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By Ryan Henson Creighton | Published Feb 21 2012 11:46 AM in Game Programming • Article
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This article by Ryan Henson Creighton, author of Unity 3D Game Development by Example, introduces you to Unity 3D—an amazing game engine that enables you to create games and deploy them to a number of different devices, including (at the time of writing) the Web, PCs, iOS platforms, and WiiWare, with modules for Android and Xbox Live Arcade deployment in the works. You'll play a number of browser-based Unity 3D games to get a sense of what the engine can handle, from a massively-multiplayer online game all the way down to a simple kart racer. You'll download and install your own copy of Unity 3D, and mess around with the beautiful Island Demo that ships with the product.
Technology is a tool. It helps us accomplish amazing things, hopefully more quickly and more easily and more amazingly than if we hadn't used the tool. Before we had newfangled steam-powered hammering machines, we had hammers. And before we had hammers, we had the painful process of smacking a nail into a board with our bare hands. Technology is all about making our lives better and easier. And less painful.
Introducing Unity 3D
Unity 3D is a new piece of technology that strives to make life better and easier for game developers. Unity is a game engine or a game authoring tool that enables creative folks like you to build video games.
By using Unity, you can build video games more quickly and easily than ever before. In the past, building games required an enormous stack of punch cards, a computer that filled a whole room, and a burnt sacrificial offering to an ancient god named Fortran. Today, instead of spanking nails into boards with your palm, you have Unity. Consider it your hammer—a new piece of technology for your creative tool belt.
Unity takes over the world
We'll be distilling our game development dreams down to small, bite-sized nuggets instead of launching into any sweepingly epic open-world games. The idea here is to focus on something you can actually finish instead of getting bogged down in an impossibly ambitious opus. When you're finished, you can publish these games on the Web, Mac, or PC.
The team behind Unity 3D is constantly working on packages and export opinions for other platforms. At the time of this writing, Unity could additionally create games that can be played on the iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android devices, Xbox Live Arcade, PS3, and Nintendo's WiiWare service. Each of these tools is an add-on functionality to the core Unity package, and comes at an additional cost. As we're focusing on what we can do without breaking the bank, we'll stick to the core Unity 3D program for the remainder of this article. The key is to start with something you can finish, and then for each new project that you build, to add small pieces of functionality that challenge you and expand your knowledge. Any successful plan for world domination begins by drawing a territorial border in your backyard.
Browser-based 3D? Welcome to the future
Unity's primary and most astonishing selling point is that it can deliver a full 3D game experience right inside your web browser. It does this with the Unity Web Player—a free plugin that embeds and runs Unity content on the Web.
Time for action – install the Unity Web Player
Before you dive into the world of Unity games, download the Unity Web Player. Much...