Unity3D – Hitchhikers Guide to the Tutorial-Sphere

Unity3D – Hitchhikers Guide to the Tutorial-Sphere

A curated reference list of the best and most effective tutorials about Unity3D

Introduction to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Tutorial-Sphere

Unity3D is a great tool but when you are starting out it is overwhelming.  For a beginner it will be easier to pick up than Unreal Engine 4 because the way it does things is a bit more in line with the way the rest of the world does things, but even so it will take time to get used to even a fraction of what Unity3D has to offer.  Fortunately if you are clever about the learning process you don’t have to ‘learn it all’ and by learning the right parts of Unity3D you will be able to make something useful or fun or special.  This page is here to help guide you through the ‘tutorial-sphere’* and help you find the tutorials that are right for you as well as avoid tutorials which have fallen prey to the deadly ‘tutorial-rot’**

  • * I just invented the term ‘tutorial-sphere’!  not bad eh?
  • ** tutorial-rot (aka tut-rot) – the phenomenon that tutorials experience over time when they become so old or unclear that new tut-ees will just find them frustrating.

Advanced Topics

This is a good video by Unity3D College whose videos are quality because they explain everything that is going on, use discipline in their coding and show you shortcuts and best practices.  In this video he shows use of the NSubstitute dll which once you have defined an interface for a class (which Visual Studio makes pretty easy) you can use to create a replacement instance or ‘mock’ which you can configure how you like.  Its also a good example of running unit tests in Unity and getting around one of the biggest hurdles namely you can’t directly instantiate Monobehaviours (using new) to use in your tests.

(added Dec 4 2018)

Starting Out

  1. Roll-a-Ball Tutorial (~60min)

    On the Unity – Learn website there are a number of useful tutorials and the first one you will probably encounter in the Tutorials section is the ‘Roll-a-Ball’ tutorial and it is excellent.  It only takes about an hour to go through, is detailed, fresh, and shows you a ton of what you can do with the engine and I have a feeling that the workflow that the author lays out here would be applicable for almost any project.  He shows great tricks and best practices and you end up with a simple deployed game too so I can’t recommend diving into Unity without running through this tutorial.  The one thing he doesn’t show how to do is change the screen layout of the Unity3D engine to match his.  That is in Window->Layouts->”2 by 3″.  Update: This is a text based version of this video tutorial which may be helpful to work with instead of (or in compliment to) the video.

    Unity3D-Roll-a-Ball-Tutorial in the making
    • Added July 31 2017
  2. Space Shooter Tutorial (~8hrs)

    Also on the Unity-Learn website is the Space Shooter Tutorial.  The link above doesn’t link directly to the space shooter tutorial on the Unity-Learn website however a lot has changed since that tutorial was made so I have something better: A Meta-Tutorial of the whole Space Shooter Tutorial!  This is a walkthrough of the whole tutorial but done using Unity 2017.1 and it will show you the puzzles that I encountered and how I solved them.

    • Added Aug 2 2017
  3. Runner – A Minimal Side-Scroller

    This is quite simply one of the best tutorials I’ve ever seen.  note: I have not walked through this tutorial or done a meta tutorial on it, I found it and am blown away by the quality of the presentation of the whole thing.  Its got text explanations for everything with links for things that are more complicated along with extensive screenshots covering every checkbox and field you need to fill in.  All of the code that you need to change is highlighted as well!  Very impressive.

    1. Added Aug 20 2017
  4. Portal – A Portal Tutorial (~1hr)

    This tutorial makes a portal shooter so you can shoot two portals and walk into one and walk out of the other (which comes from the game portal in case you hadn’t heard).  He also shows how to mirror the view from the one portal into the other.  Its a really cool effect to simulate and fun to do the tutorial and it takes less than an hour to follow along.  This tutorial doesn’t talk about rotation and due to the mouse look routines getting that right is non-trivial so I just ignored that.  This does a great job explaining how simple raycasting works.  Note1: he claims in the middle that to get the mirroring effect you will need unity pro but you don’t.  Note2: Near the end of the video he shows the dragging of the texture to the material, but the material pane looks different now so it still works but you just need to drag the texture to a slightly different place in the same pane: Instead of what he did drag the texture to the little box to the left of ‘albedo’.

    1. Added Sep 15 2017
  5. Pong – Making a Pong Game

    This tutorial is unique since it is entirely text based.  There are advantages to both text and video so its always nice to find text based ones.

    1. Added Dec 12 2017
  6. A simple third person shooter – How he teaches Unity to his friends (4hrs)

    This tutorial series is called Beginner to Hero and teaches all of the basics of Unity to total beginners.  The author has a good sense of humor too for example: “Setting the Editor to Shaded Wireframes makes me feel like the projects I work on are more complex.” in another fun example when he gets something working he just says the word “Baller”.  Between clever quips he does a fantastic job showing all the little steps in a clear and elegant way of how to get a game like this working well.  Some of the code is hard to read (explanation here) but that doesn’t get in the way of the efficacy of the material.

    1. Added Dec 12 2017
  7. How To make A Video Game – Tornado Twins Tutorial Series

  8. This classic tutorial series shows you how to make a game they call “worminator” from scratch using unity.  Warning: This tutorial is very old.  It was one of the first that really went viral on youtube and has been acknowledged by the Unity team as important to the success of Unity in the early days.   Due to its age (and therefore how outdated the version of Unity they are using is) I can’t recommend trying to follow along with it click for click however the concepts are explained really clearly throughout so its a good one to watch in full to get some more context for what can be done with Unity.  They have some newer tutorials but I haven’t watched any of those, I just know about this old one.







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