‘Unity 3D Game Development by Example’ Review

Posted on September 8, 2013 in Game Development

Unity 3D Game Development by Example is a series of videos authored by Adam Maxwell that presents an introduction to both Unity and some base game development concepts. Published in 2013 by Packt Publishing, the video series covers several chapters which each contain smaller videos that comprise the chapter. With video instructions being new to Packt, their reputation for producing quality instructional resources remains but the new format ends up falling flat.

While Unity 3D Game Development by Example only lasts a few hours, the content contained within is vast and easily consumable. The series is eight sections long (essentially chapters are called ‘Sections’) with each session consisting of between 3 and 5 short videos covering different detailed aspects of that topic. The short videos in each section range from as short as 2 minutes to as long as 10 minutes. For example, Section Four is all about audio with separate videos for an audio introduction, looping game music, and audio that plays once based on some action. Here’s a run through of the sections:

  • Section 1: Learn how Unity Thinks – An introduction to the Unity editor, project structure, creating a component, and introductions to MonoDevelop
  • Section 2: Building a Scene – Walks the viewer through creating a scene, creating GameObjects, and building prefabs
  • Section 3: Scripting Interactivity – Building blocks and basics behind scripting in Unity including component basics, reading player input, and communicating between objects through code
  • Section 4: Sound and Music – Basics behind audio and their use within Unity from playing music to controlling volume through user input
  • Section 5: Building UI – Creating a basic user interface and skinning it to fit the style of the game
  • Section 6: Title Screens and Menus – Implementation of a title screen and a main menu screen using UI skills from the previous sections
  • Section 7: Taking it Further: High Score (Saving and Loading) – Develops a high scores mechanic and allows the game to load and save that list
  • Section 8: Taking it Further – Where to go from here – A final ‘wrap up’ chapter with discussions around Unity communities and other things to research and develop outside the course

For a course with a running time of 2 hours and 30 minutes, that is a lot of content to cover. Thankfully the author decides to use the simple game of ‘whack-a-mole’ which lends itself to a very basic concept with a lot of extendibility. Using a science fiction theme and content that supports that theme such as 3D models of reactor cores or a UI style that would feel at home in a Fallout game only increases the attractiveness of this series to any develop wishing they could avoid making a shoddy, questionable prototype that many game development books create.

Even though the content in Unity 3D Game Development by Example is great, it can feel a bit limiting and focused at times. Sometimes the author will begin to describe a function of Unity and end up only discussing its use in the context of the project being developed and not in the context of general game development or even Unity. This isn’t a major problem but the series’ focus edges into territory typically held by books and courses that start with ‘Introduction to…’ so beginners may not realize the depth behind some parts of Unity by only watching these videos. However, at the same time these videos are very beginner friendly so this complaint is only a minor consideration for those beginners that are looking for a comprehensive Unity reference. Even if you are looking for a specific Unity introduction course, I would still recommend this as a good example of how Unity can be used for beginners while still teaching the editor itself.

Unity 3D Game Development by Example Sample Video


But a more critical flaw of Unity 3D Game Development by Example is in the execution of the videos. At the time of this writing, Packt Publishing describes their videos as a ‘beta product’ and are still trying to ‘test the waters’ when it comes to video instruction. Audio quality of the author’s voice is typically lower in quality and even worse in quality in spots where audio was most likely added after production of the section or series. The author’s voice is overly monotone, even when making small jokes, leading to a very dry presentation that can feel scripted. The lack of vocal intonation behind the voiceover can also feel like a lack of enthusiasm behind the content and even the course. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that anyone used to video tutorials would be disappointed by the audio presentation and would lose interest in the series because of that. Usually the content of a volume or series can be crippling, but in the case of Unity 3D Game Development by Example it’s the audio that is its biggest issue.

Trying to counteract the poor audio in this Packt Publishing series is the video which is good but not great. The camera knows where to zoom in to show detail in the editor while the author describes something. Each video tends to start with a static display slide which often looks like a very basic PowerPoint theme but should be a spot for Packt branding or at least series specific graphics. Allowing the user to download the video series in its entirety or stream it straight from the website is a bonus, especially for someone who wants the content while on the go even though the videos were a bit cumbersome for me to watch on an iOS device (they worked well on my Windows based tablet though). If you choose the download route it downloads as a zip file around 618 MB with videos in .MP4 format and a zip of all necessary source code. Including the source code is a great idea in the end because the videos are more intended to teach the concepts and show quick examples but when it comes to writing code the author likes to copy and paste from off screen and simply refers you to the source code for more personal study.

Unity 3D Game Development by Example is a really good concept, a series of videos that creates a great starting game using Unity. The content found within the videos covers a ton of topics and implements them quite well. Implementation details are great but some of the more general concepts of Unity end up falling to the wayside in favor of describing Unity’s use relative to the example presented. Even with a solid video base the audio in this series is bad at best. Flexibility behind the videos adds some benefit but not enough to cover the lackluster audio presentation. But, the content provided within is great, especially for beginners looking to develop a solid first game with Unity. Recommended for viewers more interested in content than presentation.

Score: 4/5

Language :
Release Date : Friday, May 31, 2013
Course Length : 2 hours 30 mins
ISBN : 184969530X
ISBN 13 : 9781849695305
Author(s) : Adam Maxwell
Course Website : http://www.packtpub.com/content/unity-3d-game-development-example/video




  • Lots of very useful aspects of Unity used
  • Excellent project shows the power Unity can provide beginners
  • Short videos in various formats are easily consumable from many locations/devices
  • Sound quality is lacking and varies from bad to worse
  • Voiceover is wholly uninteresting