Getting Started with Unity

Getting Started with Unity - Book CoverJust a few weeks ago, the book titled Getting Started with Unity was published, which is written by Dr. Patrick Felicia from Ireland at the Waterford Institute of Technology. I recently set aside some time to read through the book in more detail and organized a Giveaway of the book with Packt Publishing.

In this post I discuss my impressions of the book, which are overall pretty good. I shall first start with the proverbial “bad news” (a minor gripe), followed by the “good news” that far outweighs the rest. Finally, I provide the details of the giveaway. Hurry and you could be one of the lucky readers to win a free e-copy of the book!

Room for Improvement

What I liked least about the book is that I find it difficult to read this book on my Kindle Touch device, since the text is tiny and does not apply the standard sizing that you may expect from all your Kindle books. It is not so much a problem with this specific book but a more general problem with only some of Packt’s MOBI e-books. This may not be an issue for you with a different e-reader device or if you don’t mind small print. Many of Packt’s e-books work just fine on a Kindle Touch, and I just wish that it could be the case for all their MOBI books.

Fortunately, electronic books from Packt Publishing usually (if not always) come bundled with all three of the ubiquitous e-book formats, namely the PDF, MOBI and ePub file versions. Therefore, you can also read the book on another device with a bigger screen, including Adobe Reader or Amazon Kindle for PC.

Lots of Goodness

This book is an introductory text on Unity 3D, as should be obvious from the title. The book is relatively short, about 140 pages if you don’t count the front and back matter, and it covers a lot of ground. As a result, the book provides a quick introduction to many topics including:

  • user-interface and scene-building basics,
  • game-industry secrets such as cgtextures.com,
  • basic artificial intelligence (AI),
  • colliders,
  • mini-maps,
  • animations with Mecanim,
  • prefabs,
  • menu creation
  • and much more.

For specifics on some of the other topics, refer to the Table of Contents and the various bullet-point lists on the book’s page.

As far as the programming aspects are concerned, the book makes use of Unity’s “JavaScript” language, or rather UnityScript as I prefer to call it. C# is not used, since the author believes it to be a more advanced topic; that is probably the case considering the various intricacies of C# as an Object Oriented Programming (OOP) language. The choice of coding language may be the right one for this book that is aimed mostly at beginner users of Unity, although the author also points out that both languages have limitations and advantages.

If you are not yet aware of the many game building blocks that are part of the wonderful world of Unity, this book should get you well on your way. Overall, I think the book provides an interesting and fast-paced overview for newcomers that should get them all excited about Unity.

The Lucky Ones

About the Giveaway that I mentioned earlier, three lucky winners stood a chance to win digital copies of the new book.

How to Enter?

The contest is now closed. All you had to do was head on over to the book page and look through the product description of the book. Then, drop a line via the comments below this post to let us know what interests you the most about this book. Just click on “Add new comment” – it was that simple.

Winners will be contacted by email, so be sure to enter your email address correctly when you comment! (As always, email addresses are never shown publicly for comments.)

Deadline

The contest closing date was 27 October 2013 at 2:00 PM Central Daylight Time (UTC-5). If you waited, it is now too late to enter for a free copy, but of course you may still buy the book. (The winners are listed below in a comment on the closing date.)

Comments

Lucky one

I'm really interested in game design, and am quite interested in the UI and scene building, etc. Should be really interesting read!

Have been Playing around

Have been Playing around with Unity for a while now. But is struggling to find a good guide. This looks Promising.
Will have to try it and find out.

What interests me the most

What interests me the most about this book is the AI and path finding as well as the scripting. I would really like to know more about this so to learn more about creating a really immersive experience.

Getting Started With Unity

Currently studying a BSc Computer Science and have taken a liking to Unity, as I would like to undertake my own personal projects aside from what is covered in my studies. This book would be perfect to get me on my way!

Looks like an interesting read for a beginner.

Some nice topics covered here. Particularly interested in the industry secrets and AI. Looks like a good start for the Unity beginner.

Awesome book

I always wanted to get into this aspect of programming. Would love to win a copy.

Hmmm, animation sounds fun

I'm particularly interested in 'Chapter 5: Bringing Your Game to Life with AI and Animations'. I've been wanting to learn more about Unity and animation and this should be a great start.

Wannabe game developer

What I most like about Getting started with Unity is that it teaches in a tutorial like fashion that encourages the learner to try out what is being learnt allowing for a greater level of engagement. I also like that different subjects are taught incrementally as opposed to all at once (e.g. Basic A.I.)

I'm interested to learn more

I'm interested to learn more about animations with Mecanim.

Looks good

Am looking forward to reading this as I am a complete beginner to Unity but the topic that interests me most is AI.

Helpful Review!

I just recently picked up a Kindle and was looking for info on some Unity/game dev books but not too many of the reviews I found covered the actual negatives of the e-book version like your review. It still seems like a very helpful book, especially with the AI breadcrumbing and optimization in later chapters, but it's nice to know about the potential issues that I may run into. I'm glad to hear that I can still use Amazon Kindle on PC.

a.i.

I'm interested in how to implement an artificial intelligence in characters' behavior!

Most interesting

Most interesting thing here is definitely state management in scripting. Game AI is well covered in lots of texts but making scripting via states in Unity is much harder to find :)

Interested in Scene manipulation

Looking through the description of the book, I was interested by many of the things that it offers to teach. However, I was most interested in learning about how scene manipulation works and also learning about utilizing functions between scripts.

Unity 3D book - what interest me

I am primarily interested in the areas of the book which deal with scripting in Unity.

The Winners are...

In no particular order, the 3 eBooks up for grabs go to:

  • Sonny,
  • purplelilgirl, and
  • Ptolmy.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to Packt Publishing for making the Giveaway possible. The lucky ones will be contacted by email about their prizes.

For the rest, the book can be purchased directly from Packt (multiple formats, including paperback print), or from Amazon (paperback or Kindle format), O'Reilly (multiple e-formats), Kalahari (paperback print only) and other retailers.

For those who do not know already, somewhat similar to Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader, Packt Publishing also has their own Packt Web App for reading your e-books online or offline. Currently, the Packt Web App still offers a daily “Today's Free eBook” promotion that also allows you to read those books at any later date in their reader.

Thank you all for participating!