Heya folks! It’s been a while since our announcement that we’ll be doing a series of game development tutorials right here on Gamnesia. I am sorry we weren’t able to start earlier, but it took a while to prepare everything and figure out the best way to tackle a not-so-small task. That being said, the entire tutorial series is pretty much ready and will be published bi-weekly right here on Gamnesia.

The vote was overwhelmingly in favor for the Unity Engine, so that’s the first thing we’ll be looking at. Let’s get a few basic things out of the way:

  1. We will be working with Unity 4.5. I will be demonstrating using the Pro version, but I will limit the content shown to what’s available in the Basic version.
  2. Tutorials will mostly consist of text tutorials with video tutorials interwoven where needed (such as in creating art assets)
  3. We will be working on a Robots vs. Zombies game and the lessons will encompass everything – coding, modeling, texturing, etc.
  4. I will be using Maya and Photoshop for 3D and 2D respectively, but you can replace these with Blender and GIMP.
  5. I will be doing all the programming in Visual Studio, and I encourage you to do so as well. Visual Studio express is free and blows Unity’s MonoDevelop out of the water. If you are on a Mac I’m afraid you’ll have to live with MonoDevelop though.

Initial Setup

Now with those bullet points cleared up, we can start off with the actual setup. If you haven’t done so, now is the time to download and install Unity 4.5 and Visual Studio Express (You want the Windows version, not the Web one). The installation process is simple and straightforward. If you wish to try out the 30 day Unity Pro trial, feel free to do that, it will just revert to Basic once the time is up. Note that any Pro functionality you might have added during that time will not function afterward.

Once you have Unity opened up, the New Project wizard will pop up. Make sure the environment is set to 3D and that none of the packages are selected from the list. Once you’re in the actual editor head to
Edit – Preferences from the top menu. In the External Tools section, pick External Script Editor and hit “Browse”. Now look for your Visual Studio’s exe file (should be under C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio Express\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe). With that, Visual Studio is now the default script editor for Unity.

Visual Studio requires practically no set up and works just fine out of the box.

Customizing Unity

Now that we have everything up and running, let’s see how we can customize it. Right off the bat you’ll notice that my layout is very different from the default one that you see when you first run Unity. Thing is, you can grab each tab in the editor and drag / dock it anywhere else, customizing your workspace to suit you best. What you see in the screenshot is my personal setup, but you can go with whatever suits you best. Once you have your setup the way you like it, you can save it via the button on the top-right of Unity. You can even have different layouts and switch between them quickly (I, for example, have a Default1080 layout, seen in the screenshot, a Default720 layout for smaller screens, Animation1080, etc.). Regardless of how you arrange the elements, Unity consists of 6 basic views (“sub windows”):

1. Scene View

This is your bread and butter – all level building, enemy placement, etc. will be done in the scene view. It shows you everything in the current scene.

2. Hierarchy View

The Hierarchy View also shows all the objects in the current scene, but in a hierarchical list view . This makes it easier to select objects if you can’t pin-point them in the scene view, among other things.

3. Game View

Once you hit the Play button located at the top middle of the Unity window, this is where your game will be shown. A handy drop-down on the top-left allows you to specify resolutions or aspect ratios.

4. Project View

All of your project files and folders will be shown here. We’ll talk more about different asset types and asset organization in the next lesson.

5. Inspector View

This shows the properties of the currently selected objects.

6. Console View

All errors or debug commands from your scripts will be logged here.

Note that we’ll talk more about each specific view as we encounter them throughout the lessons, so don’t fret if some of it isn’t clear to you right now. Last but not least, another useful feature is Shift+Space, which maximizes / restores the view that you’re currently hovering over with your mouse. This is great when you need the extra space due to e.g. resolution constraints.

In the next lesson, we’ll take a look at viewport navigation and basic object creation and manipulation. Until then, feel free to experiment yourself – you can’t mess anything up (probably). If you have any questions / concerns, let ’em rip in the comment section or toss me a mail at [email protected]

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Damir Halilović

I've been part of this gang since the first formation of Zelda Informer back in 2006. Over the years I've worked as a news poster, editor, forum administrator, graphic artist and technical administrator.

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and I've been working as a game developer since late 2013.

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