience.
- Collaborate is a good intro to version control for novices: Unity Collaborate lets you share a project over the cloud with your team. This also lets you commit updates when you have added a new feature to Unity or revert to a previous version of the project.
- A hand-holding course this is not: rather than feeding students code to copy into their project, the author emphasizes research and independence.
- Learn relevant concepts only: rather than barrage students with every possible concept, the course has an “as it become relevant approach” that introduces concepts once they are necessary in moving forward
- Form strong coding habits: teaches not to copy-paste, but instead to plan things out
- Great coverage of refactoring: teaches things the simplest way possible, and then refactors the code to be more efficient (this is such a crucial skill for programmers)
- Unity Docs frequent usage a plus: this is such an important habit to learn from day one.
- Learn many concepts that add toward making full games: instead of teaching you to make a bunch of small games, with each project teaching a small collection of concepts. The course includes 2 major projects. Both comprehensive and encompassing.
- No filler: straight forward and to the point. no filler. no hand-holding.
Disclosure: This course was provided by the author for purposes of review.
The Ultimate Guide to Game Development with Unity offers a hands-on approach that has just the right amount of challenge to keep things interesting without intimidating beginners. This is a great starting point for those new to Unity or anyone looking to brush up their skills.
- Beginner friendly
- Frequent refactoring (improving code)
- Experienced author
- Strong, aggressive pacing
- Interesting without being too challenging for beginners
- Teaches Unity collaborate
- Great high quality assets included
- Do everything from scratch
- Course stays at a general level to keep things beginner-focused
- Constant reference to using docs to work with Unity Scripting API independently
- C# coverage just OK
- Course could have used more “gotchas” (areas of common error)
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