Book Review: Getting Started with Unity by Patrick Felicia

Posted on September 23, 2013 in Book

Getting Started with Unity is a beginner level book focusing on the Unity3D game engine, written by Patrick Felicia and published in August 2013 by Packt Publishing. Throughout the six chapters the reader is introduced both to the Unity engine and editor as well as basic game development concepts. By the end of ‘Getting Started’ you’ll have a fully functioning 3D maze based zombie game. Like the sound of that? Read on to find out if ‘Getting Started’ is worth your time and money.

As mentioned above, there are six chapters in Getting Started with Unity spanning 170 pages (about 140 pages of actual content once you exclude the table of contents and appendix). The front of the book states the reader will be learning Unity by creating their own ‘…“Outbreak” survival game…’ What is this survival game it speaks of? Essentially the book teaches the reader how to create a first-person maze navigation game where the player is being chased by zombies. Within the maze the player can pick up medkits to gain health and keys to unlock the exit in order to win. All the while being chased by the great undead. Here is a listing of the chapters and the basic content within this book:

  • Chapter 1: Getting to Know Unity3D – Introduction to Unity3D’s engine, editor, basic object creation, and examples of first and third person views
  • Chapter 2: Creating a Maze with Built-in Objects – Lots of creation of walls and lights to build the level in the editor; also discusses colliders
  • Chapter 3: Using Scripts to Interact with Objects – Introduction to scripts by creating scripts to collect objects in the game, play audio, displaying inventory, and creating the game victory condition
  • Chapter 4: Creating and Tracking Objects – Use Unity’s user interface system to display a health bar, mini map; also creation of an in-game gun
  • Chapter 5: Bringing Your Game to Life with AI and Animations – Creation of the enemy artificial intelligence (AI) and animations including states and waypoints
  • Chapter 6: Finalizing and Optimizing Your Game – Starts by improving the AI, adds some final game elements such as player life count and a menu system, and discusses exporting the game for use on the internet

What you might first notice about the chapter list is that this book doesn’t follow the typical structure most game development books follow where each chapter is a game development technique (such as a chapter for audio, chapter for interface, etc…). In the case of ‘Getting Started’ it helps progress the book more quickly than the reader will notice at first. Instead of building a game piece by piece and leaving the reader to wonder when a specific element is going to be built, the book flows through game element creation in a natural progression.

The only chapter that ends up being tedious in Getting Started with Unity is Chapter 2: Creating a Maze with Built-in Objects. Within chapter 2 there are four full pages of steps that simply have the reader duplicating objects and placing them in very specific spots for use as walls, floors, and ceilings in the maze. Most of these objects have unique position, rotation, and scale that are written out in the book. The book tries to make a point showing that the Unity editor is able to generate 3D primitives that can be used in a game but this is overkill, especially when the whole maze could potentially be provided as a single imported asset.

While certain portions of ‘Getting Started’ like chapter 2 beat a dead horse when it comes to content, the rest of the book is a very solid introduction into Unity and game development. Especially when it comes to the beginner readers, there is a lot here to love. The concepts are generally discussed and specifically implemented with consideration given to quality of the final product. Seeing a book implement some game element like a health bar and then explain the problems with the current implementation only to return and clean it up a second time is refreshing. Look at the final chapter where the majority of it is dedicated to cleaning up previously implemented elements as well as a few final touches, most books don’t do that, and those books usually end up with bad projects in the end.

As a recent Unity3D beginner myself, I found things in Getting Started with Unity that I loved and things that I hated. While some of the content was a little repetitive I never felt like I wouldn’t be able to do my own thing in those sections and not be able to continue on and create the same quality final product. With an emphasis on quality and cleanup, ‘Getting Started’ is a good book covering a ton of content. Even with the consideration that the code in the book is written in JavaScript, I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in beginning game development, especially those interested in Unity.

Score: 4.5/5

Book Information
Language :
Paperback : 170 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : August 2013
ISBN : 1849695849
ISBN 13 : 9781849695848
Author(s) : Patrick Felicia
Book Website:



Development project is interesting throughout

Chapter 2 is extremely tedious, having reader create a full maze ‘brick by brick’

Covers a great deal of 3D game concepts


Generic enough to allow users who want to develop using a different language (such as C#)