Recently, Humble Bundle hosted a book sale including materials on both Unity and Unreal from Packt Publishing. With most of the books targeted at beginners, and with few reviews, I took it upon myself to catalogue my experience. Here is my informal review of “Getting Started with Unity 5”:
Chapter 1 is titled “Getting Jiggy with the Unity Interface” (I’m serious). It introduces the reader to the world of game engines at a surface level.
The book carries on with most game dev basics: creating an environment, assets and asset store, characters, scripting, GUI, sound, etc. At best, I felt I had an ok idea of what was covered (with environments probably the most well done). At worst, and most often, I thought my book was missing a chapter due to the lack of instructions. At no point did I feel like I could go back and replicate what I did. Keeping things basic is great, but it was just executed so poorly.
The assets are somewhat passable, although pretty creepy. The major issue is that at no point is it explained what to do with them (minus a little bit of instructions for the player).
Is it a game yet?
Overall, the first 70% of the book does a mediocre job at introducing Unity and game design. The major issue is that vital steps are either obsolete or completely missing from the book. This is reinforced by multiple threads spread over the internet by people utterly confused by the instructions. At some points I would follow along closely, and suddenly the book would talk about something being complete without any reference of it previously. I’m not sure if this is typical of Packt books, but this felt like it was slapped together in a day by some professor who taught Unity years ago.
Rating: 4/10 Not recommended
Here are my feelings looking back as a more intermediate user. The biggest fault of the book was next to no explanation of how to use the tools. If you can’t use the tools that you’re working then you certainly will have a rough time making things work. When searching for a learning resource you should always ensure that the basics of the engine are done well. For instance with Unity make sure you know how to pan, rotate, etc. or everything else will be painful.