Preface – Unity 3.x Game Development by Example

Preface

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, Angry Birds, 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.

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 and bite-sized bits of programming, you can make your own mark in the game industry by finishing fun, simple games.

Unity 3.x Game Development by Example 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 Unity 3D 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 game 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.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, That's One Fancy Hammer!, introduces you to Unity 3D an amazing game engine that enables you to create games and deploy them to a number of different devices, including (at the time of writing) the Web, PCs, iOS platforms, Android devices, and marketplaces on all current generation consoles. You'll play a number of browser-based Unity 3D games to get a sense of what the engine can handle, from a massively-multiplayer online game all the way down to a simple kart racer. You'll download and install your own copy of Unity 3D, and atmospheric Angry Bots demo that ships with the product.

Chapter 2, Let's Start with the Sky, explores the difference between a game's skin and its mechanic. Using examples from video game history, including Worms, Mario Tennis, and Scorched Earth, we'll uncover the small, singular piece of joy upon which more complicated and impressive games are based. By concentrating on the building blocks of video games, we'll learn how to distil an unwieldy behemoth of a game concept down to a manageable starter project.

Chapter 3, Game #1: Ticker Taker, puts you in the pilot seat of your first Unity 3D game project. We'll explore the Unity environment and learn how to create and place primitives, add components like physic materials and rigidbodies, and make a ball bounce on a paddle using Unity's built-in physics engine without even breaking a sweat.

Chapter 4, Code Comfort, continues the keep-up game project by gently introducing scripting. Just by writing a few simple, thoroughly-explained lines of code, you can make the paddle follow the mouse around the screen to add some interactivity to the game. This chapter includes a crash course in game scripting that will renew your excitement for programming where high school computer classes may have failed you.

Chapter 5, Game#2: Robot Repair, introduces an often-overlooked aspect of game development: "front-of-house" user interface design the buttons, logos, screens, dials, bars, and sliders that sit in front of your game is a complete discipline unto itself. Unity 3D includes a very meaty Graphical User Interface system that allows you to create controls and fiddly bits to usher your players through your game. We'll explore this system, and start building a complete two-dimensional game with it! By the end of this chapter, you'll be halfway to completing Robot Repair, a colorful matching game with a twist.

Chapter 6, Game#2: Robot Repair Part 2, picks up where the last chapter left off. We'll add interactivity to our GUI-based game, and add important tools to our game development tool belt, including drawing random numbers and limiting player control. When you're finished with this chapter, you'll have a completely playable game using only the Unity GUI system, and you'll have enough initial knowledge to explore the system yourself to create new control schemes for your games.

Chapter 7, Don't be a Clock Blocker, is a standalone chapter that shows you how to build three different game clocks: a number-based clock, a depleting bar clock, and a cool pie wedge clock, all of which use the same underlying code. You can then add one of these clocks to any of the game projects in this book, or reuse the code in a game of your own.

Chapter 8, Ticker Taker, revisits the keep-up game from earlier chapters and replaces the simple primitives with 3D models. You'll learn how to create materials and apply them to models that you import from external art packages. You'll also learn how to detect collisions between Game Objects, and how to print score results to the screen. By the end of this chapter, you'll be well on your way to building Ticker Taker a game where you bounce a still-beating human heart on a hospital dinner tray in a mad dash for the transplant ward!

Chapter 9, Game#3: The Break-Up is a wild ride through Unity's built-in particle system that enables you to create effects like smoke, fire, water, explosions, and magic. We'll learn how to add sparks and explosions to a 3D bomb model, and how to use scripting to play and stop animations on a 3D character. You'll need to know this stuff to complete The Break-Up a catch game that has you grabbing falling beer steins and dodging explosives tossed out the window by your jilted girlfriend.

Chapter 10, Game#3: The Break-Up Part 2, completes The Break-Up game from the previous chapter. You'll learn how to reuse scripts on multiple Game Objects, and how to build prefabs, which enable you to modify a whole army of objects with a single click. You'll also learn to add sound effects to your games for a much more engaging experience.

Chapter 11, Game #4: Shoot the Moon, fulfills the promise of Chapter 2 by taking you through a re-skin exercise on The Break-Up. By swapping out a few models, changing the background, and adding a shooting mechanic, you'll turn a game about catching beer steins on terra firma into an action-packed space shooter! In this chapter, you'll learn how to set up a two-camera composite shot, how to use code to animate Game Objects, and how to re-jig your code to save time and effort.

Chapter 12, Action!, takes you triumphantly back to Ticker Taker for the coup de grace: a bouncing camera rig built with Unity's built-in animation system that flies through a model of a hospital interior. By using the two-camera composite from The Break-Up, you'll create the illusion that the player is actually running through the hospital bouncing a heart on a tin tray. The chapter ends with a refresher on bundling your project and deploying it to the Web so that your millions of adoring fans can finally experience your masterpiece.

Appendix, References, is packed with great Unity-related websites, resources, free game development tools and more. Don't miss it!

What you need for this book

You'll need to be in possession of a sturdy hat, a desk chair equipped with a seatbelt, and an array of delicious snack foods that won't get these pages all cheesy (if you're reading the e-book version, you're all set). Early chapters walk you through downloading and installing Unity 3D (http://unity3d.com/unity/download/). A list of resources and links to additional software can be found in the appendix.

Who this book is 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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