This is the second in a series preparing developers for building Unity apps on the Meta 2 SDK. The first post in the series provided tips for passing the Unity Certified Developer exam, Unity’s first of many planned certification exams. In this post, we’re aiming to provide people with the latest Unity tutorials for their respective skill levels. Our software engineers collectively have used each tutorial at various parts of their careers, and personally recommend them for this post.
A quick search for “unity tutorial” in Google reveals that there are 1,330,000 search results for that term. Looking further into Google’s data trove, you’ll find that “unity tutorial” is searched around the world an average of 33,100 times in one month. And according to Google Trends, “unity tutorial” as a search term didn’t become popular until 2011. Clearly, Unity 3D is here to stay, especially as virtual reality (VR), AR, and mixed reality (MR) become increasingly popular.
Get (Unofficially) Unity Certified
Format: Video, Downloadable Example Projects
As of March 2016, Unity offers a certification program for developers, with plans to release certification tests and courseware for professional programmers and artists. Prior to the advent of Unity’s official training and certification program, there were a lot of Unity training programs out on the Internet – some good, and some just leaving you wondering why such a program was created in the first place. One of the most comprehensive training programs we’re fortunate to have come across is the Walker Boys Studio’s program.
Walker Boys Studio (WBS), an independent video game development studio founded by brothers Chad and Eric Walker, offers their own Unity 5 training and certification series. These guys – indie game devs with over 16 years of experience working on games ranging from the Age of Empires series to some Sid Meiers games – will mail you a “Walker Boys Studio Unity Certificate” after you complete their 330 Unity tutorial videos spanning 50 hours. The training series also comes with free downloadable Unity project files for each Unity project, and comes with exams testing your knowledge.
Learn by Cooking
If you prefer to just watch YouTube tutorial videos, then check out Cooking with Unity by PushyPixels. The 177 video series teaches you how to make games with Unity3D, which might be something you’re considering with the Meta 2. While all of the video tutorials are about making different games ranging from tower defense to Starfox-style rail shooters, several of our software engineers found the tutorials to be entertaining and helpful with regards to knowing Unity’s various nuances. We especially recommend his "Breakfast With Unity: Stencil Shaders" video, which contains a .zip file that contains almost 100 different sample scenes that cover many facets of Unity programming and design.
Also, PushyPixels is an excellent teacher in the sense that he documents his mistakes and explains his process for troubleshooting and correcting them – a great way for beginner and intermediate programmers to learn different ways of debugging. He’s active on Reddit and you can find him on YouTube.
Understand the Language Unity Speaks
Format: Text with Screenshots
You technically don’t need to have any programming experience in order to use Unity. However, to take advantage of everything the engine offers, it’s best if you’re familiar with a programming language, especially C#.
From a technical standpoint, C# is essentially what Unity is made of, so it helps to get on the same figurative page as Unity. The Unity Editor is written mostly in C++ and uses C# and Mono as part of its scripting framework. For those who are wondering “What’s Mono?”, it’s an open source platform based on Microsoft’s .NET Framework, and has a C# compiler – essentially making it easy to work in tandem with C#.
From an end-user standpoint, C# is a bit easier to learn than other programming languages and online resources for C# are easily accessible (and widely available!). Tools like this Unity reference search engine can quickly help you find what you need in Unity.
Now that you understand a bit of the “Why” behind C# and Unity’s relationship, we wanted to point you in the direction of Jasper Flick’s Catlike Coding tutorials. Some of you may have already explored his tutorials, but for those of you who aren’t familiar with Catlike Coding or want to sharpen your C# scripting for Unity skills, then we recommend you read through a few of his tutorials. Our engineers found them to be very thorough: from learning how to build a simple clock to mesh manipulation to physically-based shading, Flick’s tutorials are great for both beginners and experts alike.
We also recommend checking out Unity’s C# scripting tutorials and scripting reference documentation, which like all of Unity’s guides and documentation are nothing but thorough and clear. The video tutorials are broken down into beginner and intermediate scripting sections, along with some live scripting sessions. The scripting reference offers documentation for both C# and JS, depending on the language you’re most comfortable with. And the reference pages have plenty of sample code for you to tinker with and build projects or proofs of concept (POC).
For more advanced tutorials, we suggest checking out Jonathan Weinberger’s Unity tutorial YouTube channel. He stopped making videos about a year ago, but his videos are straight to the point while ensuring that you understand the “How” and “Why” behind what he’s showing you. However, he does reply to YouTube comments frequently to show his appreciation for people’s feedback, so if you have a question for him after watching his videos, he’ll most likely reply.
Unity Resources that Aren’t Exactly Tutorials, But Will Help You Get What You Need
Our software engineers all agreed that regardless of the tutorials you use, you need some handy tools and resources to further aid your understanding of Unity. After all, it’s dangerous to go alone and you’ll need to take the following:
Google: We don’t mean to sound trite with this suggestion, but Google as you already know is arguably one of the best tools for finding anything Unity-related.
Unity Reference Search Engine: This was listed earlier in the post, but in addition to Google, you absolutely need this all-in-one Unity-specific search tool. It saves a lot of time and spares you some frustration.
RTFM: Unity’s manual can’t be beat and you should have no excuse to not read it if you need additional clarification.
/r/Unity3D: Solid sub-Reddit for Unity news and help. But, we recommend posting questions there if you’re truly stuck – the community is usually ready to help, but prefers that you have looked high and low before posting a question.
Given that are a lot of other Unity tutorials out on the Internet, we probably missed a few. But, we’re aiming to make this a living document with the most up to date Unity tutorials and resources available, and we’d love to hear your recommendations for other tutorials you’ve found helpful. Email us at contact at metavision dot com, and we’ll update the post with your recommendation.