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Learning game development is a long process. For beginners, the combination of having to learn programming, asset manipulation and a whole new editor is overwhelming.
Unity (sometimes known as Unity3D) is one of the industry standard game development platforms. There is a large community of online teachers for the platform, but Unity Learn is the new official way of learning how to make games with the software.
Let’s look at what Unity Learn is and what sets it aside from other tutorials.
What Is Unity Learn?
The Unity game engine is entering its 14th year and since release has been aimed at democratizing game development. Over the years, Unity has provided tools to learn every element of the platform.
Many software tools have documentation, but require prior knowledge to use. This can be impenetrable to beginners. Unity make courses and tutorials aimed at explaining new concepts in a way anyone can understand.
Unity Learn is a platform which combines all of these learning resources with new courses and task based learning to help users of all skill levels to improve their knowledge.
How Do I Use Unity Learn?
You can access learning materials directly from the Unity Hub by clicking on the Learn tab. This opens up a list of specially designed tutorials for learning how to use Unity.
These differ from other tutorials in that they are designed by Unity and built into the editor. The vanilla editor provides a vast amount of windows and options to get lost in. Unity Learn projects highlight exactly what you are learning about and guide you through simple concepts, building as you go.
What Are the Benefits of Unity Learn?
Aside from Unity’s developers likely knowing their own software pretty well, this kind of custom learning experience is perfect for novice game developers.
Rather than having to learn several difficult concepts at once, you can learn how each part of Unity interacts. This can help later when trying to track down why things might not be working the way you want them to!
The Unity Forums have also been a great place to discuss and learn from other users. Specific forum spaces for new learners are perfect for discussing courses, helping each other out with problems, and getting to know the community surrounding Unity.
What About Complete Unity Sample Projects?
There are a wealth of free to download example projects available for Unity. Being able to pick apart projects can give great insight on how everything fits together, and how to structure your own.
Alongside interactive tutorials, Unity gives full example projects complete with assets, available in the Learn tab of the Unity Hub.
These projects typically are simple, well documented, game examples. They also feature written and video tutorials, covering all the elements required to make a game.
What’s Already Available on Unity Learn?
Currently, Unity Learn mostly covers beginner projects on a wide variety of topics. Alongside the complete projects and interactive tutorials, there are more traditional written and video courses for learning all facets of game design and development.
The pre-existing Unity tutorials feature in the new platform. This is a good thing, as the video tutorials that were already available are excellent. Typically shorter than the long project tutorials, they cover specific elements of the Unity editor and code library.
Track Your Progress With a Unity Account
By signing in to the Unity Learn website using your Unity account, you can track what you are currently working on, and cue up projects in the order you wish to complete them.
Learning isn’t always a straight road; being able to veer onto another subject before picking up where you left off is great for learning new concepts.
As the wealth of material increases on Unity Learn, this tracking will likely get ever more important. As time goes by, knowing which projects you’ve already completed can save time, and help you refresh those core principles.
Unity Learn Isn’t Just for Beginners
While much of the current material on Unity Learn is for beginners, it features tutorials for more seasoned developers too.
Tutorials covering VR game development are available, a subject which requires some previous understanding. Higher level concepts like profiling, performance, and best practices also feature.
Given how many changes are coming to Unity in the coming year, the Learn platform will be essential to everyone. The new Entity Component System (ECS), leverages a new multi-threaded data oriented approach to design. These concepts are mind-bending to even seasoned developers, and represent a change at the core of the Unity Engine.
It seems highly likely that Unity will tackle these dense subjects, with similar style tutorials covering core concepts on the Unity Learn platform.
What About Other Tutorials for Unity Game Development?
For almost as long as Unity has been in development, there have been community tutorials covering how to use it. Today, written and YouTube tutorials can teach you every element of creating game art, programming, using the unity editor, animation, and more. Is Unity trying to take back the role of teacher from the community?
Given Unity’s open attitude to the community and championing of teachers, this seems totally unlikely. Unity has supported multiple teachers, promoting their work, and at times officially sponsoring them to create content.
Notable YouTube channels like Brackeys and Sebastian Lague feature on Unity Learn. Brackeys is often listed among the best teachers for all elements of Unity game design, and Unity frequently sponsors his teaching videos.
Unity Learn goes alongside what is already available and their friendly stance with the Unity community doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere soon!
Start Learning Game Development With Unity
Unity Learn is a great way to start game development, and there are a wealth of external Unity tutorials , some of which Unity recommend.
Of course, Unity is not the only option for making your own games. There are many free game development tools to choose from!