This is the first of a series of articles that cover my journey learning and exploring one of the most powerful indie game creation tools available - Unity. I'll be sharing my knowledge and discoveries over a 12 week period. Each week I'll post primarily on the process of learning Unity 3D along with other topics such as the history of the game engine, the community, and prominent artists/creators.
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What is Unity?
Unity, or more specifically Unity Technologies, was first introduced in 2005 at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. The company has grown steadily since then to become one of the most popular game engines on the planet. Part of the reason is their commitment to making the engine available for free. Another reason is their passion for focusing on the indie game community. Unity has also invested heavily in adding and growing their technology. Five versions of Unity have been released to date with each one receiving an increasingly positive response as the company added VR, AR and more powerful graphics.
Unity has truly achieved the "democratization of game creation" where other platforms give lip service to the phrase. It's now possible to say that practically anyone can make a game using Unity for free.
For more information about Unity, read their FAQ here. The Wikipedia has a good article on the company's history here. You can download the Unity Personal Edition 2017.3.1 here. There is an excellent trailer for Unity 2017.3 which you can watch here.
First Steps with Unity
After a lot of research online, I decided to use the Lynda.com course, "Unity 3D Essential Training" by Craig Barr. It's a beginner video tutorial series that is about 6 hours in duration and is designed for beginners. The course was made available in January 2018, so the information is current which is important since Unity 3D has added and changed a lot about the program over the last year. I'll be working with the current version Personal (as March 18, 2018) 2017.3.1. The Lynda.com course costs $38 (one-month subscription) and comes with all course exercise files.
The main reason I chose Lynda.com over the very useful Unity3d.com learning assets is that I like the way Lynda.com handles video instruction. Plus, the instructor has a clear and enjoyable voice to listen to. And also the course covers exactly what I want to know which is an overall introduction to Unity interface and workflow. Many courses online (and at Unity3d.com) are often focused on putting you directly into game creation, which I think is fine for most people. But since my focus is on learning I'll be working more slowly and following various game creation topics as they come up. "Unity 3D Essential Training" is perfect for my needs.
Next up: First 3 chapters of Unity 3D Essential Training