• # Excerpt: Developing a Game in Unity 2017: Getting started with scenes and assets

Engines and Middleware

• Posted By khawk

The following is an excerpt from the book, Unity 2017 Game Development Essentials - Third Edition written by Tommaso Lintrami and published by Packt Publishing.

Unity makes the game production process simple by giving you a set of logical steps to build any conceivable game scenario. Renowned for being non-game-type specific, Unity offers you a blank canvas and a set of consistent procedures to let your imagination be the limit of your creativity.

## Essential Unity concepts

By establishing the use of the Game Object concept, you are able to break down parts of your game into easily manageable objects, which are made of many individual component parts. By making individual objects within the game, introducing functionality to them with each component you add, you are able to infinitely expand your game in a logical, progressive manner. Component parts in turn have Variables, which are essentially properties of the component, or settings to control them with. By adjusting these variables, you'll have complete control over the effect that a component has on your object. The following diagram illustrates this:

### Assets

These are the building blocks of all Unity projects. From textures in the form of image files, through 3D models for meshes, and sound files for effects, Unity refers to the files you'll use to create your game as assets. This is why, in any Unity project folder, all files used are stored in a child folder named Assets. This Assets folder is mirrored in the Project panel of the Unity interface; see the interface section in this chapter for more detail.

### Scenes

In Unity, you should think of scenes as individual levels or areas of game content. However, some developers create entire games in a single scene, such as puzzle games, by dynamically loading content through the code. By constructing your game with many scenes, you'll be able to distribute loading times and test different parts of your game individually. New scenes are often used separately to a game scene you may be working on in order to prototype or test a piece of potential gameplay.

Any currently open scene is what you are working on. In Unity 2017, you can load more scenes into the hierarchy while editing, and even at runtime, through the new SceneManager API, where two or more scenes can be worked on simultaneously. Scenes can be manipulated and constructed by using the Hierarchy and Scene views.

OK, now that we know what assets and scenes let’s start setting up a scene and building a game asset.

## Setting up a scene and preparing game assets

Create a new scene from the main menu by navigating to Assets | Create | Scene, and name it ParallaxGame. In this new scene, we will set up, step by step, all the elements for our 2D game prototype. First of all, we will switch the camera setting in the Scene view to 2D by clicking on the button as shown by the red arrow in the following screenshot:

As you can see, now the Scene view camera is orthographic. You can't rotate it as you wish, as you can do with the 3D camera. Of course, we will want to change this setting on our Main Camera as well.

Also, we want to change the Orthographic size to 4.5 to have the correct view of the scene. Instead, for the Skybox, we will choose a very dark or black color as clear color in the depth setting. This is how the Inspector should look when these settings are done:

While the Clipping Planes distances are important for setting the size of the frustum cone of a 3D, for the Perspective camera (inside which everything will be rendered by the engine), we should only set the Orthographic Size to 4.5, to have the correct distance of the 2D camera from the scene.

When these settings are done, proceed by importing Chapter2-3-4.unitypackage into the project. You can either double-click on the package file with Unity open, or use the top menu: Assets | Import | Custom Package. If you haven't imported all the materials from the book's code already, be sure to include the Sprites subfolder. After the import, look in the Sprites/Parallax/DarkCave folder in the Project view and you will find some images imported as textures (as per default).

The first thing we want to do now is to change the import settings of these images, in the Inspector, from Texture to Sprite (2D and UI). To do so, select all the images in the Project view in the Sprites/Parallax/DarkCave folder, all except the _reference_main_post file.

Which is just a picture used as a reference of what the game level should look like:

The Import Settings shown in the Inspector after selecting the seven images in the Project view

The Max Size setting is hidden (-) because we have a multi-selection of image files. After having made the multiple selections, again, in the Inspector, we will do the following:

1. Set the Texture Type option to Sprites (2D and UI). By default, images are imported as textures; to import them as Sprites, this type must be set.
2. Uncheck the Generate Mip Maps option as we don't need MIP maps for this project as we are not going to look at the Sprites from a distant point of view, for example, games with the zoom-in/zoom-out feature (like the original Grand Theft Auto 2D game) would need this setting checked.
3. Set Max Size to the maximum allowed. To ensure that you import all the images at their maximum resolution, set this to 8192. This is the maximum resolution size for an image on a modern PC, imported as a Sprite or texture. We set it so high because most of the background images we have in the collection are around 6,000 pixels wide.
4. Click on the Apply button to apply these changes to all the images that were selected:

The Project view showing the content of the folder after the images have been set to Sprite in the Import Settings.

### Placing the prefabs in the game

Unity can place the prefabs in the game in many ways, the usual, visual method is to drag a stored prefab or another kind of file/object directly into the scene. Before dragging in the Sprites we imported, we will create an empty GameObject and rename it ParallaxCave.

We will drag the layer images we just imported as Sprites, one by one, from the Project view (pointing at the Assets/Chapters2-3-4/Sprites/Background/DarkCave folder) into the Scene view, or more simply, directly in the Hierarchy view as the children of our ParallaxCaveGameObject, resulting in a scene Hierarchy like the one illustrated here:

You can't drag all of them instantly because Unity will prompt you to save an animation filename for the selected collection of Sprites; we will see this later for our character and for the collectable graphics.

Quote

The ParallaxCaveGameObject and its children are in blue because this GameObject is stored as a prefab. When the link with the prefab is broken for a modification, the GameObject in the Hierarchy will become black again. When you see a red GameObject in the scene, it means that the prefab file that was linked to that GameObject was deleted.

## Importing and placing background layers

In any game engine, 2D elements, such as Sprites, are rendered following a sort order; this order is also called the z-order because it is a way to express the depth or to cope with the missing z axis in a two-dimensional context. The sort order is assigned an integer number which can be positive or negative; 0 is the middle point of this draw order.

Ideally, a sort order of zero expresses the middle ground, where the player will act, or near its layer. Look at this image:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia: parallax scrolling

All positive numbers will render the Sprite element in front of the other elements with a lower number. The graphic set we are going to use was taken from the Open Game Art website at http://opengameart.org.

For simplicity, the provided background image files are named with a number within parentheses, for example, middleground(z1), which means that this image should be rendered with a z sort order of 1.

Change the sort order property of the Sprite component on each child object under ParallaxCave according to the value in the parentheses at the end of their filenames. This will rearrange the graphics into the appropriately sorted order.

After we place and set the correct layer order for all the images, we should arrange and scale the layers in a proper manner to end as something like the reference image furnished in the Assets/Chapters2-3-4/Sprites/Background/DarkCave/ folder.

You can take a look at the final result for this part anytime, by saving the current scene and loading the Chapter3_start.unity scene.

Quote

On the optimization side, Sprites can be packed together in a single atlas texture with the Sprite Packer into a single image atlas (a single image containing a whole group of Sprites). We will see this passively with already-made-for-the-book Sprite sheets containing the animations of the character in this chapter and actively for packing all the generic graphics to make the best running performance possible in Chapter 13, Optimization and Final touches.

You just read an excerpt from the book, Unity 2017 Game Development Essentials - Third Edition written by Tommaso Lintrami and published by Packt Publishing.

Use the code ORGDA10 at checkout to get recommended eBook retail price for $10 only until April 30, 2018. Report Article ## User Feedback There are no comments to display. ## Create an account or sign in to comment You need to be a member in order to leave a comment ## Create an account Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy! Register a new account ## Sign in Already have an account? Sign in here. Sign In Now • Advertisement • Advertisement • ### Are you ready to promote your game? ### Submit your game for Intel® certification by December 21, 2018 and you could win big! ### Click here to learn more. • ### Latest Featured Articles • 0 • 25 • 0 • 1 • 0 • ### Featured Blogs • Advertisement • ### Popular Now • 13 • 26 • 10 • 11 • 9 • ### Similar Content • By ggenije On picture 1 is actually what I get, but how to make it to look like pic 2? • Hi, I am using unitys mecanim system I have a layer that controls movement ie idle -> run it works fine when I press W I run forward with the animation via transform.position += anim.deltaPosition; // anim is on a child object that has the animator I have a second layer for attack set to override 100%, on this layer I have just the head moving and is masked just for the neck up. it plays when I press the mouse button. Now my problem is when I press W and mouse button, it plays both animations BUT it stops moving forward. Theres no location key frames on the attack or any key frames on the root node for that matter. Please tell me if I am being unclear. Thanks in advance, Also I lost my other acc because I cant remember my pass or the email i used, is there a way I can get it back? like I say the account name and it tells me which email i used? • Hey everyone! My name is Ryan. Visualistic Studios is looking for experienced developers of all talents to join a game development team focused on completing contract work for compensation. Work Description Typically you will either be assisting the team or working on your own contract. We usually bid$16-\$25/h, however contracts can go above and below that so all pay grades are welcome, just be realistic.

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• GameDaily.Biz spoke to Improbable about its new shortcuts to multiplayer game development for Unity and Unreal.

Improbable helps game developers build believable online worlds with its bespoke technology, SpatialOS. Now, that task is much easier and accessible for those building games on the technology with the recent release of the SpatialOS Game Development Kit (GDK) for Unity. With these kits, Improbable hopes that developers find it easier to create vast, dynamic and unique worlds.
This GDK for Unity includes a 200-gamer, first-person project that allows developers to experiment and tinker with their ideas for what their vision of a multiplayer game will look like.
GameDaily.Biz met with Improbable’s Head of Product Marketing, Paul Thomas, and Head of Comms, Daniel Nye Griffiths, to speak about the SpatialOS GDK for Unity, as well as the upcoming launch of the SpatialOS GDK for Unreal Engine.
In its first week, the SpatialOS GDK for Unity achieved over 2,000 developer sign ups to use it. “What we're trying to do is basically make it really fast for people to build multiplayer games,” said Thomas. “It comes with all the multiplayer networking so that developers don’t have to do any multiplayer networking. It comes with feature modules to allow [easy] solutions to common multiplayer problems, like player movement and shooting. And it comes with a cool starter project where you have 200 players in a free-for-all scenario. You can obviously use the power of SpatialOS to scale that project up to more players, with NPCs, and things like that. It gives people a really good base to start building multiplayer games.”
There are several games currently in development or early access that utilize SpatialOS. The first into Early Access was Spilt Milk Studios’ Lazarus, a space MMO where the player becomes a pilot in a universe that ends every week, complete with a map that’s twice the size of Austria. Additionally, Bossa Studios released its survival exploration game Worlds Adrift into Steam Early Access earlier this year.
Also using SpatialOS is Scavengers from Midwinter Entertainment, a studio founded by former 343 Industries studio head and Halo 4 Creative Director, Josh Holmes; the game is heavily inspired by his Halo 5: Guardians’ multiplayer mode, Warzone. Right alongside that company, Berlin-based Klang Studios is working on Seed, a simulation MMO that, according to its developers, lets players “interact and collaborate to create a world driven by real emotion and aspiration.”
According to Thomas, for those looking to use the SpatialOS GDK for Unity, there is no limit to  what their games can do with Improbable’s tech.
“What we're doing is expanding the possible gameplay you can do. Traditionally, when you make a multiplayer game, you're constrained by one single server. So you can say you have a 64-player game with a handful of NPCs or you could have a world that's 3km by 3km. With Spatial, you can go beyond that, test a much broader canvas to start thinking about different gameplay.”
“You can go for a massive online persistent MMO with 10,000 players and hundreds of thousands of NPCs, something very, very vast and big like that. But you can also have smaller experiences. For example, there's a lot of interesting space in just extending what you see in the Battle Royale genre and session-based gameplay.”
Thomas continued: “Our partners at Automaton have a game in development called Mavericks. The interesting thing there is they have a Battle Royale with 1,000 people, but what I really find interesting is the gameplay mechanics they've put in, like footprints so you can track people. They've added a cool fire propagation mechanic so you can start a fire that  spreads across the map and changes the world. Or you can add destructible buildings and things like that.”
“So I think even looking at smaller scale games, we add a lot of value in terms of the new gameplay you can start adding. I'm just interested to see what people do with this extra power - what they can come up with.”
While Battle Royale games and MMOs are obvious standouts for genres that best fit with SpatialOS, Thomas introduced some other ideas of genres that could benefit from the technology.
“I also think there's a space for very interesting MMORTSs as well,” he said. “An RTS where you have persistent systems, like telling AIs to do things and then coming back to them a week later and seeing what's happened is an interesting space.”
“I also see interesting mobile experiences that could come up. Having these worlds where you lay down some interesting things and then come back a few weeks later to see how they've evolved and changed, and the massive player interaction. Say for example with Pokemon Go, we can actually roam around the world and battle on the streets. I can see something like that working very well. Again, these are just ideas we've had and talked to people about. It's about giving people that flexibility and the ability to explore these ideas.”
Klang’s Seed
Griffiths added the possibility of events in a game that will have a massive, rippling, and lasting impact on its world as something that has people excited. One example he gives is how someone on one side of the map can do something that’ll have a knock-on effect for the rest of the world in real time.
“There's a whole bunch of different angles you can take, some of which are about much larger player numbers or a much larger map, but there are other things you can do which are taking a relatively constrained game experience, a smaller map, a smaller number of players and adding richness to the game as well.”
In fact, this is something that Thomas refers to as a “persistent in memory database,” meaning that for every object in the game world, there’s a history. Two examples cited by Thomas: “...a player could chop down a tree and that tree stays disappeared forever. Or a player can kill a big monster that was raiding a town and that town no longer gets raided by that monster, and this changes the dynamics of the world. Worlds can have a history. That means players can have a lot more meaning in these MMO worlds.”
“Normally in MMOs, they're kinda like roller coaster rides: you go into a dungeon, you kill the boss and that guy respawns. It all resets,” Thomas continues. “But in Spatial MMOs, you could have these persistent effects that should change the gameplay meaningfully for all the rest of the player base.”
“The other one I think that is interesting is the level of dynamism that you could have. So because you can have so much more server-side compute, you could potentially have NPCs roaming around the world changing their mind and deciding all of a sudden, 'oh, we're going to attack this player's base' or 'we're gonna go attack this town' and they have a lot more range and emotion and intelligence to them that you'd not see in other MMOs.
“Normally in MMOs, NPCs sit there tethered. You go near them and they come and attack you, you run away, and they go back to where they were. In a Spatial MMO, that NPC can trace you across the whole map or a group of them can decide to get together and attack someone..”

Next week, Improbable plans to launch its SpatialOS GDK for Unreal Engine, which will have a big focus on ease of use for access to Unreal, as well as a big emphasis on porting your projects to SpatialOS.
“One of the things we'll be trying to push is a porting guide so you'll be able to take your existing Unreal game, move it onto SpatialOS and then you can grow to expand it with new and extra gameplay,” says Thomas. “ You can bring across your existing Unreal game and it feels very, very native and similar to Unreal if you're familiar with Unreal.”
Griffiths continued, explaining how testing these experiences includes free cloud deployments, to a certain point. “If you're developing in SpatialOS in other ways, we provide a sandbox environment so you can get your game running. When you’re happy, you can port it over and sort of experiment with it in a free sandbox environment with a small number of cores to get started.”
Based on what we learned, Improbable’s SpatialOS GDK for Unity will give developers enhanced flexibility to produce more in depth and engaging videos games. That said, we look forward to catching up with the company in the near future to see how this exciting technology is being used in the different games that we play.
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