By Wes McDermott
Published October 2010 List Price:$49.95, Your Amazon.com Price: $39.95
Amazon.com Sales Rank:1,386,958 Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Summary: Revolutionize your iPhone and iPad game development with Unity iOS, a fully integrated professional application and powerful game engine, which is quickly becoming the best solution for creating visually stunning games for Apple's iDevices easier, and more fun for artists. From concept to completion you'll learn to create and animate using modo and Blender as well as creating a full level utilizing the powerful toolset in Unity iOS as it specifically relates to iPhone and iPad game development.
Follow the creation of "Tater," a character from the author's personal game project "Dead Bang," as he's used to explain vital aspects of game development and content creation for the iOS platform. Creating 3D Game Art for the iPhone focuses on the key principles of game design and development by covering in-depth, the iDevice hardware in conjunction with Unity iOS and how it relates to creating optimized game assets for the iDevices.
Featuring Luxology's artist-friendly modo, and Blender, the free open-source 3D app, along side Unity iOS, optimize your game assets for the latest iDevices including iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad and the iPod Touch. Learn to model characters and environment assets, texture, animate skinned characters and apply advanced lightmapping techniques using Beast in Unity iOS.
In a clear, motivating, and entertaining style, Wes McDermott offers captivating 3D imagery, real-world observation, and valuable tips and tricks all in one place - this book is an invaluable resource for any digital artist working to create games for the iPhone and iPad using Unity iOS.
GDNet Staff Review: 3D Game Art for the iPhone with Unity is the kind of book I like. It's a book that's intended to teach you about a single thing, and then it goes about doing it. It's not a "How to make any kind of game in Unity" tutorial that's 500 pages log and devotes 20 pages each to everything from art to AI. This is a book that is written to focus on one topic and does it.
The book focuses on three different tools, Modo, Blender, and Beast. I'd heard of the first two, but the third one was new to me. More on it in a bit.
After a couple of good and not-breezy introductory chapters about how to build 3D art assets for a resource-constrained platform, the author sets about building a 3D model using the commercial Modo 3D modeler. Throughout the book, the work is done on a grungy comic character named "Tater", who is created for an iPhone game called "Dead Bang". It is a good choice of character for the book. First off, he's a biped with a gun, which means that he is relevant to about half of the 3D games out there. The book is not so much a tutorial on Modo as it is a tutorial on how to keep Tater's polygon count low and make up for it with quality textures. The resulting character looks good enough for about any commercial 3D iPhone game out there.
The next third of the book covers rigging and animating the character with Blender. Blender was chosen to rig the character because Modo lacks bones. While Blender could probably be used to model the character, It is good to show that several tools can work together to create an animated 3D character for a mobile game.
The penultimate chapter is devoted to "Beast", which is a tool that's designed to "pre-bake" shadows into the textures of your environment. And the cost savings of a step like this with a handheld was pretty obvious. Doing actual dynamic shadows on a handheld would be a real CPU-eater, but building the shadows into the textures would give you much of the same effect with no runtime cost. The tool was new to me, but I could definitely see its value in a project like this, and I'm glad the author chose to include it.
The last chapter shows how to include your newly created, rigged, and shaded environments and actors into Unity. Note that code examples are very minimal. This is not a book about programming. This is a book about graphics. Again, if you need a book about actually writing your game with Unity, look elsewhere.
All in all, it's what I like in a programming book. It's a book that covers a narrow topic comprehensively. If you plan to model, rig, and shade a 3D character for a Unity game on a handheld, this is what you need.