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10 Best Unity Books for Game Development Learning

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Unity Books

Unity is the gaming engine powering a galore of popular - and innovative - games, like Alto’s Adventure, Assassin’s Creed Identity, Firewatch, Ghost of a Tale, Pillars of Eternity, Praey for the Gods, Temple Run, and Wasteland 2.

Game development is among the hottest career options. It isn’t an easy take on, but, of course, a fruitful one. Video gaming is about overcoming difficulties and setting new achievements/benchmarks. The same spirit goes behind the development of video games too.

So, to help you charge-up your Unity game development skills - or to jump into the Unity gaming development moshpit - here’s our pick of the 10 best Unity books.

P.S. - Consider checking out the detailed comparison among the two video game development giants: Unity vs Unreal Engine.

10 Best Unity Books

1. Unity Game Development in 24 Hours

Unity Game DevelopmentFrom - Mike Geig
Latest Edition - Third
Formats Available - Kindle and Paperback
Publisher - Sams

The Unity Game Development in 24 Hours book aims to educate the readers about game development in mere 24 hours with 24 sessions. The book leverages the Unity 4 game engine to demonstrate game development at its finest using examples to the likes of Temple Run.

The Unity game development book starts with the absolute basics of video game making and slowly moves on to discuss animation and game physics's intricate art. Each successive chapter in the Unity Game Development in 24 Hours book extends on the previous chapters' concepts.

Unity Game Development in 24 Hours is penned by Mike Geig, a veteran game developer and a seasoned teacher with several years of experience in teaching game design and development at Stark State College and the Cleveland Institute of Art. Other than being replete with exercises and quizzes, the book flaunts:

  • Cautions - How to identify common gaming development pitfalls and how to avoid the same.
  • Notes - Fascinating/additional information related to some video game development concept(s).
  • Tips - Easy ways to perform certain tasks.

From the Unity book's successful completion, readers will be able to work with Unity game objects, apply shaders and textures to a 3D object, modify a desktop game for mobile platforms, leverage device accelerometers, and multi-touch displays, and much more.

Topics covered:

  • Unity GameObjects.
  • Unity graphical asset pipeline.
  • Unity Mecanim animation system.
  • Unity Shuriken particle system.
  • Game deployment.
  • Game user interfaces.
  • Scripting video game tasks.

You can buy this book here.

2. Unity in Action: Multiplatform Game Development in C# with Unity 5

Unity in ActionFrom - Joe Hocking and Jesse Schell (Foreword)
Latest Edition - Second
Formats Available - Paperback
Publisher - Manning Publications

Unity in Action is the best-selling Unity game development book from Manning Publications. The book describes everything from game coding to the final deployment of video games using the Unity game engine. It is an ideal book for app developers to make a switch to video game development.

With the Unity in Action book purchase, buyers receive a free ebook of the same in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats. The book offers ample hands-on practice exercises about the intuitive workflow tools and rendering engine in Unity. The second edition of the game development book adds a new chapter about developing 2D platforming games using Unity’s expanded 2D toolkit.

The Unity in Action is a practical game development guide - from Joe Hocking, a software engineer and Unity expert - that explores all aspects of game making, including creating custom AI scripts and developing easily readable UIs. The video game development book is ideal for beginners as no previous game development experience is required to benefit from it.

Topics covered:

  • Basics of the Unity game engine.
  • Connecting games with the internet.
  • Game deployment.
  • GUI development.
  • Unity’s 2D functionality.
  • Working with graphics.

You can buy this book here.

3. Unity 5.x Cookbook

Unity 5.x CookbookFrom - Matt Smith and Chico Queiroz
Latest Edition - Third
Formats Available - Kindle and Paperback
Publisher - Packt Publishing Limited

Packt Publishing Limited is unparalleled when it comes to offering comprehensive books on video game development. As such, it has no scarcity of impeccable titles that are suitable for championing several aspects of the Unity platform. One such is the Unity 5.x Cookbook.

Unity 5.x Cookbook is intended for one and all wishing to learn and work with a wide-ranging Unity scripting and multimedia functionalities. The game development book also discusses quick fixes for run-of-the-mill problems encountered during game development. It is, undoubtedly, an excellent Unity reference for doing a quick proof-check.

The author of the book is Matt Smith. He is a computing academic in Ireland who also did a stint in music - yes, he was in a band and recorded the B-side of the audio cassette featuring the Confusion game - and is an ardent game developer, among his other polyglot pursuits.

Naturally, the book follows an experimental, explorative, and fun approach to teaching. This is a Unity book that is for everyone, from professional coders looking to experiment with Unity game development to artists having naive Unity skills (and a little C# experience).

Topics covered:

  • Common game development pitfalls and how to avoid/fix them.
  • Game design.
  • Programming in C#.
  • Unity basics.
  • Unity game scripting.

You can buy this book here.

4. Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development

Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and DevelopmentFrom - Jeremy Gibson Bond
Latest Edition - Third
Formats Available - Kindle and Paperback
Publisher - Addison-Wesley

Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development is another great book detailing Unity game development. Authored by Jeremy Gibson - a veteran independent game developer and professor - the book focuses on game design theory, solid rapid-prototyping practices, and developing computer programming skills.

The game development book is about learning and mastering Unity, but it is about understanding and appreciating game development's holistic process.

The Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development book is full of in-depth tutorials discussing 8 video game prototypes. It also explains the correct approach of learning C# and Unity, which can boost a game developer’s productivity. The game development book also talks about:

  • Coming up with new, innovative game design concepts,
  • Debugging the game code,
  • Quickly moving from design concepts to functional digital prototypes,
  • Leveraging rapid iteration for improving the game design, and
  • Playtesting games and making sense out of the gained feedback.

From the successful completion of the Unity game development book, readers will be able to develop superb game design ideas and the clarity and skills to transcript those ideas into real, playable video games.

Topics covered:

  • Game design theory.
  • Programming skills required for video game development.
  • Rapid-prototyping practices.
  • Scrum and Agile methodologies.
  • Unity basics.
  • Working with C#.

You can buy this book here.

5. Learning C# from Developing Games with Unity 5.x

Learning C# by Developing Games with Unity 5.xFrom - Greg Lukosek
Latest Edition - First
Formats Available - Kindle and Paperback
Publisher - Packt Publishing Limited

What is the best way to learn game development? It is to do so while developing a video game side-from-side. This is the mantra leveraged from Learning C# from Developing Games with Unity 5.x. The book on Unity game development focuses more on practicality rather than game theory.

Learning C# from Developing Games with Unity 5.x teaches the intricate art of game development, allowing the readers to work on an interactive 2D platformer game. This involves scripting in C# with Unity, object-oriented programming, working with GameObjects, et cetera. This book is intended for beginner Unity developers with no prior experience in writing C# gaming scripts and code.

The Unity game development book is penned by Greg Lukosek - a self-taught programmer, 3D artist, and certified mechanical engineer. In the Unity game development book, Greg leverages his multi-decade experience in game development for teaching aspirants the craft of video game development by sharing real-world scenarios and examples.

Topics covered:

  • Basics of Unity game development.
  • Fundamentals of C#.
  • Game publishing.
  • Principles of object-oriented programming.
  • Unity GameObjects.

You can buy this book here.

6. Unity 5.x Shaders and Effects Cookbook

Unity 5.x shadersFrom - Alan Zucconi and Kenneth Lammers
Latest Edition - Second
Formats Available - Kindle and Paperback
Publisher - Packt Publishing Limited

No matter what technology you’re working with, you need a suitable reference. Unity is a complex and grand gaming platform that has a lot of shades to it. One such is the shaders and effects, i.e., graphics, in Unity. A great Unity reference dedicated to the same is Unity 5.x Shaders and Effects Cookbook.

Written from Alan Zucconi - an author, motivational speaker, and passionate developer - and Kenneth Lammers - a seasoned professional from the video gaming industry -, the Unity 5.x Shaders and Effects Cookbook is written to help readers champion the technique of physically-based shading. It helps game developers to apply realism to a video game correctly.

Unity 5.x Shaders and Effects Cookbook must be in your library if you want to master the art of shader programming. The book comes superfluous with illustrative, practical examples that you can even apply to your own video games to teach the same. It is the best book to learn about adding professional post-processing effects in video games.

Topics covered:

  • Interactive game script designing.
  • Maths underlying the most popular lighting models in video gaming.
  • Physically-based rendering.
  • Shader programming.
  • Unity 3D.
  • Unity graphics.

You can buy this book here.

7. Developing 2D Games with Unity

Developing 2D Games with UnityFrom - Jared Halpern
Latest Edition - First
Formats Available - Kindle and Paperback
Publisher - Apress

Unity is a preferred platform for 2D game building. Reform's Adventure, Night In The Woods (NITW), and Unity Creator Kit are famous Unity 2D games. The entire Unity game development book is partitioned into 8 chapters:

  1. Gaming Past and Present - Talks about the history and evolution of the video gaming industry. A brief analysis of the same.
  2. Introduction to Unity - Introduces the reader to the Unity game development platform. Discusses fundamentals and other concepts, mostly 2D game development.
  3. Foundations - Fundamentals of video game development are discussed in this chapter.
  4. World Building - Talks about the art of crafting video game worlds.
  5. Building Out the Gameplay - Gameplay design is covered here.
  6. Beyond the Basics - Marching into the intermediate and advanced sections of video game development.
  7. Polish, Polish, Polish - Practice is the key to success.
  8. Where to go next - How to advance with your present video game development skills.

The book walks the reader through the entire process of 2D game development using Unity in a thoroughly explained and well-paced manner. Developing 2D Games With Unity is not an advanced Unity book; for that, you need to look elsewhere.

Nonetheless, for beginners and the inexperienced, the game development book is a suitable fit. This is because it omits the complex professional coding terminology and explanation and instead leverages a detailed overview/walkthrough of the game development process. However, everything you need to know to get started with 2D Unity game development is covered in this book.

Topics covered:

  • A brief analysis of the video game evolution.
  • Basics of video game development.
  • Gameworld design.
  • Unity 2D game development.
  • Unity basics.

You can buy this book here.

8. Unity Game Development Cookbook: Essentials for Every Game

Unity Game Development Cookbook - Paris Buttfield-Addis, Jonathan Manning, and Tim Nugent
Latest Edition - First
Formats Available - Kindle and Paperback
Publisher - O’Reilly

The Unity Game Development Cookbook: Essentials for Every Game details both 2D and 3D Unity game development. It starts with Unity game development fundamentals and then gradually builds up to discussing advanced concepts, such as virtual reality.

The entire game development book is divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 - Discusses the Unity game engine and how to work with the same using succinct exercises focused on various Unity features.
  • Part 2 - A tutorial-oriented guide for fixing the usual gameplay issues and complexities.

Unity Game Development Cookbook is penned by three authors - Paris, Jonathan, and Tim. The trio has decades of video gaming development experience to convey game development concepts in an easily-digestible way. All three are seasoned authors too.

The Unity game development book leverages a unique - and, frankly, straightforward - approach to teaching game development. It involves studying a scenario, spotting and highlighting the problem, and looking out for the available optimum solution(s). Unity Game Development Cookbook is suitable for game developers with beginner to intermediate adequacy in Unity.

Topics covered:

  • Features of Unity.
  • Game design.
  • Gameplay issues and fixes.
  • Unity basics.
  • Unity game engine.

You can buy this book here.

9. Unity From Zero to Proficiency (Foundations)

Unity From Zero to ProficiencyFrom - Patrick Felicia
Latest Edition - First
Formats Available - Kindle and Paperback
Publisher - Independently Published

Designed for absolute beginners, Unity From Zero to Proficiency (Foundations) is another excellent Unity game development book. The book follows a simple-yet-detailed teaching approach that aims to build confidence and innovation among video game developers.

The teaching approach leveraged from the Unity game development book from Patrick Felicia is progressive. This simply means that each next chapter builds on the topics covered in the previous chapters. It makes the Unity From Zero to Proficiency (Foundations) book a suitable pick for parents and teachers to introduce their children and/or students to Unity video game development.

The entire Unity From Zero to Proficiency (Foundations) book is divided into 6 chapters. Each of them focuses on the various features of Unity. The Unity game development book primarily focuses on:

  • Creating realistic 2D and 3D game worlds,
  • Mastering skills required from the Unity interface, and
  • Working with the core features of Unity.

No prior knowledge of Unity or game development is required for getting started with the Unity From Zero to Proficiency (Foundations) book. Having a little experience with the same, however, makes the learning process even easier.

Topics covered:

  • 2D and 3D game world designing.
  • 2D platform game development without scripting.
  • Basics of Unity.
  • Core features in Unity.
  • Introduction to video game development.
  • Unity interface.

You can buy this book here.

10. Unity UI Cookbook

Unity UI CookbookFrom - Francesco Sapio
Latest Edition - First
Formats Available - Kindle and Paperback
Publisher - Packt Publishing Limited

Unity UI Cookbook packs 60+ ready-made solutions, dubbed recipes, for solving complexities involving intricate video game UI design. The game development book serves as an excellent reference while delving into developing interactive and fully-functional video game UIs.

Francesco Sapio, the author of Unity UI Cookbook, thoroughly narrates the exquisite art of video game development. He is a skilled game designer and Unity 3D expert that leverages a mix of logic, mathematics, philosophy, and puzzle-solving for enticing readers with his explanations. from the successful completion of the book; readers will be able to:

  • Animate and vivify UI elements,
  • Design and implement 3D user interfaces,
  • Handle runtime customizations,
  • Implement different counters and health bars, and much more.

Unity UI Cookbook is intended for game developers aiming for, but not accustomed to, developing top-notch and interactive video game UIs. As the book doesn’t dive into the Unity basics, some exposure to the Unity platform and C# programming is necessary.

Topics covered:

  • Designing interactive and functional Unity-based video game UIs.
  • Working with Unity graphics.
  • Programming in C#.
  • Video game designing.
  • Video game scripting.

You can buy this book here.

Honorable Best Unity Books Mentions

Yes, this might not be the list that everyone can agree with because of hundreds to thousands of books on Unity game development. If you just can’t get enough of Unity books, here are 10 more great Unity books to try:

  • Hands-On Game Development Patterns with Unity 2019: Create engaging games using industry-standard design patterns with C# from David Baron.
  • Learning C# from Developing Games with Unity 2019: Code in C# and build 3D games with Unity from Harrison Ferrone.
  • Mastering UI Development with Unity: An in-depth guide to developing engaging user interfaces with Unity 5, Unity 2017, and Unity 2018 from Ashley Godbold.
  • Unity 2018 Artificial Intelligence Cookbook: Over 90 recipes to build and customize AI entities for your games with Unity from Jorge Palacios.
  • Unity 2018 Augmented Reality Projects: Build four immersive and fun AR applications using ARKit, ARCore, and Vuforia from Jesse Glover.
  • Unity 2018 Cookbook: Over 160 recipes to take your 2D and 3D game development to the next level from Matt Smith.
  • Unity 2018 Game Development in 24 Hours from Mike Geig.
  • Unity 2018 Shaders and Effects Cookbook: Transform your game into a visually stunning masterpiece with over 70 recipes from John P. Doran and Alan Zucconi.
  • Unity Artificial Intelligence Programming: Add powerful, believable, and fun AI entities in your game with the power of Unity 2018! from Dr. Davide Aversa, Aung Sithu Kyaw, and Clifford Peters.
  • Unity Game Optimization: Enhance and extend the performance of all aspects of your Unity games from Dr. Davide Aversa and Chris Dickinson.

Conclusion

That sums up our pick of the best 10 Unity books for building/enhancing video game development skills. Other than reading game development books, you can also go through webinars, online presentations, YouTube videos, tutorials, etc., to champion the art of game development.

Books are great, but if you are looking to learn via an online course, then Complete C# Unity Game Developer course from udemy is a great way to learn Unity for beginners.

Remember, practice is the key here. All the best!

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Akhil Bhadwal

Akhil Bhadwal

A Computer Science graduate interested in mixing up imagination and knowledge into enticing words. Been in the big bad world of content writing since 2014. In his free time, Akhil likes to play cards, do guitar jam, and write weird fiction. View all posts by the Author

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