Creating Games with Unity and Maya: How to Develop Fun and Marketable 3D Games [NOOK Book]


Unity brings you ever closer to the "author once, deploy anywhere" dream. With its multiplatform capabilities, you can target desktop, web, mobile devices, and consoles using a single development engine. Little wonder that Unity has quickly become the #1 game engine out there.

Mastering Unity is absolutely essential in an increasingly competitive games market where agility ...

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Creating Games with Unity and Maya: How to Develop Fun and Marketable 3D Games

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Unity brings you ever closer to the "author once, deploy anywhere" dream. With its multiplatform capabilities, you can target desktop, web, mobile devices, and consoles using a single development engine. Little wonder that Unity has quickly become the #1 game engine out there.

Mastering Unity is absolutely essential in an increasingly competitive games market where agility is expected, yet until now practical tutorials were nearly impossible to find.

Creating Games with Unity and Maya gives you with an end-to-end solution for Unity game development with Maya. Written by a twelve-year veteran of the 3D animation and games industry and professor of 3D animation, this book takes you step-by-step through the process of developing an entire game from scratch-including coding, art, production, and deployment.

This accessible guide provides a "non-programmer" entry point to the world of game creation. Aspiring developers with little or no coding experience will learn character development in Maya, scripts, GUI interface, and first- and third-person interactions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781136126291
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/12/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 549
  • Sales rank: 893,028
  • File size: 37 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Adam Watkins is Associate Professor, 3D Animation, School of Interactive Media & Design at the University of the Incarnate Word. He is currently on a research sabbatical at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where he is part of the VISIBLE effort creating virtual simulation games for use in non-proliferation exercises. Watkins has headed the 3D Animation program for over ten years and is the author of several books and over 100 articles on 3D Animation. His students are the winners of multiple national and international animation awards and festivals.
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Creating Games with Unity and Maya

How to Develop Fun and Marketable 3D Games
By Adam Watkins

Focal Press

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-240-81901-3

Chapter One

Game Production Process

Describing the game production process is actually a bit tricky, partly because it is different for every team and different for every budget. But also, the reality is that a team might be, well, you. Indeed, sometimes games are produced by very small groups of people, and occasionally by a team of one.

However, whether you are a team of fifty working on the next AAA blockbuster or a team of one creating a student project that you hope will get you on that team of fifty, there are some specific steps that need to happen to create a playable game. How successful you or your team are at these steps, and completing the steps in a timely manner, will play a big role in how efficiently the project comes together and how successful the game ultimately appears and plays.

The specifics of team management and money management and even time management are really out of the scope of this book (along with marketing your game and getting funding). However, understanding what needs to happen in what order will help you as you assemble your team or build your project.

The Team

"The Team" refers to the Design and Production Team—the group of people that actually make the game. This doesn't include the important roles of publishers, financial teams, marketing teams, or even quality assurance teams. Although all of these are important for a profitable game, the focus of this book is learning the technology, so the production of the game will be the focus.

Generally most game production teams (or development teams) contain people in the following roles:

Designer: The Game Designer is the head of the creative vision. He or she must be artistically able and technically proficient. He is able to straddle the aesthetic and programming ends of the spectrum. More importantly, he understands and often has authored the goals of the game, the genre of the game, the game play, the rules and structure of the game, and any other game mechanics. The game designer typically communicates these goals through a document called a Game Design Document. The Game Design Document is often predicated by a Game Proposal Document before it can be created. Usually, a game designer has substantial writing skills to be able to communicate the vision of a game. This Game Design Document becomes the bible upon which the other designers reference as the game production goes on. The structure of this document is out of the scope of what we are covering here, but there are multiple references and examples online of such documents. Further, Game Design Documents should be specific to an organization, financial structure, and even work culture. However, although we might not cover the details of what this document is, what it does is relevant. Now a Game Design Document is rarely set in stone. The scope of a game and the features of a game often have to be adjusted due to time, talent, or budget reasons. However, as the production cycle grinds on, effective management and distribution of this document becomes important to keeping the team on task. I have personally witnessed many times where days and even weeks of labor were wasted because team members failed to reference—and managers failed to confirm—that they were referencing a Game Design Document. Even if you are working as an expansive team of one, developing an internal Game Design Document (even if it is a bulleted list, or a flowchart sketch on your whiteboard, or a list on the back of a napkin) can help you keep an eye on the prize and avoid pitfalls like feature creep, where new options forever find their way into a game and keeps it from ever being released. Mechanics Engineer: Games have mechanics. Mechanics are the rules by which the game functions, including things like balance in power, physics illustrations, interaction between player and game, and interplayer interactions. Game mechanics are part of every game from checkers to the most sophisticated of PC first-person shooters to training modules for nuclear inspectors. The mechanics engineer (or Game Mechanics Designer as he or she is sometimes called), works through the details of how the vision outlined by the lead Game Designer can be implemented best. Often this team member comes from a programming or scripting background.

A quick note on this: The academic community has been studying the issue of game play and game mechanics fairly rigorously in recent years. It is still a developing field of study, and is a bit of a moving target as the rules of engagement with your game continue to change. However, if you want to get serious about understanding what makes games fun and how game mechanics can help this, there is an ever-increasing library of research that explores this. In the long run, researching this literature will be worth your while if you want to be a successful game designer or mechanics engineer. Level Designer: Justifiably, this position has become more and more prominent in the game production process. This designer creates the environment in which the gameplay takes place. He works carefully with the Game Designer and Mechanics Engineer to ensure that the space he is designing both remains true to the vision of the designer and allows the space for effective game mechanics. These designs are carefully considered and designed and almost always begin with conceptual sketches or paintings and detailed floor plans that lay out where puzzles, challenges, pitfalls, and enemies appear or are interacted with. Character Designer: This is often one of the sexiest roles because this person designs the characters. These characters are based upon the goals defined in the Game Design Document, and almost always start on paper with drawings. Conceptual sketches provide quick communication devices before the considerable modeling time is undertaken. These sketches also can provide a visceral response to a concept that often a T-pose-modeled character lacks. Animator or Motion Designer: Animation is incredibly important in games since it seems to be the thing that draws our attention. Ironically, even complex games have a fairly limited collection of animations that are cycled as the game is played. Some characters have as many as 100 different moves, but most have much, much less. The animator will create in-game animations that are cycled, but will also often be responsible for cut scenes and more "meaty" assignments where traditional noncycled animation is used. Very large studios often will have separate cinematic (cut scenes and intro animations) departments that are creating higher-rez, prerendered animations. Writer: Due to strikes in recent years, there has been a migration (at least temporarily) of film and television writers to the game industry. Writing for games is certainly different than any other medium, and too often people who have no business writing for games do so—and the results are usually cliché at best or downright corny at worst. However, a good writer can certainly assist in making a game experience more immersive with believable and engaging dialog, narrative, on-screen elements (think character correspondence or journals), and even in-game verbiage that lets the player know what to do. Often the writer is used for only part of the process since there is usually insufficient work to keep one occupied through the entire production cycle. Sound Designer: Playing a game with the sound off has its charms, but anyone who has played a game on a big screen TV, with the lights off, and the sound pumped way up (or on headphones) knows how an effective sound design creates perhaps more ambiance than any visual elements of a game. Too often in all aspects of 3D animation, students or beginners treat sound and music as an afterthought, but it never is in big-budget games. Sometimes for students there are budget restrictions that prevent custom soundtracks from being used. However, thinking early of sound effects and music will allow for proper timing and can even influence visual choices.

The Tools and Unity

Now that we have generally looked at who is on a team, it is important to talk through what the tools of that team are, and specifically how Unity fits within that tool box.

Unity is classed as a game engine. What this means is that it is the technology that drives a game. The way to think about it in production terms though is as an "assembler." Unity itself is generally not used to create assets (although there are some things like particles that are created within Unity itself). Almost all the art assets are created outside of Unity itself—the 3D models are created in a 3D application (Maya, Cinema4D, Blender, modo, 3DS Max, Lightwave, etc.), the texture assets are made in Photoshop or BodyPaint, and even the scripts are actually written in some other application (UniSCTE on a PC, Unitron on the Mac, or some other scripting tool all together). All these assets are imported in Unity through a quite painless process where you are then able to combine these assets to create the game.

So, you assemble games in Unity, but most games—and all games with any level of visual complexity—make heavy use of lots of other applications in the process. Just as there are lots of different ways to create 3D assets (some will choose Maya, others 3DS Max, for instance), there are multiple game engines as well. Unity is particularly flexible and accessible; that is why it is the tool of choice in this book. But be aware that there are lots of other methods of creating games (Unreal Engine, CryEngine, Source, etc.).

Teams of Teams and Pipelines

Often, a production team will be broken into two teams, an art team (sometimes called "Creative") and a technology team. The work of both is critical for a successful game, and communication between the two teams better ensures a smooth process.

One of the benefits of working as part of a team—or a team of teams—is that assets need not be created sequentially. The technology team doesn't need to wait for creative to finish up their work before starting on scripts.

Often, technology is being developed and has been developed when the creative team delivers certain assets that are then plugged directly into the game.

However, if you are working alone (and the assumption is that most readers of this book are doing just that) creation of assets in an appropriate order will make the development process much more efficient. So to begin, let's look at the assets needed for the game produced in this book.


Once the Game Design Document is completed, the lead designer will need to start working out what assets need to be created and when they need to be done. Assets can be a lot of things: 2D elements like GUI and interface designs, texture files, 3D models, sound files, animation clips, as well as things like scripts and other mechanisms that drive the game. For this book, we will focus on two categories of assets: art assets and scripting assets.

Art Assets

For the tutorials covered in this game we will need three art-based assets: models, textures, and animations. The models and animations will be created in Maya while the textures will be created in Photoshop, but linked to the models within Maya. Other visual elements like lighting will take place in both Maya and Unity (depending on which version of Unity you are using).

Technology Assets (Scripts)

Unity allows for mechanics to be built with a variety of scripting mechanisms. Most reference or discussion you will find will be in either Unity's implementation of JavaScript or C#. These scripts are attached to an object or objects within your Unity scene and drive the interaction between the player and the game.


Excerpted from Creating Games with Unity and Maya by Adam Watkins Copyright © 2011 by Elsevier Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Focal Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
    • Why this book?
    • Who's it for, and how to use it?
      • Hobbyist strategies
      • Game Developer usage
      • Teacher
      • Student
    • Structure
      • Maya, then Unity
        • Reasoning
    • Book Paradigm
      • Assumptions
      • What we won't be covering
    • Artist Approach vs Programmer/Engineer Approach
      • This book is based upon artist approach
  • Chapter 1 - Game Production Process
    • Game Production Team Members (or roles)
      • All roles can be done by one person
    • Game Production Pipeline in Unity
      • Conceptualization
        • Audience
        • Theme
        • Conceptualization Artwork
      • Art Assets Creation
        • Models
        • Textures
        • Animation
        • Lighting
      • Game Mechanics
        • Scripting Team
          • Game Play
          • Physics
          • Varia
      • What needs to be done when
      • Flexibility of Unity's approach
        • What parts aren't so flexible.
    • How this book mimics the Game Production Process
    • Introduction to The Game we will be producing in the book.
  • Chapter 2 - Asset Creation: Maya Scenography Modeling
    • Scenography Mdeling within the Game Desing Pipeling
    • So Why Maya Tutorials?
    • A Bit of 3D Theory
      • Rendering
      • Video Cards
      • Limitation and Optimization for Games
    • Rules of 3D Game Modeling
      • Polycount Matters
      • Topology is Critical
    • On to the Tools
    • Tutorial 2.1 Game Level Modeling : The Entryway
    • Homework and Challenges
  • Chapter 3 - Asset Creation: Maya Scenography UV Mapping
    • Scenography UV Mapping within the Game Design Pipeline
    • UVs
      • Exploring the UV Texture Editor
    • Tutorial 3.1 Game Level UV Layout: Tools and Techniques
    • Homework and Challenges
  • Chapter 4 - Asset Creation: Maya Sceongraphy Texturing
    • Scenography Texturing within the Game Design Pipleline
    • Textures, Materials & Shaders
    • Nature of Effective Textures
      • Be Square
      • Power of Two
    • Seamless Textures
    • Maya and Unity
    • Tutorials
      • Tutorial 4.1 Seamless Tiled Textures
      • Tutorial 4.2 Non-Tiled Textures and Their Dirt

  • Chapter 5 - Asset Creation: Unity Scenography Importing
    • Introduction to Unity Space
      • Tutorial 5.1 Creating a Unity Project
      • Tutorial 5.2 Exporting from Maya
      • Tutorial 5.3 Importing, Tweaking and Placing Scenography Assets into Unity
  • Chapter 6 - Asset Creation: Unity Scenography Creation Tools
    • Introduction to Non-Imported Assets in Unity
      • Tutorial 6.1 Adding, Manipulating and Understanding Water
      • Tutorial 6.2 Terrain Creation
      • Tutorial 6.3 Tree Building
      • Tutorial 6.4 Particle Creation
  • Chapter 7 - Lighting & Baking
    • What's the big deal with lighting?
    • To light in Maya or Unity?
      • Tutorial 7.1 Lighting Game Level in Unity
    • Baking, textures and AO
      • Tutorial 7.2 Baking in Unity
    • Light maps in Unity
      • Tutorial 7.3 Using Light maps in Unity
  • Chapter 8 - Asset Creation: Maya Character Creations
    • Low Poly character techniques
    • Topology mastery
      • Tutorial 3.1 Game Character Modeling
    • Character UV
      • Tutorial 3.2 Game Character UV Mapping
    • Character Textures
      • Tutorial 3.3 Game Character Texturing
  • Chapter 9 - Asset Creation: Character Rigging and Animation and Import
    • Brief discussion of rigging, skinning, and animation in Maya
      • Tutorial 4.1 Rigging Game Character
      • Tutorial 4.2 Skinning Game Character
    • Game Animation Methodology
      • Tutorial 4.3 Character Idle
    • Unity & Animation
      • Tutorial 4.4 Importing Animated Character and Testing

  • Chapter 10 - Unity Physics
    • Physics engines. PhysX
      • Newtonian physics
      • Unity's use
      • "Frame miss"
      • Elements needed for physics calculations
      • Limitations and overhead
    • Tutorial 7.1 Booby Traps and Physics in Unity
    • Ragdoll
      • Tutorial 7.2 Ragdoll Implementation
  • Chapter 11 - Unity Script: Syntax
    • Power and frustration of scripting
    • Scripting Overview
    • Syntax Discussion
      • MonoBehaviour
      • Commands
      • Functions
      • Variables
      • Inputs
      • Time
      • Components
      • Vectors
      • Coroutines
      • Yields
    • Scripting Cheat Sheets
    • Tutorial 8.1 Constructing Basic Scripts from Scratch
  • Chapter 12 - Unity Script: Triggers
    • What are triggers? Why are they useful?
    • Relationship to Physics
      • What a trigger needs to work
    • How to script a trigger and why
    • Tutorial 9.1 Opening Doors and Tripping Traps
  • Chapter 13 - Unity Script: Inputs, Raycasting and Manipulating
    • Communicating with the game
    • Types of Inputs
      • GUI (for discussion later)
      • Triggers (discussed earlier)
      • Mouse Input
      • Keyboard Input
      • Raycasting
    • When to use which type of input
    • How to call up or "listen for" inputs
    • Tutorial 10.1 Keyboard Driven Mini-Game
    • Tutorial 10.2 Mouse Driven Mini-Game
    • Tutorial 10.3 Raycasting

  • Chapter 14 - Unity Script: Prefabs and Instantiation
    • Power of prefabs
      • Tutorial 11.1 Creating Custom Prefabs
    • Instantiation
      • What are they?
      • What are they for?
      • Why mess with them?
    • Tutorial 11.2 Projectile Instantiation
  • Chapter 15 - Unity Sound
    • Listener/Source Paradigm
    • Attaching sounds
    • Triggering Sounds
    • Listening and tweaking sound qualities
  • Chapter 16 - Unity GUI: OnGUI, GUITextures, GUIText
    • Graphical User Interfaces
      • Theory of design
      • Unity types
        • GUIText
        • GUITextures
        • OnGUI
    • Tutorial 12.1 GUIText and GUITextures for instant feedback
    • Tutorial 12.2 Constructing OnGUI GUI Structure for Game Setup
  • Chapter 17 - Unity GUI and Scripting: Inter-script communication
    • Power of linking scripts
    • Logic engines
    • Health, damage, inventory, death
      • Tutorial 13.1 Creating and Manipulating Health Bar
  • Chapter 18 - Unity Distribution: Builds
    • Getting the game out the door
    • Optimization strategies
      • Profiler
      • Debugger
    • Optimizing game
    • Making Builds
      • PC
      • Mac
      • Web
      • Mobile Devices (overview)
        • iOS
        • Android
    • Tutorial 14.1 Building the Game
  • Appendix A: Setting Projects with Maya
  • Appendix C: Unity Asset Server
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    Posted April 20, 2013

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    I thought this book was very useful! I made millions of games with this!

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