Considering getting into game development by learning the Unity game engine? We’ve put together a list of the best Unity certification courses, tutorials, & books to help you get started.
If you’re considering diving into game design/development there are a few game engines that you’ll want to consider learning. One of the more popular game engines is Unity. In this post, we’ve curated a list of resources to help you start learning Unity, including the best Unity certification programs/courses, tutorials, and books. So, if you’re ready to start building your own games in Unity, the resources below will help you get started.
*NOTE: Just a heads up… Unity uses the C# programming language and it is helpful to have some profriency in the language before you get started. However, many Unity beginners jump right into the game engine and pickup C# as they go. So, just be aware that you can get into Unity without having prior programming experience, but you will need to learn C# if you want to build more advanced games.
I. The Best Unity Certifications/Courses
For those of you that learn best with well-structured courses, the options below represent good places for you to start learning Unity. Some options below are perfect for beginners, while others are more ideal for those who already have experience and either want to gain advanced knowledge on Unity game dev, or who want to become Unity certified.
Price: Free or Premium ($15/mo)
While there are plenty of good Unity tutorials and learning resources around the web, there is probably no better place to learn Unity than directly through the Unity Learn section on their website. Unity currently provides over 25 different courses, 90 different projects, and hundreds of tutorials through Unity Learn. And, it’s all completely free.
Unity Learn does have a premium offering that is free to try for 30-days and then $15 per month thereafter. The premium service gives you access to Unity experts, live training sessions, and guided learning paths. Not only that, but if you were considering taking some of the Unity-driven courses from Udemy or Coursera listed below, you get access to those courses included with your premium subscription.
So, while the options below are definitely packed with good content and will help you learn Unity, if you want to take them, you’d probably be better off just purchasing the Unity Learn Premium to gain access to all of them. And, if you don’t want to pay for the premium service, there are still enough tutorials and projects in the free version of Unity Learn to help you get started.
Length: 13 Hours
The Unity game engine uses the C# programming language and so it is worthwhile to become proficient in C#. If you’re not familiar with C#, The Unity C# Survival Guide offered through Udemy is a solid course to start out with. The course is taught by Jonathan Weinberger in parthnership with Unity Technologies and consists of nearly 13 hours of video content spread across 19 different topics/sections.
The course has been taken by over 3,500 students and has received an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. The course only costs $9.99 through Udemy, but it is important to note that this same course is available through Unity Learn Premium as well.
Length: 5 Months
If you already have experience developing in Unity and you’re looking to become a certified Unity Gameplay Programmer, then the Unity Expert Gameplay Programmer Certification Preparation Specialization offered by Unity through Coursera would be worth taking.
This specialization consists of five different courses that will take around five months total to complete. The courses included are Rapid Gameplay Prototyping, Programming for Level Design, NPC Programming, Performance Optimization in Unity, and Unity Services Implementation. The specialization is designed as test preparation to help you pass the Unity Certified Expert: Gameplay Programmer exam.
You do have to pay $79 per month in order to access the course.
Length: 3 Months
If you’re looking for test prep material to help you pass the Unity Certified Programmer exam (different from the Unity Certified Expert: Gameplay Programmer exam that the Coursera specialization above prepares you for), then the Unity Expert Gameplay Programmer Certification Preparation Specialization would be worth considering.
The specialization consists of four separate courses and Coursera estimates that it will take you about three months to complete. The courses in the specialization are: Core Interaction Programming, Application Systems Programming, 3D Interactions and Navigation, and 3D Art and Audio Pipeline.
Like the specialization listed above, this specialization also costs $79 per month until completion.
Length: 21 Hours
Another great Unity course for beginners is The Ultimate Guide to Game Development with Unity 2019 offered through Udemy. This course is also taught by Jonathan Weingerger in partnership with Unity.
The course consists of 21 hours of video tutorials spread across 35-different sections. The material in this course will teach you how to build a 2D shooter game and a 3D first person controller game and, in doing so, will teach you C# concepts, how to create AI enemies, apply shaders, detect collisions, create player movements, and plenty more.
While this course does cost just $9.99 through Udemy, you can also get access to it if you sign up for Unity Learn’s premium service ($15/month).
Length: 35 Hours
Complete C# Unity Developer 2D: Learn to Code Making Games will not only provide an in-depth tutorial in Unity, but it will also teach you programming fundamentals and the basics of C#.
The course comes with 35-hours of video content and 27 downloadable resources spread across 10 different sections. The course doesn’t require any prior experience in other programming languages or in game development, so it is perfect for complete beginners.
Like many other Udemy courses, this course costs $9.99. It’s been taken by over 300,000 students and has received an average rating of 4.6 out 5 stars. You can also take the 3D version of this course (listed below) before or after completing this course.
Length: 34 Hours
If you’ve taken the course listed above (Complete C# Unity Developer 2D: Learn to Code Making Games) and you’re looking for a follow-up to that course, their Complete C# Unity Developer 3D: Learn to Code Making Games is worth taking as well.
The 3D course is the same concept as the 2D course, just with an emphasis on 3D game design instead of 2D game design. This course has been take by over 75,000 students and has received an average rating of 4.6 out of 5. Like most other Udemy courses, it only costs $9.99.
II. The Best Unity Tutorials on YouTube
If you’re more of an “on-your-own” type of learner, there’s a ton of Unity tutorials on YouTube that you can watch to help you learn the Unity engine. Also, Unity Learn (mentioned in the certifications/courses section above) is a great place to get step-by-step tutorials directly from Unity themselves.
1. How to make a Video Game (Brackeys)
2. Unity 3D & 2D Games Development Tutorial from Beginners (GameGeek)
3. How to learn Unity – Indie game development (Matthew Palaje)
4. How to get started with Unity3D – For Beginners (Unity3d College)
III. The Best Unity Books
If you’re looking for some books to pickup that will help you get started developing games in Unity, the options below will give you a good rundown of how to build games in Unity, and there’s also a book that will help you learn C#.
by Patrick Felicia
A good book to start learning Unity is Patrick Felicia’s Unity from Zero to Proficiency (Beginner): A Step-by-step guide to coding your first game. The book teaches the basics of C# programming and game development by walking you through how to build three games in Unity: a 3D survival game, a word-guessing game, and an infinite runner.
by Jared Halpern
If you’re looking for a book that will focus on building 2D games in Unity, you might want to start with Developing 2D Games with Unity: Independent Game Programming with C# by Jared Halpern or Mastering Unity 2D Game Development – Building Exceptional 2D Games with Unity listed below. However, neither of these books are good options for absolute beginners who have no experience in programming. So, if you’re looking for a more beginner-friendly option, you’ll want to look at either the first or fifth book mentioned, or check out one of the tutorials/courses listed above.
by Simon Jackson
Simon Jackson’s Mastering Unity 2D Game Development – Building Exceptional 2D Games with Unity is another option to pick up if you want to start building 2D games in Unity. The book does recommend having knowledge of C#. So, like the book above, it’s not for beginners. If you want to learn how to build a fully functional 2D game, though, this book will help you do so.
by Alan Thorn
A more advanced Unity book, Mastering Unity Scripting by Alan thorn will help programmers with prior experience in C# and Unity build better Unity games and develop a better understanding of the C# programming language. The book covers a wide-range of topics, including implementing AI for NPCs, optimizing your code, debugging and diagnostic techniques, and plenty more.
by Jamie Chan
While Learn C# in One Day and Learn It Well: C# for Beginners with Hands-on Project by Jamie Chan isn’t a Unity-specific course, it is a good option for absolute beginners as it teaches both the basics of computer programming and the C# programming language. The book is full of hands-on projects that will give you a real-world understanding of C#. Ultimately, if you want to get into building games in Unity, having some profiency in C# will be necessary. And, this book will help you gain that proficiency.
Unity is one of the most popular game development engines currently available. And, while some programming experience is helpful, even complete beginners can hop right into Unity and start building basic games. If you’re looking to learn Unity, in this guide, we’ve outlined a bunch of different resources that you can use to help you build your first game in the Unity game engine.