Learn Unity coming soon.

August 29, 2012 in Community

Well its been a long time coming but we’re finally working on a totally new learning section on the official Unity site. Our existing Support section is very out of date, and we made a conscious decision last year to replace it rather than try and update parts of it. With plenty of experience in education within the company, we have a great bed of talent to create learning materials for free so that you can pick up Unity not only as a migration from other systems but also as a way to learn game development from scratch.

My past Unity tutorial project – http://unity3dstudent.com was an experiment I created during my time teaching BA Interactive Media Production at Bournemouth University. Since then, many people have learned Unity with that site and I’m happy to say the approach of smaller modules of content that work independently was proved valuable. We now plan to take this approach and expand upon it for the official site. This means that soon you will see a new section to replace the ‘Support’ area of the website, that contains an all new tutorial area, as well as the documentation and other support material.

Non-linear learning

In interactive industries, many of us spend time teaching ourselves software from online resources. The games industry is no exception, and we see millions of fantastic online resources created by our community to help each other learn unity. This is one of the factors which has meant we could take time to create our own resource, safe in the knowledge that the community would help itself in the meantime – and for that we applaud you.

Something that I haven’t seen too much application of in interactive software training is the use of non-linear approaches. Simply put – most training materials force you to follow a pre-determined route through your learning material. This echoes the traditional classroom approach of presenting steps for students to follow and is tried and tested. However, the problem inherent in this approach is that as students we are then unable to prioritise what we wish to learn, or get directly to what we need to know, if simply using learning materials as a reference. For example – want to know how to use a trigger zone? you don’t want to spend 20 minutes fast-forwarding through a long video to find that part out.

For this reason, content you will see in our new learning area will take a modular approach with short videos or articles that you can dive into whenever you need, let’s take a look at how this works.

How will it work?

The learning area will be split into a hierarchy of -

  • Levels (eg. Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Artist, Architect, Level Designer)
  • Topics (eg. Graphics, Physics, Scripting, Audio, Characters, Animation)
  • Lessons, Assignments & Projects

Levels of content will be presented with complexity levels or Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced, but also show custom arrangements of content for Artists, or Architects for example. Eventually we hope to allow users to create their own custom level of content by picking whatever lessons they wish – this will hopefully benefit tutors teaching Unity who wish to create their own syllabus from our content. Each level will have Projects associated with it.

Topics should be considered as playlists or groups of content on a particular topic, containing lessons and assignments on that topic. A single topic at a particular level should be seen as one Module of content – for example Beginner Physics.

Lessons will be short videos you can watch to understand a concept – kind of like checking the Script Reference in docs works now. They will not require you to follow steps but simply explain. Assignments will take what you can learn from several modules and combine them to make a small part of a game – a mechanic or piecing together an environment for example. Finally, Projects will be the result of several Assignments, that give you the chance to make a small working demo. As you progress through incrementally complex levels of content, you’ll create more detailed examples of gameplay – taking you through a variety of game development scenarios.

 

Overview

Community integration

We’re also hoping to integrate this with your Unity developer network sign on – to allow you to track your progress, resume watching content etc. This may not be in the first iteration but is something we know will benefit users and be working to provide. This tracking also allows us to see what you’re interested in, and provide targeted new learning content when we create it in the future.

Visual Style

For the style of these tutorials, we wanted to develop a fairly unique and interesting style that will inspire you to learn our software. Having looked at many current art styles of games, we took a few of our own creative influences and have come up with a style that blends Retro-future art, Hi-tech, and the concept of a research resort – think Lost meets Portal, Thunderbirds, and well.. Unity! We hope you like what we’re coming up with, in the meantime, there’s a sneak peek at the art slice Dave has been working on at the top of this post.

Code

As you’re likely aware, Unity supports C#, Javascript (aka Unityscript) and Boo (a derivative of Python, but rarely used). For this system we will support C# and Javascript – and by support I mean we’ll primarily show C# in our video content but provide a Javascript conversion in the code listing beneath the video on the page. We had a take a decision on what to do in this regard, and felt that recording with both languages would slow us down – if we find that we have time to add this once we’re in production later, we may change tack to having both languages recorded. Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Team Superlearn

As a fan of action movies, I’ve always secretly wanted to utter the words ‘I’m putting a team together’ and fully expected this to be followed by a montage of myself and several others constructing some kind of battle tank, A-Team style. However, in the case of the team creating Unity tutorials, we’ve kept it a little more low key – and we’ve put together a small team that will be focused over the next few months on getting a set of Unity tutorial content together to help you learn- let’s meet the team -

Will Goldstone – Project Manager, Presenter

I am Content manager at Unity, so I create the video material you see on our website, and work with our web team in marketing as they add new cool stuff to the site. I’ll be presenting and recording the tutorials for this system.

David Llewelyn – Technical Artist

Dave joins us as artist for the project, from a background in triple-A console titles that include the Lego series of games.

James Bouckley – Programmer

James has been with us for some time in the support department, helping thousands of users with problems in all areas of Unity development – and he also has a degree in maths and theoretical physics – cool!

Emil ‘AngryAnt’ Johansen – Code Overlord

If you don’t know Emil, you haven’t used Unity for too long! but never fear, you’ll get to know him. Emil is overseeing the quality of the content we produce and knows everything there is to know about Unity dev.

Ethan Vosburgh – Artist extraordinaire

Ethan is another vet of Unity tech, and has been providing art content to demos and other projects we’ve given you over the past few years, if you’ve seen it, he’s crafted it, and he is joining Emil in overseeing the quality of our content.

Timeline & Current content

We’re currently aiming to create the first series of content over the next few months, so watch the blog as well as twitter for more news. In the meantime, the first fruits of Team Superlearn can be seen in the form of the Unity 4.0 Pre-order beta tutorial for Mecanim. Note that this is a very long tutorial (45min) that covers all of the system – we will not be presenting our Learn section tutorials at this length for reasons mentioned in the Non-linear learning section above. Take a look at the video below, and thanks for reading this far!
[UPDATED - 23 November 2012]

As always if you have any comments or requests for features of this project – please let us know in the comments below!

Comments (41)

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  1. Jeff Wilson

    November 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm / 

    It would be nice if this got finished soon.

  2. Mads Pedersen

    November 22, 2012 at 4:45 am / 

    + Beast, lacks good game oriented tutorials where you do not use a cornellbox. I’ve never seen a game take place in such a box :-) Maybe an indoor scene, an outdoor scene in the sun, cloudy, summer and winter.

  3. Bnut

    October 15, 2012 at 7:48 am / 

    So interesting, I want this lesson to be start soon ^^.

  4. Josh

    October 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm / 

    When will the demo files for this Mechanim tutorial be available? I have the Unity 4.0 beta (just recently bought a Pro license), and have searched all through the folder and packages for this, to no avail. Where is it? Is it not being released with the beta?

  5. Lance

    September 26, 2012 at 9:26 am / 

    I’m also in support of watching C# videos but with Unityscript accompanying the video. I primarily use C#, but am versed enough to handle both languages. Taking time out to produce two videos per topic will slow down releasing new content, and we can’t have that can we? ;)

  6. Lance

    September 26, 2012 at 9:19 am / 

    Late posting this. Love that support section is getting a much needed overhaul. I hope there will be room for some 2D platformer game tutorials. Specifically things like rolling your own character controller. I’ve been disappointed with the standard CharacterController offered as the default capsule collider just isn’t well suited for a 2D platformer game.

    I’m currently working on creating my own controller and have things like one-way platforms figured out, but have issues with rigidbodies “biting” and “sticking” onto platforms if I apply force in that direction. So I’ll need to figure stuff like that out from scratch and also add in handling slopes. Maybe these things can be put together for a Mario-like sample game project like is being suggested for the Angry Birds project above.

    Thanks for the great work! Looking forward to the extra support!

  7. Tiles

    September 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm / 

    Great news. But please take the time to create the JS videos too.

  8. Jon

    September 16, 2012 at 9:08 am / 

    This sounds fantastic, can’t wait for the new learning resources. The proposed approach sounds like it should be spot on. Aside from scripting, I hope you’ll also include some tutorials which deal with the workflow for getting assets into Unity from other software such as Maya.

  9. darrin

    September 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm / 

    Hi will.What the fuck did you just say ,that was like you were speakong german to me!!!!!!

  10. Matthew

    September 11, 2012 at 1:38 am / 

    In UnityDocs/References , I strongly desire for a ‘comment section’ or wiki functionality, and links to related answers on UnityAnswers I think it’d be extremely useful for when anyone comes across something they don’t understand.

    Many scripting references are short descriptions etc and being able to discuss every bit of documentation in a comments/wiki format would be useful. Allowing more experienced users to put the docs into terms newbies can understand, or add additional useful info at the bottom as a sub-note, tips & tricks, what not to do etc

    What do you think?

    WHat do you think>

  11. Dan

    September 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm / 

    Fantastic! I was just looking around for some new tutorials and examples. Where can we go to suggest tutorial topics?

  12. Will Goldstone

    September 5, 2012 at 12:46 am / 

    @Chris – thanks man that’s exactly the kind of reasoned comment I was hoping for! Hope you like what we create.

  13. Chris

    September 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm / 

    I’m glad that the tutorial section will finally be getting some love… and your reasons why you haven’t been updating it are decent (although some additional links to other Unity resources on the web might have been nice).

    As a Unityscript user, I have no issues with your approach of doing the tutorials in C# in the videos. C# is the native code for Unity, and it’s a more accepted programming language. As long as Javascript translations are also included, I don’t think there will be a problem.

  14. xefhs

    September 2, 2012 at 11:41 am / 

    Hi Will,

    I’ve noticed in the Mecanim tut, the code don’t fit to any coding convention (and by the way, as many other demo from unity technologies :( )

    Like MSDN say “they create a consistent look to the code, so that readers can focus on content, not layout”.
    If one script to another, code switch from Hungarian to Resharper, the reader who is already trying to understand how the script works will be completely lost…

    Else, it’s a great initiative to teach unity with modular tutorials, I hope see them soon :)

  15. Sean Baggaley

    September 2, 2012 at 10:53 am / 

    Hi Will,

    Shame. I’ve grown rather attached to the li’l feller. With that 2.5D platform game tutorial as well, it almost felt like a franchise.

    New tutorials would be good though. The user education side of the site does let the side down somewhat.

    Well, that and the docs, which could do with some work. The TOC is very long now, and appears to be doing double duty as an index. But I guess that’s veering off-topic. :)

  16. Will Goldstone

    September 2, 2012 at 10:06 am / 

    Hi Sean, thanks for your message. Interesting to hear of your work at Criterion – we have some insight on that from some other colleagues too and great to hear that this approach is something agreed on from such an experienced industry guy like yourself.

    As for the monocled munchkin, Lerpz’s tutorials have had their day – but he (and really the great guys that made those tutorials) did an awesome job of teaching thousands of our users. Taking this into consideration, you should understand that our Examples area of each Series will contain larger projects, and from Intermediate level onwards, some of these will games of the scale of the Lerpz 3D and 2.5D projects – so that’s where we would place them.

    We of course considered updating these, and you aren’t the first person in the community to offer to update them and others for the asset store but we simply want to make a clean break – Unity is a different beast (no pun intended) to what it was way back when Lerpz fired up his first jetpack, and to simply polish those tutorials up wouldn’t do our users or the engine justice. With a little time and patience, we hope to create equivalents to Lerpz that take advantage of the latest in our tech and teaching approaches. If you wish to talk more about this stuff, feel free to drop me a mail on will [at] unity3d dot com.

  17. Sean Baggaley

    September 2, 2012 at 5:04 am / 

    Hi Will,

    Interesting approach. If it helps, Renderware 3′s user education moved in the same direction when I was running what passed for their docs team (which consisted entirely of me for about a year): I suggested creating simple, interactive demos for each main feature rather than huge, monolithic tech demos. The demos team cranked out a new demo almost every week and these proved very popular. (The Renderware team originally had plans to create something very similar to Unity prior to being purchased by EA. EA effectively killed off Renderware as a middleware library; they bought Criterion mainly for their “Burnout” franchise.)

    Can you confirm that this means those old “Lerpz” tutorials are going to be retired when the new learning site goes up?

    I know they’re getting a bit long in the tooth, but I do think the “3D Platformer Tutorial” could be salvaged. If I can get your (UT’s) permission, I’d be willing to update that tutorial and put it on the Asset Store sometime after the 4.0 release—probably when the new GUI is released later in the 4.x cycle. It seems a shame to let all that work go to waste and most of it still stands up.

    I’m working on some genre-specific tutorials for the Asset Store as many people can learn just as well by picking apart an existing project that comes with documentation to explain the “what”, “how” and, just as importantly, the “why”.

    My “Tic-Tac-Tut” project is already on the Asset Store and is intended as the first in a series. My day-job has slowed me down quite a bit, but I’ve got a new tutorial focusing on creating board games in Unity sitting on the workbench right now. There aren’t many tutorials on turn-based genres, so this seems like a good niche.

    Updating that 3D Platformer Tutorial and putting it on the Asset Store (for free, given that I didn’t create the project files themselves) would slot into the “3D Platform Game” genre nicely and fit in with the rest of the series.

  18. Gavalakis Vaggelis

    September 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm / 

    Great news people!

  19. Val Etobayev

    September 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm / 

    Awesome as a beginner to Unity this will help a lot of people like me wanting to become better at using Unity, I can’t wait for in depth tutorials for animations.

  20. SteveOB

    August 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm / 

    @Will – are you able to also release a new tutorial book to accompany these online tutorials. I have your current book Unity 3.x game development.

    Be nice to buy a book to go with it.

    Thanks, Steve

    1. Will Goldstone

      August 31, 2012 at 3:07 am / 

      Hi Steve, I won’t be writing a new book that soon – what is covered in my existing book I will add in any changes on its site unitybook.net, as I did for 3.5. Personally there are some amazing new workflows coming in the 4.x cycle I want to wait for – see the keynote from Unite that announced Timelines and New GUI – once those are out and in use then I’ll think about a new book, as they’re gonna change the way you work in Unity in such a cool way.

  21. Ashkan

    August 30, 2012 at 6:18 pm / 

    Seems also taking the Microsoft approach in one way or another. Even if it’s not, following them is a good idea. I never went to their websites to learn something and come back hopeless. I generally learn fast and try hard to learn but even concepts which are described the hard way in other places are so easy in channel 9 videos and MSDN topics. DId not watch much video tutorials but those are good as well because watched some.
    Even when you go to MSDN to learn D3D or Direct draw for the first time, It’s low level and it’s new but it’s really smooth and easy to learn.

  22. Alan

    August 30, 2012 at 11:50 am / 

    That’s really awesome news! Personally, I used the unity3dstudent site every now and then when I first looked into Unity and really liked it. There’s rarely something better than a good quality video tutorial. And if there is a whole series of them, all in the same format, the better!

    I’m looking forward to learn a new trick or two from the Pros themselves! :)

    Greets,

    Alan

  23. Barbara Parkman

    August 30, 2012 at 7:41 am / 

    Great news! I got my start in Unity from “Unity Game Development Essentials” — looking forward to more great teaching from the same source. I think the modular approach is great. Thanks.

  24. Christophe Largilliere

    August 30, 2012 at 1:22 am / 

    Sounds great !

    Hope to see some tricky tricks ;)

  25. Mighty Mao

    August 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm / 

    Sounds good! I am looking forward to learn new stuffs. That is exactly what has been missing from the Unity3D. Unity3D has been incorporated a lot of good technologies into Unity3D Engine, but there are not a lot tutorials to utilize these great technological potentials. Great products, but if no one knows how to use them, they are useless.

  26. Jordan Thompson

    August 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm / 

    @Will – That explains a lot! I apologize I didn’t go to the youtube video page, only to this blog page so I didn’t see the link or the description from the youtube page: “For Unity 4.0 beta customers “, etc. Now it makes sense.

    Cheers!

  27. James

    August 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm / 

    Will there be any type of official certification program? Also will there be a chance to become a certified trainer?

  28. Will Goldstone

    August 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm / 

    @Jordan – I thought you were referring to some paid for tutorial for the beta which doesn’t exist! And the link is in the description of the Youtube.

  29. Jordan Thompson

    August 29, 2012 at 12:05 pm / 

    @Will- Thanks for answering my questions. Perhaps it’s in front of my face but I still don’t see the link to the tutorial files for the video. However I searched the forums and found the link (this is what I was referring to when I asked if there was an ETA for releasing the Tutorial files for the “Preorder Mechanim Beta Tutorial” video).

    Preorder Mechanim Beta Tutorial Project Files:
    http://files.unity3d.com/will/MecanimTute.zip

  30. Gyula Somogyi

    August 29, 2012 at 11:07 am / 

    @Will – sounds excellent! This aspect is indeed missing from many tutorials although it is very crucial part of a well functioning game. Look forward to so the tuts – the sooner the better :-)

  31. Will Goldstone

    August 29, 2012 at 10:47 am / 

    @Jordan – wow some huge leaps of assumption here!

    1. we will not be charging for any tutorials
    2. ‘preorder’ in the mecanim beta tutorial refers to the fact that its for people that have preordered unity 4 and therefore have access to the beta!
    3. if you want to ask questions about Mecanim please use the beta group and email lists associated with it, but to confirm – a simple way to get your motions from mixamo is to use their fbx exporter, then retarget the motions from there.

    hope that covers what you’re asking?

  32. Jordan Thompson

    August 29, 2012 at 10:43 am / 

    @Will- The title of the tutorial here uses the word Preorder so should I assume that Unity will be releasing tutorials for purchase? If so, what will be the price range? I’m currently using Unity 4 beta and would like to learn more about Mecanim, is there an ETA when the Tutorial files will be available for this Mecanim Tutorial? Finally, I noticed in the Mecanim tutorial that there’s no mention on converting .anim files. Will there be any information in regards to this? I ask because I’ve purchased lots of animation from the asset store (mostly from Mixamo) and the editor reports these .anim files are not re-targetable.

  33. Will Goldstone

    August 29, 2012 at 10:31 am / 

    @Gyula – yes we plan to delve into the more theoretical ‘how to structure a game in unity’ that is often left out of tutorials – great point thanks.

  34. Gyula Somogyi

    August 29, 2012 at 10:30 am / 

    The reborn of tutorials is warmly welcomed. Beyond those topics you have listed maybe you could add some (even theoretical) material on explaining/showing best practices on the structuring of the game project within Unity. The connection between the different sections of a game, how to design your project, etc. As a beginner this would be extremely useful for me and I guess for others as well. Learning the magic knowledge of building a complete game for sale, from alfa-to-omega using building blocks would be great…

  35. Will Goldstone

    August 29, 2012 at 8:57 am / 

    @Rusmar please see newly added ‘Code’ paragraph in the article above – thank you for prompting me to add this, I had forgotten!

  36. Ramsar

    August 29, 2012 at 8:52 am / 

    Please also provide C# code (together with the UnityScript) if you use scripting for the tutorials, as very few learning resources available today actually use C#.

  37. Aedous

    August 29, 2012 at 8:30 am / 

    Nice one! hopefully there would be some tutorials from Beginner – Advanced on editor scripting, because there’s only a small amount of content for this topic compared to the rest.

  38. Adams Immersive

    August 29, 2012 at 8:16 am / 

    Sounds good. I can see this effort could very well entail building some kind of battle tank!

  39. rahu

    August 29, 2012 at 6:22 am / 

    If you peoples can help on code cleaning then it will be great help for me. As I am not a good programmer some time i write long codes which puts more load on system, and makes my game heavy.

    So I would love to have some one taching writing proper code.

  40. Scott Petrovic

    August 29, 2012 at 6:16 am / 

    Awesome! The tutorials, resources, and sample projects have been relatively static for a while. It will be nice to see the refresh with a new learning paradigm. Can’t wait to see what comes down the pipeline. ( Hope you keep the old stuff up as an archive section though).

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