Exploring the Fundamentals of Unity

Posted on November 17th, 2011
by theinterns

Today, in addition to a bit of game testing, Justin and I have been exploring the basic fundamentals of Unity, a powerful 3-D game engine that incorporates traditional mechanics that allow a game to be what it is – a game. To start off on our learning curve, we’ve followed the Game Lab’s first of multiple Unity tutorials: creating a 3-D object, or dice in the example. Justin will be adding his response sometime soon.


The initial steps of the tutorial are very straight forward – you move the main camera to a more suitable location on the space, create a flat plane, a cube to complement the plane and a light source This makes it to where that when you’re in Game Mode, you are able to see the objects in the scene, thanks to the light source illuminating the surface. While you are asked to pull up another window to sctually draw each side of the die via Gimp or Photoshop, I improvised by using what was already pre-imported in the assets, giving my cube its surface appearance. Difficulty starts rising once you are asked to apply other parameters and additions to what you’ve already created, such as physics, materials and movement of planes.

Because Unity applies whatever texture you have on the object to each face (of the cube in this example), you must create a seperate plane for each face, which gives it an independent sort of nature. Then, in order to give it a specific texture, you are to first create a material that will portray the texture, and add it to the desired plane. For me, it appeared as if the base structure of the cube became the skeleton instead, seeing as how the plane faces were connected to the cube itself. I must say though, that placing the exact coordinates for each face to match the structure of the cube was extremely time-consuming and a bit confusing; I didn’t pay attention to the way you could rotate the plane in both the X and Y axis, rather than just the X axis only.

The physics give the planes their physical property and therefore will react to surfaces. An interesting thing I’ve found when using the physics engine is that when you give the initial ground plane and the cube itself (along with its planes) physics, the entire landscape will start falling. When the gravity is checked off from the plane, the plane responds to the cube by flipping itself. Additionally, it appears as if the plane sides of the cube fall through the ground plane, while the main die structure obeys and stops once it come sin contact with the ground plane.