Resources for Learning Unity and Game Design

Learning how to learn something as complex as the Game Engine Unity can be quite overwhelming. I personally wanted to learn Unity for a year before I actually was able to. I’m still continuing to learn about it to this day. The following is a list of courses, videos, and other resources that I personally used to learn Unity and related topics. Note that while this is posted on a website for The Complete Unity Developer, they aren’t giving me anything for what I write below. Every one of the courses that I mentioned I have paid for at my own expense. For my bio, see the end.

My first real attempt in to the world of Game Development was the Complete Unity Developer Course. I found it to be an excellent introduction to Unity. I, being already a reasonably good programmer, found the introduction quite slow, but I managed to avoid this mainly by skipping through the first introduction sections to the parts that focused more on using the UI elements with minimal pain. It will get you started with basics like 2-D game development, physics, C# programming, building for mobile devices, etc. It has a good project approach, and was perfect for me to learn. I found the explanations excellent. This is a good course for someone who wants to learn programming, or knows some and wants to learn the basics of Unity, and I recommend it! The community around the course is also excellent!

Other Unity Udemy courses I have taken include the following:

  • Unity Lighting Fundamentals– This free course is the best source I’ve found anywhere for controlling all of the knobs that Unity 5 offers for lighting. I highly recommend it! I look forward to more courses by the same author!
  • Unity Professional Game Development from A-Z– This course has improved somewhat since I completed it. I had hoped it would cover more topics than it did. It also has very much an approach of “This is the only way to do things” using the assets he provides in the course. It does cover pretty much every monetization method there is in Unity, as well as offering free assets upon taking the course. These assets, however, are very specific for specific needs, I’ve found. The course is great if you are building a game with many levels. Still, it looks like it has improved since I took it, so keep that in mind.
  • Unity 3D Environmental Series– This free course mostly duplicates with The Complete Unity Developer, but shows how to do bumped terrain, and a few other cool effects. It’s good for basic terrain development for those who don’t know how to do that.
  • Master Unity by Building 6 Fully Featured Games From Scratch– This shows quite a few cool 2-D tricks. The problem I have with this course is it shows how to do stuff, but doesn’t really explain what’s being done. It is also highly scripted, which means more content is covered, but it doesn’t mix well with me. Still, it does feature making 6 games, using most of the common 2-D tricks, so if you are in to 2-D game design, it can help!
  • Unity Game Physics– If you want to make a game with accurate physics beyond the in game engine, this is the place to be. It has excellent tutorials about implementing physics formulas to game engine development beyond the basic Unity engine, with things like Gravity. I personally haven’t yet found the use case for this in my game development, but if you want to do advanced physics, this is the course for certain!

There are a number of good free sources out there too. They tend to teach you how to do a specific type of project, with relatively little encouragement to play with things on your own. The free sources that I have focused on tend to be either more advanced Unity programming, or general game design principals, both of which I found lacking from the Udemy courses that I have looked at thus far. These include:

  • Sebastian Lague’s YouTube Channel– This has some excellent videos, from beginner level to Procedural Generation and other advanced topics.
  • Quill18’s YouTube Channel– I can’t really overstate how valuable this is for those who know Unity already, but need help with the more advanced topics. Through this channel I’ve learned Shader Development, easy platformer development, XML parsing, saving games, and many more. If you go through his videos, you might notice a number of topics that I’ve turned in to blog entries. He is currently building a base building game, complete with 70 or so 30-60 minute videos documenting every step of the process, and offering it as open sourced. Check it out!
  • Game Dev Stack Exchange– Have a specific answer to a question you are trying to figure out? This is a great resource! It does take a bit of getting used to the Stack Exchange way of thinking, it looks like a form but it really is a question/answer focused site. Still, if you are stuck on how to do something, check it out!

Next, here’s a collection of a few Udemy courses that teach how to make graphics or other creative aspects for games.

  • The Complete Blender Course– This is another course that I can’t really say enough good things about. If you want to learn to make game quality 3-D images without breaking the bank, then just sign up for this course. I haven’t found it to be as good for 2-D images, however.
  • Draw the Sword– This free course is great at learning how to do simple 2-D vector art. It’s a good start at such things, and the price is great too.
  • Character Design– I found the transition music between the videos annoying, but the content made up for it. It’s a good simple class in figuring out how to make characters for your games.
  • Mobile Game Art– This is a fantastic course, I can’t really oversell it, for making 2-D art. I’ve used it several times already, and as I progress in my game to more artistic endeavors, I will probably re-take the course to keep it fresh!
  • 2D Game Art for Non-Artists– This is a simple free course on using Photoshop to make simple backgrounds and such. It’s pretty good. The focus is on platformer type games, but the principals apply anywhere.

Lastly, here’s a few resources, both Udemy Classes and YouTube Channels, that discuss other principals that are helpful in Game Design.

  • Creative Flow– This is an interesting course about increasing productive flow, particularly in the creative world, but it also applies elsewhere.
  • Entrepreneurship 101– This is a good course about the basics of starting a business, with a slight focus on technological businesses. It’s pretty good, I recommend it!
  • Extra Credits YouTube Channel– This channel is done by a team lead by a well known Game Designer. It talks about the virtues and problems of the Video Game Industry, principals of design, and a host of other related topics. Check it out, it’s well worth your time!
  • Rick Davidson YouTube Channel– The author of the channel is a Indie Game Studio Consultant. He provides motivational thinking, monetization and marketing strategies, and other helpful advice in moving forward.
  • Game Design- A Practical Approach– This is a good book about the general principals of game design, which is pretty good no matter what game you are wanting to work on. It focuses on game design as a career, working with programmers, artists, etc, but it’s still good even if you are doing your own project.

Let me know in the comments if you have other great resources that I should add to the list, or how these sources worked for you!

About the Author:

Ben Pearson is the author of the Amateur Radio and other technology blog KD7UIY anddeveloper of Games and Apps at Google Play pearsonartphoto, where he plans to publish some of the games created by inspiration of gamedev.tv. He is currently working on a Sea Trading game, which you can subscribe to updates at Old Ham Media. He has been a programmer since a young age, although only recently is learning programming with game engines. He has completed the the Complete Unity Developer CourseĀ and the Procedural Generation courses, and is working through the Complete Blender Developer Course andĀ Unity Game Physics courses. He is hoping to soon start Unreal Courses soon. Follow him on Twitter @KD7UIY.
 

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