© 2021 Grace Yuan

Game Engine Research: Unity

I have downloaded Unity for a while and attempted to learn Unity for building AR applications. To start with building a simple game, I first followed an official Unity built-in tutorial to get myself familiar with the interface. Since I have previous experience with 3D softwares, it is quite easy to understand the different interface components and controllers, such as assets, layers, and scene.

Regarding the interface and system, I like how the panels are organized and I found it really clear for navigation. The 3D transformation tools are classic like any other 3D softwares. 

  • Project: The Project section holds your project files and structure.
  • Console: The Console is where you can see the logs, errors, and console output.
  • Hierarchy: The Hierarchy is where you can see the game components that are currently in your scene (game-level).
  • Scene: The Scene (a.k.a viewport) is where you can see your game level and how it looks.
  • Inspector: The Inspector is where you can set the properties of your Game objects (components that you drop in your game/scene).

This build-in tutorial is a simple platform game, in which the player run and jump to collect gold tokens and beat enemies. In the tutorial, it goes through how to change the property of the player avatar, including the running speed and the display color. As well as how to move components around and add an enemy to the scene. It’s quite easy once you have scripts set up like this tutorials, all you have to do it drag and drop. At the end of the tutorial, it shows how to publish the game through WebGL and share it for others to play. I also found this step convenient. Overall I enjoyed following the build-in tutorials and found them super helpful for beginners.  

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Although the build-in tutorials are easy to follow, I have to mention how difficult it is for beginners to catch up as Unity keeps releasing different versions and updates, especially for AR. I am interested in creating AR games and possibly integrate it for my thesis project. I found a few YouTube tutorials of creating AR games in Unity and tried to follow them. However, the tutorials were released in 2019 or before, and many features of the Unity AR foundation assets have been updated so the tutorials actually became invalid. For example, one of the simple AR tutorial I followed, was aiming to place a virtual 3D object on the physical surface through camera. I have to add extra code to the script to make it work. It is extremely difficult and frustrating for a beginner like me, on top of learning C# for the scripts. 

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I moved on to the next tutorial, which is a puzzle game from Unity official. With this tutorial, I was able to design my own game level with the pre-set assets. I also learned how to adjust the camera, how to add a new level, and how to add multiple game objects to the scene. As I’m using a Macbook from 2015, my laptop kind of slowed down when I ran Unity. I’m considering buying a PC for building AR games. I think in order to use build a game with Unity, I also need to further strengthen my coding skills and learn about the different assets and plug-ins I will be using. Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 1.17.56 PM.pngScreen Shot 2021-01-26 at 1.16.49 PM.pngScreen Shot 2021-01-26 at 1.37.48 PM.png

Overall, I found Unity a nice option for building games. There are different parts of it I don’t understand yet, but would love to spend time exploring. 

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