Unity & 3D Buzz

Watch the amazing 3D Buzz video tutorials !

During the last weeks I watched amazing video tutorials about Unity. Indeed 3D Buzz offers free video tutorials about this game development tool. But what is fantastic is the number and – above all – the quality of these tutorials.
I hightly recommend you to download the first set of videos and to watch them regularly to understand the Unity Fundamentals. Firstly you will have an overview of the Unity features and you will learn how to build a terrain, import 3D objects into it, add particule systems, animate character controllers and enrich your game with lights and sounds. Dut to the complexity of the tool, 3D Buzz has divided this set into 21 sections ! Moreover 3D Buzz extends its training to others domains like Scripting Fundamentals, Unity Standard, Unity Pro, Unity iPhone, 3rd Person Character System, and MMO Development Class as you may read on this below screenshot :

Explore 3D Buzz's Unity Development section !

I don’t know the number of hours you have to watch but it’s amazing. For one month and half now I’ve started, I’ve only discovered the Unity Fundamentals section… almost the whole section… Nevertheless enough to be able to evaluate the quality of the approach that 3D Buzz has. Indeed the gradation is well dosed and I congratulate through this post both animators who conciliate humour and professionalism. It’s a real pleasure to listen to them every day. They really give me the desire to discover all others tutorials made by 3D Buzz, especially those about 3DS Max, Houdini, .NET, C# and XNA, C++ and Python programming.

UNITY - Engine Features

Before having a look at some features of Unity like illustrated above by the company itself, I would like to mention one feature and technology that it seems fundamental to masterize in a professional environment. As developer, sharing code and assets is primordial. Unity offers a technology dedicated to that : the Unity Assets Server.

Assets Management & Unity Assets Server

Besides these videos tutorials you may download, I recommend you to complete your training by watching the set of videos on the web made by 3D Buzz about the Unity Asset Server. The Unity Asset Server is an asset and version control system with a graphical user interface integrated into Unity. Only available with a pro license, this tool has well-known feature for version control system users.

A second feature concerning assets is the possibility to enrich your Unity project content with pre-defined assets, 3D Models, scripts libraries, etc. Here comes the Unity Asset Store. The Unity Asset Store is a built in store for buying and downloading assets for your project. The Asset Store contains libraries of free and commercial assets created by Unity users and Unity Technologies. The Asset Store is fully integrated to the IDE as you may see on the following screenshot :

Read Asset Store official documentation!

Rendering

You should know that Unity – together with Umbra Software – developed a completely new precomputed visibility solution, only available in Unity. Umbra is performance optimization middleware that cuts down CPU and GPU processing time by optimizing critical parts of a game such as rendering, content streaming, AI and game logic.
By the way, rendering is a very complex process. Before diving into it and before being able to share knowledge on this topic I prefer acquire more experience on Unity before.

Visit Umbra Software web site !

Lighting

The lights video tutorials explain very well which kind of lights you may use and how to parameterize them. Moreover I must admit that I’ve not yet masterized the concept of lightmapping. If like me you have difficulties to understand all subtilities, read the Lightmapping overview article by Unity and watch the Lightmapping video tutorials by 3D Buzz.

Autodesk Beast lightmapper is fully integrated in Unity. Autodesk Beast global illumination (GI) middleware is a set of tools for creating realistic lighting in games. Unity auto-unwraps lightmapped models and lets you prioritize scene objects for atlasing. You keep working while Beast is baking.

Visit AUTODESK Beast product web site !

Terrain & Trees

3D Buzz give a very good demonstration about terrain making. In order to take advantage of this feature you have to download the Terrain Toolkit extension. The Terrain Toolkit is an integrated set of tools developed initially by Six Times Nothing game studio for the Unity Editor which is designed to streamline and improve the workflow involved in creating realistic terrains for games. To complete the 3D Buzz tutorials, you may read the documentation and watch this video tutorial on YouTube.
Note that Six Times nothing game studio develops a range of in-house tools and extensions to the Unity Game Engine like UniSky, River Tool and Road/Path Tool.

Read Six Times nothing's Terrain Toolkit documentation !

Note also that the Terrain Toolkit is one of the three extensions suggested by Unity on its web site with the Explosion Framework and the Locomotion System.

When you create a terrain you may (will) populate it with trees and other kind of plants. Unity allows you to create you own trees. If you are interested by this functionalities, I recommend you to read these articles :

¬ Tree Creator Guide
¬ How do I Import Alpha Textures?

Learn to create trees with the Unity Tree Creator !

Physics

One of the most important remark done by 3D Buzz concerning physics is not to forget to manage correctly the Physics Manager. Properties set in this panel may contribute to improve considerably your game performance. Let’s watch carefully the video tutorials section concerning physics. All theoric concepts are well explained in the first video.

UNITY - Physics Manager settings

Moreover I recommend you to read the very well detailed documentation about Physics done by Unity itself.
As presented by 3D Buzz, physics includes :

¬ Rigid bodies,
¬ Forces,
¬ Primitive colliders (Box, Sphere, Capsule) & complex colliders (Mesh, Wheel),
¬ Character controller,
¬ Joints (Fixed, Hinge, Spring, Character, Configurable),
¬ Cloth.

At last, as you may know, Unity contains the NVIDIA PhysX physics engine.

Visit NVIDIA PhysX web site !

Audio

I’m not enough expert with Unity and with sound design to abord in a detailed manner the Unity features concerning sound. I recommend you – like me – to watch the set of video tutorials made by 3D Buzz to be able to add sounds and manipulate them by adding them some effects.
Note that Unity provides audio tools through fmod. The fmod technology is made up of the following components:

1. FMOD Ex Programmers API
FMOD Ex sound system is an audio engine for developers to implement audio technology in their product.
2. FMOD Designer
FMOD Designer is a fully featured sound designer authoring tool.
3. FMOD Sandbox
FMOD Sandbox is a 3D audition tool from Firelight Technologies. This application is intended for use in tandem with FMOD Designer. FMOD Sandbox provides sound designers with a virtual 3D space in which events can be auditioned.

Visit fmod web site !

Programming

The second set of video tutorials is about the creation of a Custom 3rd Person Character and Camera System with C#. I look forward to watch all the video tutorials, for free too ! By the way this set of tutorials allow also to discover Maya and Unity scripting. This set is divides into 4 sections :

¬ Section 1 – Simple Maya Level Import (Optional)
¬ Section 2 – Simple Character and Camera Control
¬ Section 3 – Enhanced Character and Camera Control
¬ Section 4 – Integrating Animated Maya Characters

Unity supports three differen scripting languages : JavaScript, C#, and a dialect of Python named Boo. Game logic runs on the Open Source .NET platform, Mono. Unity can automatically sync with MonoDevelop and Visual Studio.

You will discover in a full way the management of RavenDB. Raven is an Open Source document database for the .NET/Windows platform. To understand RavenDB appraoch, you shoul know the following terminology :

¬ Documents are independent entities, unrelated to one another.
¬ Indexes are persistent LINQ queries that are executed on the background. As you may remember LINQ is a set of extensions to the .NET Framework that encompass language-integrated query, set, and transform operations. It extends C# and Visual Basic with native language syntax for queries and provides class libraries to take advantage of these capabilities.

But for a complete understanding of the RavenDB features and potentiality, I strongly recommend to read the official documentation and to download the RavenDB technology to experiment with Unity !

Visit RavenDB web site !

Networking and MMO technology

3D Buzz abords the networking thema across its Unity MMO class. Concerning MMO Technology, Unity takes advantage of 3rd tier technology :

Visit SmartFox Server Pro product web page ! SmartFoxServer Pro

SmartFoxServer Pro is a multi-platform socket server.
SmartFoxServer was originally designed to specifically target Flash Player based applications and games. Now due to its popularity, extension have been developed for other technologies such as Java, Director, .Net/Unity 3D etc…

Visit ExitGames web site ! Photon

Photon is a realtime socket-server and development framework.
The server framework is written in C# on top of a native Windows application.
The Client API is available for multiple platforms, including DotNet, Unity3D, C/C++, ObjC.

Discover the ElectroTank Universal Platform technology ! Electrotank Universe Platform

Electrotank Universe Platform is a multiplayer server. In addition to multiplayer capabilities, ElectroServer is used for real-time audio and video streaming and recording.
Here are video tutorials to integrate Unity to EUP (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 + Simple Chat Walkthrough with Unity example).

I hope this post gave you the desire to learn Unity and to visit the fantastic 3D Buzz video training web site !

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