This new book on Unity has a subheader that says "Beginner's Guide. A seat-of-your-pants manual for building fun, groovy little games quickly".
The author is Ryan Henson Creighton, experienced game developer and founder of Untold Entertainment Inc. ( http://www.untoldentertainment.com/blog ), a company specialized in games and applications for kids and teens.
The book is centered on the Unity 3D platform for building games and virtual scenarios, which allows you to make games that can be played localy in your PC but also on the web, and even make multiplayer web-based games. Unity 3D uses a quite small client web plugin that downloads in seconds, and runs in the browser.
Both Unity 3D and the client are free. So for the developer, there are lots of advantages in Unity derived from being able to run the games in the browser, so they are cross-platform, and the freely available plugin that doesn't discourage people to download it because it's safe, free and small.
So for this book you only need Unity 3D, a free download, and you can start creating games right now. The book is aimed for beginners that never did anything similar, for people that don't like complex programming, or used other graphic interfaces to create worlds and games.
The first two chapters are an introduction to computer games, that gives us a new perspective of them, because the author examines several games from the point of view of both the developer and the player. He gives us advice on how to understand the amount of work behind some type of games, and helps us to choose what game to develop. It is easy for a beginner to get into an enormous task that will never be finished, and after reading this chapter we will have more realist aims.
We'll learn how to recognize when we are getting into problems by learning what kind of games are out of the possibilities of a single developer or a small team.
Chapter 1 is also an invitation to play other Unity 3D games, because it's the best way to understand what the engine can do. Of course, there are installation intructions for the platform, very simple in fact. On chapter 2, we focus on distinguishing what is the logic behind a game and its appearance, so we clearly see the real complexity or simplicity of accomplishing a particular type of game.
Chapter 3 begins the actual game creation, by teaching what Game Objects are: entities in which the protagonists and props of our games are encapsulated, and represent what they are and what they do. And we also learn what to do with them, because you learn how to use physics to manipulate them, and make objects bounce, for example.
Making something bounce wouldn't be enough, if we can't control it, so on "Code Comfort" the author introduces you to what actually builds the games action: scripting. He provides simple examples of scripts that move and control objects in the game. Don't be afraid because everything in Unity 3D happens with a mix of things that you code and others that you just point and click with the mouse, so it's not pure coding. You use code just for those things that may be harder to do in a visual way, and all the rest is done by selecting options and clicking here and there.
Then, in chapters 5 and 6, the lessons are centered in a 2D memory game, because Unity is not only for 3D games, but also because it's a good exersise to be centered in the creation of game controls for the player, and all the game logic behind them.
Chapters 7 and 8 guide you through the creation of clocks, thus learning to better position, hide and show controls, and how to detect the conditions in which a game must be so the application knows that the player has won.
"The Break-Up" is a classic game of catching and avoiding objects that fall, but rebuilt to be 3D. It is developed on chapters 9 and 10. It incorporates particle effects like sparks and explosions,3D models, and the use of scripts to play animations. It also explains how to create prefabs, that are user-defined types that can be re-used, and how to add sound effects.
Another spin for the Break-Up game is to turn it into a space shooter. Yes, it can be done re-using code and objects, although this may seem incredible (chapter 11). In fact, this technique is an advantage of Unity, the easy re-usage of old code and prefabs. It allows to make games faster, and the book provides good example on how to do this in a practical case.
The last chapter is the culmination of all that we learned, and takes other lessons of previous chapters and new tips to build the last details for an original game (already developed in part in previous chapters): Ticker Taker, in which you bring a bouncing heart to the surgery room of an hospital.
And so you finished making your games, you are told how to package them for the Web so you can share them online. As we said, in addition to the ease of creating games with Unity, being able to make your games playable on the web is one of the key features of Unity, maybe the most important one.
"Unity 3D Game Development by Example" is a practical book, realist and full of knowledge for becoming a game maker on this platform. The philosophy of the book is in one of the phrases of the author: "Start building a game with what you know. With each project, set a new attainable challenge for yourself".
This approach is what the book does, and allows you to start building a game maker portfolio, a game making career, right now. You don't have to wait to know everything in the world about something to start doing it. It is much more efficient if you get a decent knowledge first and start little projects of increasing size and complexity through time.
That is the way how mastery in game making is achieved, and also in many facets of life. With this book, as with others 3D books from Packt Publishing, you learn while doing. And that's the reason why you should get it.
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