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Working with video games doesn’t sound like a terrible idea, does it? Expressing your creativity through art, coding, audio and storytelling. Providing entertainment and unique experiences to other people, doesn’t that sound nice? Anybody can create games, no matter their skillset or previous experience. This is an account of how I, as somebody with zero coding background, finally found a way into learning game development with Unity.

There are so many options and tools to consider if you want to create a game, but you’ll most likely need a game engine. And when you are new to the world of game development and programming, forming a relationship with an engine can be a tricky thing. If you are off to a bad start, you’ll get a bad impression and things like coding will seem foreign and way too complicated.

My advice is simple: start with the basics. Become familiar with the editor before you start scripting. You can get pretty far with just the standard assets. If you want more varied graphics or a bit more advanced options, go to the Asset Store and find a finished project there. This way, you can study a functioning prototype before you start coding and creating your own game.

A basic level set up created with Unity’s standard 2D assets

I have been introduced to Unity three times. The first two felt like they didn’t show me what I could do with the game engine. I was a game design and communications student, who took obligatory classes in programming. We went straight to scripting and [csharp][/csharp]Debug.Log(“Hello World”); – something that didn’t feel very efficient or inspiring. The logic was hard to understand and C# didn’t make sense to me. So my options in game development always seemed limited, since I wasn’t able to dedicate a big part of my education to learning how to code. I had just started on a game design degree, not a programmer one.

My second introduction was much the same. Coding, making 3D objects move and so on. There was too much effort and too little reward. In all fairness, we spent an hour or two importing a fully animated character, but couldn’t use him for our corresponding assignment, so he was all but useless in the long run.

I was getting the feeling that the creators behind games like Firewatch and Ori and the Blind Forest were practically wizards or just way more dedicated and motivated that I could ever be. I am pretty passionate about video games, but maybe I just wasn’t meant to create games.

Then came the third encounter. This was a workshop during my internship at Unity, meant to introduce the marketing team to the Unity Engine. I was ready to get a 1.2 second head start on writing “Debug.log(“Hello World”); and get confirmed once again that I didn’t want to be a programmer. But that didn’t happen. Instead, we imported the standard 2D assets and I realized that I quickly could build a small level and run around in it, when the animations were in order.

Within an hour, I had created the basics for a small prototype. Not that it was a particularly amazing prototype, just a basic platformer, but it was still something!

The first game prototype I made in school was a group effort, and took several days to make.

This introduction felt like the one I had needed from the very beginning. Suddenly, creating a game was just a little more realistic. I could do much with just the standard assets, and even if the graphics weren’t varied, I could find more on The Asset Store, which has almost anything I could think of. Finally it felt like my passion and drive to learn from other developers would be enough if I wanted to make a game.

The Asset Store even has a good deal of free assets and if you want to look into paid assets, there are regularly sales like the 24 hour deals and the Staff Picks sale.

The creators of Firewatch and Ori and the Blind Forest might still be wizards, but now I was learning magic as well!

This level took me a few hours to set up, ready to use with colliders and everything. Uni Arts Pixel SciFi Landscape,!/content/19449

This level took me a few hours to set up, ready to use with colliders and everything. Uni Arts Pixel SciFi Landscape

Everyone learns differently and different things motivate people. My ambition wasn’t to know how to code, I wanted to help create games in other ways or help a studio to promote their project to an audience. The purpose of this little ramble is that it is important to start with the basics. The Unity engine is an amazing tool, available for any game developer if they want to. Yet it looked hostile and unapproachable even to a passionate individual like me, because I missed a huge step in actually getting to know the engine.

If the first thing you encounter seems illogical, possibly very difficult and might take way too long to learn, your motivation may stumble. That’s not the point of introducing such a game engine to hobbyist and beginners. Instead, the idea is that anyone who wants to try should be able to do some game development.


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  1. Several days? When I think about game design and programming I think in months 6-12 month to get the first beta.
    I have been a programmer for 18 years, though Unity3D is totally new to me.

  2. îmi place

  3. Necesito entregar un juego en unity como proyecto final, alguien que me ayude a elaborar un juego desde cero siguiendo instrucciones, por favor!!

  4. Hola, necesito ayuda con unity, alguien que pueda enseñarme a elaborar un juego desde cero en cuestión de horas, siguiendo instrucciones, agradecereria de su ayuda, es para un proyecto de la escuela, por favor!!!

  5. dobry den newite proc mi na opere nejde unyty??

    a nejdou hry od unyty??!

    1. Kristyna Paskova

      April 11, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Opera is based on Chromium, which has decided to stop supporting NPAPI plug-ins including the Unity Web Player. Also, please be aware that we’re not actually a game development company, we’re just providing some of the technology they’re based on.

  6. Poking around in example projects is the BEST way to learn how they are set up. I came from a game design background, so I was used to having loads of drop downs and data fields attached to gizmos in a 3D space talking to my code, but those coming from a CS background may find the tools alien at first.

    Editing code, or properties in an inspector and just seeing the results is the first step I tell kids when I teach them.

    Creating your first public variable and being able to set it on the fly in the inspector is a glorious moment!

  7. I love dinosaures

  8. One of the big problems in Unity is creating big terrain landscapes and using many terrains in together.(rendering problems)
    30000*30000 or higher.

  9. I realize that this article was written by someone who probably did not enjoy programming that much, at least not initially, but I still feel like many parts of what the author says are hugely exaggerated. What I mean by that is that if you are at least remotely interested in programming and in making something out of nothing, then you’ll find it tremendously satisfying to start up a new project, insert a cube and make it move across the screen. And that can be achieved in just one line of code that you’ll Google your way to in a matter of seconds. The hurdles to creating something by yourself in Unity, even for a complete beginner, are only determined by one’s willpower, and jeez, you’ll have to be a particularly impatient and spoiled person in order to demand of your very first experience in game development to result in a fully functioning 2D platformer with art.

    This article should be retitled “How To Find Out You’re Just a Game Designer”.

  10. The two most important things are: Confidence, don’t let the thousands of Unity Crash screens cut down your motivation, stay motivated ! One day (no i’m kidding, but let’s pretend) Unity will be bug free ! (Honestly ?) and Patience. Waiting up to a minute for Unity to recompile (or pretend to) when you make a single ‘comma’ change in a C# script will teach you patience. Good luck ! (Btw, i was waiting for Unity to compile while writing this).

    1. Learning a ton from these neat arsctlei.

  11. I had the exact same issue with unity I started in college a year course that cost 6k i know rip off .We started unity but werent shown how to actully do much with the editor like make levels etc we just went straight into fps tut which was already made assets animations etc we didnt make anything just copyed and pasted code on the projector I learned unity along with gamemaker going back and fourth between the two really helped me learn more about coding and game design because when we make games we either go all out and try make the next halo or start small and become less motivated because we struggle to make pong .

  12. Dann wubs: There’s a whole tutorials section on this site under “Learn”, a nice place to start, there’s also some great courses on Udemy for learning Unity :)

  13. I’ve also tried Unity 2 times. I always stopped after a few weeks, because it became so difficult, I didn’t understand the code and couldn’t even get my character to walk. Are there any tutorials with which I should start? (I feel like I am ready for my third time now)

    1. Robert Cummings

      April 1, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      It’s not just you. I’ve got a few decades of game programming under my belt, and when I started Unity, I gave up – twice. This is because Unity’s way of working is alien to both the old and new. I wondered where my void Main() was – I wondered what right and wrong was.

      The big revelation for me was that Unity can work any way you’d like to make it and this is often actually a negative – it’s so open your brain might fall out.

      So it’s in cases like this (for old and new developers) you’ll want firm guidance and the best way to do that is modify an existing project until you find your feet IMHO.

      1. Very true, and what makes it even worse that that Unity learning resources often teach you things the wrong way in an attempt to keep things short and simple. Like using GameObject.Find() for referencing objects.

        I think the best way to go about learning Unity is to make a project in any way you can, observe what practices caused you trouble and what could be improved, and apply what you’ve learned in your next project

        1. I’m pretty new to Unity and C#, only have been using them for a couple months now. What would you recommend instead of using GameObject.Find() for referencing objects?

        2. @RIC

          What about creating proper project architecture?

      2. Interesting comment. I had the opposite experience. I came from modding Elder Scrolls Oblivion, learning Unity as my first from-scratch game project. After spending 5 years modding Oblivion (vintage 2006), I had a very strong mental picture of how I wanted a game engine and editor to work. I looked at many engines, narrowed down to just a couple, and did a simple project in each. For me, Unity felt like “coming home” because the way it works matched so closely with the way my brain thinks things ought to work.

        I’m not knocking what you are saying; rather, I just found it amusing that one tool makes such different first impressions on different people. As they say, “Different strokes…” :-)

    2. you need to try harder to get familiar with unity