How to learn Unity-Getting started

Want to learn unity and don’t know where to start? You are in the right place. In this post we will cover how to learn unity in step by step manner, so you can become an effective game developer.

Any new game developer starts of with an idea for a game. But to make that idea into reality it takes skill and knowledge. Like all skills, game development also takes time and dedication to learn. But, you can put together an learning plan then it shouldn’t be difficult. Breaking down a large task into smaller ones is the best way to master a skill.

Lets breakdown learning of unity into steps. Before that, lets hope you have installed unity or you can get it from Unity website for free.

1. Learn to go around Unity editor.

Once you have installed Unity the next thing you have to do is learning to move around Unity editor. First step to learn any software is to learn the menus and the layout. Unity has a simple layout so it shouldn’t take much time to get around.

Most important windows in the unity editor are the hierarchy, scene view, game view, projects, inspector and the console window. You can get the details here.

Once you know what these windows do. The next thing is to learn how to add new windows and how to customize the layout. Though I prefer the default layout, many people like to work in their own style. One important feature of unity editor is, you can change the color shade of the editor in play mode i.e, the editor looks different when you press play. You can see how to do it here.

2. Learn to import packages.

If you are going to work with unity then knowing how to import object is a must. In every game you will need to import 3d models, pictures, fonts, materials, textures, sound and many other things.

Unity supports a simple drag and drop feature. You can drag the assets from your folder into the project window. Sometimes you will need to import unity package. You can do that from the create menu in the project window.

Next thing is importing from the asset store. Asset store is a collection of game assets for unity developers. It has both free and paid assets. You can access the assets store within the editor by adding the asset store window. Then download the required asset and hit import. Asset store can be accessed from the web browser too.

3. Learn what is gameobject and how to add components.

Unity has a component based workflow and all major elements are called gameobject. A gameobject can be a 3D character, 2D sprite, button, text etc. Any object that appears on the hierarchy window is called a game object.

Every gameobject can be configured by adding components to them from the inspector window. For example an image in the scene can be made to function as a button by adding the button component to it.

Take a box in a game for example. The object you have added in hierarchy that represents the box is the gameobject. If you click on the gameobject you will see the components connected to the game object in the inspector window. Transform, mesh renderer, collider are examples of components. You can move the component up and down to specify the priority of execution.

4. Know about the camera and lighting

Camera and lights are the most crucial part of any game scene. While camera defines how the game would look like from the eyes of the player, the lights define the color and mood of the scene. Every default scene in unity comes with a camera and directional light.

Camera can be further configured by adding components just like gameobjects. In unity you can have infinite number of cameras in a scene and they can be rendered in any order you want. Unity camera has a lot of options that you can play around until you get the right view for your game. The most important thing a new developer should learn is how to make the camera follow the player. You can get more details on Unity camera here.

Unity has different type of lights that you can choose from. Lights are of very less use in 2D games. The main importance of lights come in 3D games. The lights in the games define the mood of the scene and having bad lights can spoil the look and feel of the game. Also, choosing the right light for your game is also important. It doesn’t mean you should have only one light in your game, but having many lights can increase the processing requirement for your game.

5. Know the basic of scripting in Unity

Unity is a really great game engine but, without knowing how to write script you cannot take complete advantage of the game engine. Basic unity scripting in c# is not that complicated. Anybody can learn it without much difficulty. When you create a new script in unity, the game engine creates the basic structure required in the code. The first step for any new developer is to learn what the basic functions in unity do.

The important functions in unity are the Start function and the update function. The start function runs only once when the object to which the script is attached is initialized. The update function runs every frame. The next thing is to learn how to access the components of different objects and how to reference them in script using get component. The beginners course in unity website is the best way to learn.

6. Learn the Colliders

Collider is the most important physics component that any game developer needs to master. Unity has separate colliders for 3D and 2D objects. There are different types of collider in Unity for different object shapes. For example, there is a box collider of cubes and cuboids. Using the best suited collider can have effective results.

After learning about the types of colliders the next thing is what does a collider marked as a trigger mean. Using collider as triggers is a very common practice in game development. In addition, learning about the OnCollisionEnter and OnTriggerEnter functions is also important.

7. Learn the basics of character movement

Unity character controller is little advance for new developer. But once you get the hang of it ,its very easy to implement. The main thing to note is an unity character can be moved in many ways. Using unity character controller is just one of them. One can move the character using physics components or using transform component in unity.

I suggest making the first character controller script all by yourself. That will give you the complete understanding of how movement work in unity.

8. Learn to make basic menu system

Making menu can be little boring for most game developers, but without an good menu system, in game navigation between scenes can be difficult and can frustrate players. You can make the menu system good by following some basic UI principles.

In unity making menu system is not very complex. You can make a common level manager script with a simple level load function and just pass the name of the scene you want to load at run time. Check this unity tutorial to learn the basic of menu system.

Once you are done with the above topics you must be able to develop any basic game effortlessly. As its said any skill requires constant practice to make it perfect. By constantly developing games you can master unity within no time.

Unity learn website can be of real help to new developers. Have fun developing games.

Check out the below pages for more on game development

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