Book Image

Getting Started with Unity 2018 - Third Edition

By : Dr. Edward Lavieri
Book Image

Getting Started with Unity 2018 - Third Edition

By: Dr. Edward Lavieri

Overview of this book

The Unity game engine has revolutionized the gaming industry with its complete set of intuitive tools and rapid workflows, which can be used to create interactive 3D content. With Unity, you can scaffold your way from the basics and make make stunning interactive games. This book will guide you through the entire process of creating a 3D game, from downloading the Unity game engine to publishing your game. It not only gives you a strong foundation, but puts you on the path to game development. Beginning with an overview of the Unity engine and its interface, you will walk through the process of creating a game environment and learn how to use built-in assets, as well as assets created with third-party 3D modeling tools such as Blender. Moving on, you will create custom scripts to control non-player character behaviors and gameplay. You will master exciting concepts such as Heads-Up-Displays, mini-maps, game navigation, sound effects, and lighting effects. Next, you’ll learn how to create your first VR experience, right from setting up the project to image effects. You'll be familiarized with all the tools that Unity has to offer to create your own immersive VR experiences. Each section is a stepping stone toward the completion of the final game. By the end of the book, you'll have learned advanced topics such as cross-platform considerations which enable your games to run on multiple platforms.
Table of Contents (21 chapters)
Title Page
Packt Upsell

Unity – past, present, and future

The Unity game engine was created by David Helgason, Nicolas Francis, and Joachim Ante in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2004. They created the game engine to develop games, but ended up focusing on the game engine. Here is a brief look at its release history.


If you encounter a term or feature in this section that you are not familiar with, don't worry, we will cover them in subsequent sections and chapters.

Version 1.0 - 2005

This initial release could be used to develop projects for the macOS X operating system. The major features of Unity 1.0 included:

  • Some documentation
  • Transform script interface
  • Alpha-mapped shaders
  • Color-coded console warnings and errors
  • Fully-sandboxed web player

Version 1.1 supported Microsoft Windows and web browsers as distribution platforms. It also included support for C/C++ external plugins.  

Version 2.0 - 2007

Version 2.0 had several impressive features, including better support for projects made for the Windows platform. This release also improved the web player compatibility across platforms.

Engine updates included better graphic processing performance with the support of Microsoft's DirectX and OpenGL. The terrain engine was also introduced in this release, as was the ability for real-time soft shadows and networking. 

The Unity Asset Server was also introduced in Version 2.0. This is an asset and version control system for teams working on Unity projects. 

The major features of Unity 2.0 included:

  • Terrain engine
  • Video playback
  • DirectX 9.0 renderer
  • Networked multiplayer games
  • Real-time dynamic shadows
  • Game GUIs
  • Web player streaming and compression
  • Unity Asset Server
  • Physics enhancements
  • Scripting enhancements
  • Water feature

After this, there were incremental releases. Most notably, Version 2.5 was released in 2009 and included cross-platform support so the Unity game engine could run on both Mac and Windows computers.

Version 3.0 - 2010

The release of Version 3.0 included a large number of new features and enhancements, as well as a large number of bug fixes in the editor, rendering, iOS-related, physics, scripting, and networking.

The major features of Unity 3.0 included:

  • Support for Android OS
  • Improved standard asset packages
  • Improved editor
  • New graphics features
  • Asset pipeline improvements
  • Audio improvements
  • Physics improvements
  • Documentation for scripting features

Version 3.5 represented a tremendous update and was released in 2011. It included support for Flash deployment. Additional key updates included:

  • Shuriken particle system
  • Built-in pathfinding
  • Upgraded occlusion culling
  • New level of detail 
  • Linear space lighting

Version 4.0 - 2012

Version 4.0 was released in 2012 and enabled game developers to create stunning gameplay and animations. The primary updates to the game engine for this release were:

  • A new animation system called Mecanim
  • Real-time shadows (for all platforms)
  • Support for DirectX 11 rendering
  • Updated the Shuriken particle system, including support for world collision
  • Added new deployment platforms:
    • Linux
    • Adobe Flash
  • Support for cross-platform dynamic fonts

Version 5.0 - 2015

Unity 5.0 launched with a free personal edition. This edition was provided to anyone with less than $100,000 in revenue or funding. No royalties were assessed either, making this a great way to get into the game industry without the initial expense of game engine technology. With the free version, published games included a non-customizable splash screen.

Key features in version 5.0 were:

  • Performance improvements to 3D physics
  • Animation system updates
  • WebGL preview
  • Visual fidelity enhancements with HDR reflection probes
  • An audio mixer
  • Real-time global illumination
  • Physically-based standard shader

Version 2017 - 2017

In 2017, Unity Technologies announced that they would shift the version of the Unity game engine from an incremental number to the year of release. So the major release in 2017 was version 2017, and, since then, all minor releases in that year followed semantic versioning.


Semantic versioning is a formal software versioning convention that uses a three-part version identification schema: major.minor.patch.

The actual first release of 2017 was as 2017.1 in July, 2017. Here are some of the major features introduced with Unity 2017:

  • Timeline—a visual tool for creating cinematic content
  • Cinemachine—an advanced camera system
  • Post-processing—functionality where you can apply filters, controls, and more
  • Unity Teams—a new cloud-based collaborative service
  • Improved graphics and platform support
  • Particle system improvements
  • Progressive Lightmapper improvements
  • 2D improvements
  • Animation improvements
  • Real-time shadow improvements

Version 2018 – 2018

The release of Unity 2018 is anticipated in the spring of 2018. There will be some exciting enhancements to the game engine, especially with the stated focus of graphics. 

Here are the highlights of the changes expected for Unity 2018:

  • Scriptable Rendering Pipelines (SRP): A new SRP API will be available, giving us finite control of the rendering pipeline via C# scripting. Unity 2018 will include two rendering pipelines (Lightweight and HD) that can be used, replicated, or modified. 
  • Upgraded post-processing stack: A new version of the post-processing stack includes automatic volume blending, and enhanced controls for custom effects.
  • Shader graph: A visual interface for creating shaders.
  • Integrated IDE: MonoDevelop will no longer be shipped with Unity as the integrated development environment for scripting. Windows users will receive Visual Studio 2017, and Mac users will receive Visual Studio for Mac. Visual Studio is a much more robust development environment.
  • C# job system: This system will empower developers to create safer multithreaded code with performance gains.