Unity Game Development Blueprints

Unity Game Development Blueprints - Book CoverIt has been a while since my previous book Giveaway, such that I figured it is again time to organize another one. Last month an interesting book was published titled Unity Game Development Blueprints, written by John P. Doran, who is an experienced game designer, instructor and an established book author on game development (involving UDK and now Unity). In today’s post I share some thoughts on this new Unity book that Packt Publishing sent my way, and I’ll discuss how you could win a free e-copy of the book for yourself!

Overview

The book is aimed at beginners to intermediate-level Unity 3D developers. My overall impression of the content and quality is good, and I like the useful notes and tips scattered throughout. The book’s length is quite nice with 318 pages of total content (290 pages without the front and back matter). It is definitely much different from Packt’s shorter "Instant" or "Getting Started" book series; this book contains lots more details, which I appreciate.

The step-by-step examples in the book, which include art assets, revolve around three main projects:

  • There is a 2D top-down shooter,
  • then there is a 2.5D side-scrolling platformer,
  • and also a 3D first-person shooter (of a sort).

To get a glimpse of the three projects, check out the author’s YouTube channel or watch the videos below. The initial examples may seem a little bit basic, but I believe that is the whole point of this book: to make Unity easily accessible to prospective game developers.

Personally I would have liked to see example content similar to the author’s neat Terror in Deep Space example (shown below) that was developed for his Mastering UDK Game Development HOTSHOT book, but maybe this is just because of nostalgia from another space-shooter game I developed last year. Hopefully similar advanced content is planned for an upcoming (let’s suppose) "Mastering Unity 3D Game Development" book title (hint, hint :).

Anyway, the examples are coded in C# that is the language used by the vast majority of Unity users (which is a good thing) and is now also the default language for the upcoming Unity 5 documentation (awesome).

More Good Stuff

The text was written for Unity 4.5, but it also includes aspects from Unity 4.6 that exited the beta phase only last week, such that the content is as fresh as you can possibly get. Topics are explained quite well, but a lot of ground is covered, so don't expect everything to be discussed in minute details. Some of the topics covered are:

  • Unity’s relatively-new native 2D tools,
  • GUI elements (both traditional and the new Unity 4.6 framework),
  • level editor with save files (serialization),
  • coroutines for asynchronous programming,
  • animations,
  • prefabs,
  • sprites,
  • singletons,
  • deployment (including how to build an installer with Inno Setup),
  • use of MonoDevelop, the open-source Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that comes with Unity, although you can use Visual Studio or another code editor that you prefer,
  • creation of internal and external game environments,
  • and much more.

As is usually the case with electronic books from Packt Publishing, this e-book also comes bundled with all three of the ubiquitous e-book formats (that is PDF, MOBI and ePub files). Therefore, you can read the book on various mobile or PC devices. If you plan to read the MOBI version on a Kindle Touch device, the text will be quite tiny and not use the standard font sizing that you may expect. However, the PDF version on a PC or larger tablet device works great and screenshots are clear.

If you’re relatively new to Unity development, or just want to again brush up on some of the topics, I think this is an excellent resource. It is obvious that the author put a lot of effort into coming up with meaningful examples and explaining things systematically - I like it!

Merry Christmas

As an aside, in addition to the Giveaway of this blog post, Packt had a Christmas Countdown event. For the first 24 days of December, every day you could grab a free e-book or video gift from their advent calendar. As we hoped, there was even a Unity themed gift in the mix: right on the last day they offered NGUI for Unity by Charles Bernardoff!

The Lucky Ones

So, about that Giveaway that I mentioned initially, two lucky winners stood a chance to also win digital copies of John Doran’s new book.

How to Enter?

The contest is now closed. All you had to do was to post your expectations from this book in the comments section below.

Just click on “Add new comment” below my blog post – 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.)

You could also have doubled your chance of winning by sending an email to the book author (details here), in addition to leaving a comment below.

Deadline

The contest closing date was 24 December 2014 at 5:30 PM Central Standard Time (UTC-6), which was also the last day of Packt’s other Christmas Countdown giveaways. If you waited, it is now too late to enter for a free copy, but of course you may still buy the book, and until 6 January 2015 this e-book and others are available for only $5. (The winners are listed below in a comment on the closing date.)

Comments

Book expectations

I expect this book would provide a brief overview of the new GUI which would be very useful for me. I haven't worked with the new GUI yet, so any bits of info would be useful! Looks like a nice book!

Thanks

Hi John,

First of all thanks for making this contest possible.

Regarding your book, I would expect it to first provide simple but valuable intro to Unity and then proceed on with guiding the reader in building a game or various parts of the game in each chapter.
Book should first teach by creating some simpler games and then in last chapter maybe build more complex game.

All in all when I finish the book, I would expect to be ready to continue building Unity games and expanding those concepts.

In fact I plan to teach my son game programming so this book would help with that also.

Thanks and have a great day!

New 2D system and UI

I would like to learn about the new 2D and sprites of Unity :)

My expectations

I am a rather advanced Unity developer so not really all that interested in "Getting started" books but when I read the word "blueprint" I generally expect an example that shows how to do something in a simple and structured, easy to understand way... or code to copy paste :D

I know my limitations and my limitations are [blushing as I admit this], of a very basic nature... I suck with setting up lighting that looks good and I suck royally at any coding involving rotation or creating swipes...

I am hoping that this book would present me with a simple to understand explanation of basic vector math that is a tad easier to follow than the Unity documentation. Explaining, for instance, how I can swipe my screen and then, based on the speed of my swipe, an object will rotate in the scene at a decent speed (not simply multiplied by swipe speed) and then slowly slow down afterwards, but have the duration of the "after swipe" rotation be determined by the speed of the swipe...

That is quite an exact example and I don't expect to find that exact example in there, but something that would simplify swipe code and rotation code to the point where I could do that myself... That is something I would love to see in this book...

Nice competition

Nice competition, I want to keep better my skills and what better way than the old fashion way, Books :)

Book

I'd love for this book to explore the new UI system, and I'd expect to gain treat knowledge on furthering my Unity knowledge.

My Expectation

What I expect for this book is just simple:
To teach me the skills or fundamentals necessary for a newbie in Unity like me to create a good game
At the same time to give me an idea of what to expect for in the newly released Unity 4.6 and its future versions
I'd like to learn some animation stuff and some good coding standards too, and give me skills to easily develop a simple 3D game :D

The Winners...

In no particular order, the 2 eBooks up for grabs go to:

  • Aubrey, and
  • Roboblob.

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) and other retailers.

For those who do not know already, all the Packt e-books and videos are currently also on sale for only $5 each until 6 January 2015.

Thank you all for participating!