Unity Basics and Fundamentals

by Vinod Ravisankar Published January 9, 2024
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In video game development, Unity has emerged as a go to tool for creating immersive gaming experiences. This article will serve as a beginner-friendly guide, starting from the basics of Unity, exploring the crucial differences between Unity and Unreal, providing guidance for beginners, installation process, and learning resources available.

This article is part of a series on getting started with game development and game engines. We recommend you read the series in order, but feel free to jump around.

  1. What is an Indie Game?
  2. How to become a self-taught game developer
  3. The 7 Stages of Game Development
  4. Indie game programming for complete beginners
  5. 23+ Game Development Courses and Resources
  6. How to choose the right game engine
  7. Unity vs. Unreal
  8. Unity vs. Godot
  9. Game development with Unity
  10. Unity Basics
  11. Unity Free vs. Pro
  12. Unity Asset Store
  13. Best Unity Courses for 2024

Introduction to Unity Basics

Unity, as a leading game development platform, offers a suite of impressive features that appeal to beginner and expert developers alike. Unity’s user-friendly interface with a simple learning curve and flexible editor are standout features.

The engine supports publishing to almost all platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and various VR and AR devices.

Unity can be run on a Windows, Mac or Linux PC with a DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 graphics card. However the requirement varies based on the complexity of the projects undertaken.

Unity uses C# as the coding language for its games but there is an option of visual scripting for non-programmers.

Unity also offers a selection of software-as-a-service capabilities known as Unity Gaming Services. Unity Gaming Services makes it easier for new developers to integrate features like Ads and Analytics into their games.

Choosing the best game engine

If you are new to game development, you are likely wondering which game engine is the best. Ultimately, the best choice is the one that you are most comfortable using and that makes it easiest for you to get set up and start developing your project.

As a beginner, you will feel constrained by the limitations of any engine. As you become more proficient, you will learn how to overcome these limitations in the engine that you picked, and you will learn that every engine has its own drawbacks that you need to work around.

Choosing Between Unity and Unreal

When deciding between Unity vs. Unreal, consider your project’s scope and requirements. Unity is known for its ease of use and strong support for mobile and indie developers. It shines in 2D game development and offers a vast asset store. Unreal Engine, on the other hand, is preferred for high-fidelity graphics and AAA game production. The Blueprint system in Unreal Engine, similar to Unity’s visual scripting, streamlines the programming process. However, it typically requires more computational resources.

Both engines are capable of developing any game that you can imagine. The choice comes down to personal preference and learning curves.

Choosing Between Unity and Godot

When deciding between Unity vs. Godot, you also need to consider similar factors as for choosing between Unity and Unreal. However, can be better suited for some indie developers depending on your preference around licensing and target platforms.

Unity is known for its ease of use and strong support for mobile and indie developers.

Although Godot is also known to be relatively easy to use, it offers slightly more complicated when attempting to deliver games to console platforms like Xbox, PlayStation, and Switch.

Both Unity and Godot are fantastic choices when it comes to 2D game development. Although Unity has been a long-time leader in 3D, Godot 4 has recently introduced incredible new technology like impressive Global Illumination using a technique called Signed Distance Field Global Illumination.

That being said, the Unity store does offer a much larger and more comprehensive set of assets to choose from. Meanwhile, the community offerings for Godot are more limited but are also often free or open source.

Ultimately, both Godot and Unity are excellent engines that are capable of developing any game you could want. Try both, assess your project goals, and make a list of pros and cons to determine the best fit for your project.

Guidance for Beginners

For those new to Unity, starting simple is the key. Here are some key points to consider

  1. Begin by familiarizing yourself with Unity Editor’s interface. Learn how to navigate the scene view, game view, hierarchy, and inspector.
  2. Grasp the concept of game objects, which are the fundamental elements in a Unity scene, and learn how components (like Transform, Renderer, and scripts) add functionality to these objects.
  3. While Unity offers visual scripting options, understanding the basics of C# scripting is essential for more complex functionalities.
  4. Get to know Unity physics and Collision Detection, particularly the Rigidbody and collider components.
  5. Start with small-scale projects to apply your learning. This could be as simple as creating a rolling ball game or a basic platformer.

📄 Resources:

Unity Installation Guide

To install Unity, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Unity website and download the Unity Hub.
  2. In Unity Hub, create an account or log in.
  3. Navigate to the ‘Installs’ tab and click on ‘Add’.
  4. Choose the desired version of Unity. For beginners, the latest stable release is recommended.
  5. Select the modules for your target platform (e.g., Windows, Mac, Android). The Unity editor will be selected by default. You can skip Visual Studio and use VScode to avoid an extra GB of download.
  6. Once downloaded, you can create a new project and start exploring Unity.

Learning Resources in Unity

Unity offers a plethora of learning resources on its own platform. Here are some key resources for you.

  1. Unity Learn: This platform provides tutorials, courses, and projects tailored for all skill levels.
  2. Unity Documentation: Contains resources for detailed information on every aspect of Unity.
  3. Unity Discussions: Engage with other Unity users, ask questions, and share experiences.
  4. Unity Asset Store: A marketplace for ready-made assets and tools, perfect for accelerating development.

Apart from this, there are tons of resources online on Udemy, YouTube and other platforms.

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Conclusion

Beginning with Unity can be an overwhelming journey.

By understanding its basics, choosing the right learning path for your needs, and leveraging the learning resources, you can swiftly transition from a beginner to an expert Unity developer.

Remember to start simple. So if you have an idea, a hardware to run Unity and you are serious enough to learn Unity, then you can have a prototype running within a month.

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