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Unity 2D Game Development – A Review

, 29 Apr 2014 CPOL
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Unity 2D Game Development - A Review

While I'm busy working on my own Unity3D 2D title coming soon to PacktPub, I decided to come up for air to see what other titles are now gracing the shelves, I was pleasantly surprised.


Unity 2D Game Development

The Unity3D crowd is certainly all ablaze with 2D at the moment so it seems right and fitting that titles such as the above are now hitting our shelves. Building 2D games was always a pain with Unity3D until the 4.3 release came along with its new fancy and swanky 2D system. Now with a fix plane of view and efficient sprite system, things have become a lot easier. But Unity3D didn't stop there and added loads of more features, so delving in to this title let’s see what it has to offer.


Aimed at those developers who have been using existing 2D system or want to start building 2D games with the new 2D system introduced in to Unity3D in 4.3 (and even more astounding features upcoming in 5.0), this title will walk you through all the new improvements at a high level and helps you build a nice and simple 2D platformer, complete with enemies and boss battles. This is an introduction title, so it is only intended to be an overview so don’t expect heavy technical detail.

Sit back relax and set yourself up to open the curtains on the world of 2D.


Here’s a brief run through what all the chapters are and what to expect from them:

Chapter 1 “Introduction to the 2D World of Unity”

Unity3D’s new 2D system is certainly a breath of fresh air for those of us who want to start by building simple games or to express those game themes that really shine in a 2D setting. Walking through the basics of Sprites as opposed to textures and an exploration of the new Animation dope sheet, the author starts you of nice and easy getting a nice player character up and running. What is also good is that you are shown a rudimentary state machine to affect how your player control moves and is animated.

Chapter 2 “It Lives!”

Leveraging the player character created in the last chapter, here the author expands on this and adds physics and a tons of scripts to give the character life. There’s lots to add here and makes the players involvement that much more real.

Chapter 3 “No Longer Alone”

Repeating the objectives of the previous two chapters, here you reinforce what you have learned and extend a bit more to ensure physics are calculated correctly and enemy units only collide with those things it cares about. This chapter has a faster and more condensed pace to show you just what you need to do.

Chapter 4 “Give It Some Sugar”

Now that you have characters and enemies to work with in the game, the author takes a step back and builds up the game world they will be running around in. Here you reinforce all the 2D elements you have learned so far and add world elements such as parallax scrolling, platforms and levels. Finishing off with how the player exits the level with a nice 2D warp effect once all enemies have been dispatched.

Chapter 5 “The Ultimate Battle of Ultimate Destiny”

Focusing more on gameplay in this chapter, here the author walks through building more competitive enemies with your first boss battle. Adding some cool effects and additional features.

Chapter 6 “The Finishing Touches”

To wrap things up, the authors explores building rounds and extending the battle before closing by adding a start screen menu to make a more complete project.


As a light look into the new 2D system the book does well, showing you the core 2D parts of the new Unity3D 2D system, just don’t expect too much though. Each chapter is light and quick to read. If you want real in depth knowledge, then you are going to need to look further as this title only gives you a taste, but it is a good mouthful though. From here you will have a simple platformer game framework and the knowledge for how to expand and build a nice game.

Pros:

  • Short and concise
  • Nice graphical style and a more in-depth walk-through that the stock Unity3D examples
  • Core elements of the new 2D system are covered well

Cons:

  • Lacks heavy technical detail – but to be expected from a short title such as this
  • Some elements are too brief, last two chapters feel too short.

If you were considering using Unity3D’s new 2D system and needed a taster walk-through without overcommitting yourself, then this book will serve you well, but it only covers the basics (as expected in the title), if you want more in depth knowledge and technical details, then you would be left wanting.

This might have been better titled “Intro to Unity 2D game development” as it is just a high level introduction, the preface is a little misleading in this aspect.

I did enjoy reading this and it does a good job of explaining Sprites, Animation, 2D physics and other components so it will definitely make you hungry for more.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Simon Jackson
Architect ZenithMoon Studios
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Long time game developer / IT maniac.
By day working as a lowly Technical Architect for a healthcare software firm, by night Masquerading as the Master Chief of ZenithMoon Studios.
 
At heart I'm a community developer breaking down lots of fun and curious technologies and bringing them to the masses.
 
I'm also a contributor to several open source projects, most notably the AdRotator advertising rotator project for Windows and Windows Phone.
 
After a hefty break with Windows Phone and Windows 8 I'm heading back to my XNA roots to show how beginners and current XNA devs can take their skills forward with XNA's bleak future.
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