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Learn Unity Update #3 : Phase 1 and Lab Testing

February 11, 2013 in Community News and Info, Demos, Tutorials and Tips by

Here at Unity, since last August we’ve been pushing ahead with our plan to create a totally new learning area on the site, and as a larger concept – a new focus on the web for people young and old who are new to game development, and want to get started. Naturally we want to serve our existing users too, and as this new area develops, we hope there will be something for everyone to inspire fresh ideas, and ultimately, awesome games and interactive content.

If you’ve missed the previous updates on this project, I recommend you read up on where we’ve come from so far in these previous blog posts -

At this stage, we’re still on target to launch the first iteration of the project in late March, and you’ll see a lot of beginner content arrive around then. We’ll also be bringing this content to GDC to chat to anyone who wants to stop by the Unity booth and talk about game development.

What to expect in Phase. I

As stated previously, we don’t want to wait until everything is recorded to get you started using this new learning area, so we plan to ship phase one with a lot of the basics of game development in Unity available for beginners to get started. Then over time we’ll be adding more content, covering more topics, and making good on our promise of democratizing game development, by giving you as much knowledge on the topic as we possibly can. In the first phase we plan to ship -

  • The Robot Lab environment
  • Beginner Scripting lessons
  • Beginner Editor
  • Beginner Physics Lessons
  • Beginner Graphics Lessons
  • Beginner Audio Lessons
  • Beginner Physics Assignments
  • ‘Stealth’ – a larger game level tutorial

What’s the latest?

Grab the Lab!

At the time of writing, we have our first tutorial environment ready to ship – The Robot Lab, with all manner of crazy props from a giant robot arm, to a sci fi battering ram! This has taken time as we are producing the level to the highest standards of detail, to try and inspire you to experiment, learn and have fun with these assets. We’ll be using this environment to deliver the bulk of the learning content that you’ll see in phase one, aside from the larger level project ‘Stealth’.

To make sure this environment is up to your standards, today we’re pushing this project to the Asset Store to let you get your hands on it, and let you start experimenting with the props we’ve created. As a former tutor I know how valuable it can be to have cool assets to inspire your students so I wanted to get this content out to you as soon as we were happy with it.

We’d also like feedback on any bugs you find so please write a comment on this post or email me directly on will [at] unity3d dot com during this testing period. We’ll be adding more scripts, a few collision meshes and more sound effects but for now our only known bug is a lightmapping issue when opening on mac. So what are you waiting for? grab the project now and have a play with the lab!

Tutorial Content

In terms of video tutorial content, we have our Beginner Editor, Physics and Scripting Lessons produced and on our staging site which is also currently mid-production. The Stealth game is our first larger ‘Project’ (as opposed to Lesson or Assignment, our smaller pieces of content), and is currently being pieced together by the team, ready to be recorded as video steps in the coming weeks.
The game level is designed to teach you how to put together a game level in Unity, comprising a metal gear solid style ‘sneak em up’ with security cameras, guards, keycards and a battle bus! This project will help you learn about Character animation for player and enemies, Raycasting, Collision, Game logic and various other tips and tricks! We’ll have more to show of this soon, but for now here’s a sneaky peek at our main character.

We are also continuing to prototype other ways of teaching game development with Unity, and we’ll have more news on a piece of new tech we’re developing with schools in mind, towards Q2 of this year.

For now, if you are a teacher at any level, we’d like to hear from you, and get your feedback on how we can better support you – drop me a line on will [at] unity3d dot com and we’ll add you to our database of tutors we’re compiling.

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11 Feb 2013, 3:30 pm

Awesome valuable stuff for newcommers willing to dive in the Unity Universe. :)
Btw, Is the lightmap issue accros different computers still there? I though this was already fixed.

11 Feb 2013, 6:29 pm

Looking forward to diving in and more to come! Thanks

Randy M
11 Feb 2013, 6:41 pm

Looking good. Looking forward to the launch.

12 Feb 2013, 4:22 am

Oh man, I can’t believe I forgot about the assets being released last night. I totally meant to mess around with them.

I’m really excited about these new tutorials!

12 Feb 2013, 5:05 am

Great job to Will’s team! As a teacher I am really looking forward to this new Learning Area. Meanwhile me and my students will play with Robot Lab props. Thanks!

12 Feb 2013, 6:26 am

Thank you! Unity “certified” projects are always welcome!

Does the Robot Lab project requires Unity Pro ? I’m getting (“feature disabled”) warnings and errors for the image effects in the camera (even though, all the scripts/shaders are included in the project).

12 Feb 2013, 8:20 am

We just updated the project to version 0.1.2b, so please update now if you haven’t been prompted to by Asset Store.

@Peter – yes some of the image effects are Pro Only, but you can simply disable these on the camera if you like. The robots move using the Nav Mesh, so disable those components if you don’t wish to see errors.

12 Feb 2013, 8:50 am

Is there any way that people that are really good with Unity 3D to help out the community… Like a revamped wiki or forum along those lines. I do feel that the support can be improved greatly and I like where this is heading. Thanks and keep up the great work!

12 Feb 2013, 9:05 am

It’s a really great “first” job! I am really excited to see the new learning area!
Keep up the good work!

12 Feb 2013, 9:12 am

Awesome stuff. Really love that UT are taking learning so seriously and looks to be producing very high quality content. Though 850mb download, yikes. Ok its not huge but not small either ;)

The one thing i’d love to see would be some articles written by a few UT developers who specialise in their field, giving some low level details about how sub-systems in Unity work. You know the little tips and tricks that they know because they wrote or work on the system, the best way to get the most out of those systems, the sort of information that is difficult to know or discover due to them being a bit of a ‘black box’

12 Feb 2013, 9:32 am

@Derrick – looking at how to solve this at present, its something we thought of when making plans for the learning area a while back, just need to find the best solution.

@Noisecrime – yes, sorry we did our best with texture optimisation, but there’s high quality stuff in there, hence the download. As for your other suggestion, once our site is established, we’ll be looking for contributors from the community so we’d hope to get articles just like that online for you. I already have someone who is great at marketing looking to write some content for us, so other ‘non unity specific’ stuff should be here too.

12 Feb 2013, 9:46 am

Cool, although I was talking more about actual UT developers such as Aras for the low down about graphics, perhaps one of the new audio engineers for how Unity uses FMOD etc. I’m not asking for sensitive information, just a little ‘inside’ information since they understand how these systems work.

For example I learned a few years back that non-pot textures were stored as two separate textures in Unity, for obvious reasons, but this had a nasty side affect of hammering performance when updating the texture via setpixels (e.g. for dealing with say Kinect image data 640×480). Knowing this we could rewrite the code to put the image data directly into a POT texture and improve efficiently greatly.

I’m not sure where this info came from, but pretty sure it wasn’t and maybe isn’t in the docs. Its little gems like that, which from a low level code type of guy I love to discover.

12 Feb 2013, 9:49 am

arggghh – I wish the asset store could be fixed to allow downloads in lower Unity versions. I have 4.0.0f7 but getting the Lab demands 4.0.1 ;( So i’ll have to grab and update Unity first. I can understand for major or even some minor revisions, but seems a bit far for minor.minor versions ;)

12 Feb 2013, 10:02 am

Great to see this moving along, Will! As tech director at a Girls Club (we’ll be working with a lot of boys also) I would love to see a girl character as cool and compelling as the hoverboarder in this post. I’d be happy to help any way I can. (If that is in the works already, kudos)

I think that would be a real statement by UT and would broaden the appeal of the tutorials. Thanks!

Will Goldstone
12 Feb 2013, 10:21 am

@Noisecrime – yes I’ll be pestering our devs for some nice in depth articles on how Unity works.

@Dave – our first character, Astrella, is all female! She’s super cool, and for sure we want to hear more feedback on promoting diversity as much as we can, glad to hear the Girls club is doing well, catch you some time this year hopefully man it’s been a while!

12 Feb 2013, 11:48 am

Hi Will, just a shout-out to the dude from Prime31. His tutorials on Youtube (as well as his plugins and open source projects) have been very helpful to people.

Will Goldstone
12 Feb 2013, 12:11 pm

@Creepgin- you’re right, Mike is a legend!

12 Feb 2013, 12:40 pm

Wow, the graphic of the main character looks awesome! Cannot wait to learn all the new stuffs.

12 Feb 2013, 1:28 pm

The main character looks like Rune’s distant cousin :)

12 Feb 2013, 8:44 pm

Thanks Will – I posted too soon. Looking good! The girls will have a great time with this

12 Feb 2013, 10:55 pm

please make a direct link for people who have not a good connection

13 Feb 2013, 1:49 am

It would be nice if you set up project (like textures sizes) that can be built for Flash and mobiles. I did this by myself and it run quite nice.

13 Feb 2013, 7:58 am

Grabbed the lab project from the asset store and it is awesome on pro, love the bloom effect. Extremely high quality materials and textures. Dropped in a first person controller to look around, noticed I can move through some bots but I can’t wait to have tutorials in hand. Move is choppy (sensitivity=3) when using deferred lighting; using i7 2.8Ghz w/Quadro FX 880M. Thank you guys so much for caring enough to teach the public how to use your product, it will pay off I’m positive of that.

13 Feb 2013, 8:59 am

Just updated once more to fix lightmapping issues. Now version 0.1.3 beta.

13 Feb 2013, 12:46 pm

Downloading! Cant wait to check out the stealth portion and see how its designed.

I love the look of the male character, whats the inspiration behind him?

13 Feb 2013, 3:24 pm

@DaveH – the kid is not part of this package, he’s part of the Stealth game level tutorial we’re working on. As for background, the idea with our larger projects is that they take place in the simulation area of Unity labs. The kid is just a visitor to Unity labs who is taking part in the simulation of a stealth videogame.

As for inspiration we were trying to capture a retro future teen with mixes of cyberpunk too, at the time of design we looked at many influences but were most drawn to akira, the girl with the dragon tattoo, and some of the suit design from prometheus amongst others. Anyway, look out for this character as part of the Stealth game that we’ll be shipping as a demo, and then tutorializing on the new part of the site.

14 Feb 2013, 2:49 am

Again, this is a tremendous initiative on how to teach people about Unity (and game development in general). Today, any developer with expertise in Unity can work for themselves but also for almost any studio on the planet (more than 50% of them requires Unity knowledge). Don’t stop the greatness! Kudos once again! :)

14 Feb 2013, 11:43 pm

why I have to update a 800 MB project again every time the update is available?
In last 3 days I have updated the scene 2 times and every time it downloads full 800 MB+ data, is there any way it can just update the stuff that is really updated?
This happens with all assets I think, which is quiet typical for slow Internet speed for download.


15 Feb 2013, 1:41 am

@Georges – thanks man your constant feedback is always appreciated :)

@Rahu – This is the very reason we’re putting this out as a beta. We want to ensure that its totally right for usage when we launch the tutorials that this project accompanies – we appreciate you guys downloading this project a lot and all the feedback we’ve gotten so far has gone into improving it.

Unfortunately, due to the nature of how the Asset Store works, we’re not able to add small parts of this project to it, we have to reupload it as a single package, but like I say, hopefully this will mean that when the tutorials are ready, we have a totally nailed scene and props for you guys.

15 Feb 2013, 6:32 am

Being a professional CG Artist, its a little difficult to get my hands on programming for game engines. But this news is awesome. There are N numbers artist who wants to get into interactive 3d development. And by every upgrade, unity is transitioning as the most versatile game engine for newcomers. Waiting eagerly for the lessons. Thanks.

15 Feb 2013, 7:10 am

@ Will
Thanks for updating us. Hope to have Learn section available soon.
Love Unity (Though I need to larn it properly :-) )

16 Feb 2013, 3:06 am

Cool on the computer you have original elite loaded (I have supported elite dangerous and cannot wait for it to come out!)

Looks good otherwise looking forward to seeing the videos and see If we can learn something new!

16 Feb 2013, 5:07 am

Do not know if there is any series on the topic of Asset bundle and streaming, if not please count this as a deep heart request.

18 Feb 2013, 1:21 am

Great stuff!
It really helps the development of a more knowledgable community. I think other than beginner stuff the below items are good as well.
-Tutorials on game types which are not generally available like racing and sports games. Things like the real tire implementation in car tutorial by jonas.
–process of development and factors like team building and software engineering in context of game development.
-Low level descriptions of more black box parts of unity. for example now i know how to return a coroutine from a normal method but finding it was some sort of magic by the person who find it (it wasn’t me).

And yes community generated content might be good.
We have a small part in our website as an example which is not super high quality but i want to just show that really deep and specific stuff are out there which might not be seen by many people.

Keep on the good work

22 Feb 2013, 10:36 pm

Question to Will :
On this post there is learning content mentioned, that is a few tutorials(some in video format), assignments and larger learning project. Well, I downloaded project, but could find no videos, pdfs or any kind of learning material. Any thoughts on?

26 Feb 2013, 6:49 am

Resources in Unity Labs are excellent quality. But for most purposes (learning of scripting) there isn’t such necessity. Some people may have problem with downloading almost 1GB package and loading it, converting textures etc.
Maybe it would be good idea to put to the Asset Store also lite version of Unity Labs with assets of lesser quality and size of max 200 MB?

28 Feb 2013, 5:09 am

Hi there, I just wished to mention, I disagree. Your current point doesn’t make sense at all.

28 Feb 2013, 5:15 am

In favor of my schoolwork purposes, I at all times used to get the video lectures from YouTube, since it is trouble-free to fan-out from there.

21 Mar 2013, 5:13 am

It would be really helpful if the videos, and particularly the scripts, were available for download.

There is a lot of densely packed information in some of the tutorials, and they merit several viewings, and skipping backwards and forwards within a viewing.

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