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Official New e-book - Unity for technical artists: Key toolsets and workflows (21 LTS edition)

Discussion in 'General Graphics' started by eduardooriz, Oct 11, 2022.

  1. eduardooriz

    eduardooriz

    Unity Technologies

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    Hey everyone,

    The new e-book, Unity for technical artists: Key toolsets and workflows, is now available for download.

    >> Download the e-book<<



    This guide compiles detailed summaries of all Unity systems, features, and workflows for experienced technical artists. You can use it as both a source of inspiration and a reference for accessing more advanced creator content to expand your skill set or enrich your onboarding experience to Unity. Every section was reviewed with the Unity teams experienced or behind each topic area

    Here’s some examples of what you can find in the guide:
    • Working with assets: importing assets, roundtripping with DCC tools, and the Asset Database
    • Rendering pipeline and pathways: Universal Render Pipeline (URP) and the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP)
    • Global Illumination: Progressive, CPU, and GPU Lightmappers, as well as differences between Real-time GI, Ray-traced GI, and Enlighten
    • Worldbuilding: key workflows for grey-boxing levels with ProBuilder and Polybrush
    • Digital humans: a look into the creation of realistic characters from The Heretic and Enemies
    We hope that you enjoy this latest technical guide! For more advanced content, you can browse our recently published How-to hub, which gathers Unity e-books, instructional articles, documentation, and more, all in one place.



    As always, any suggestions, feedback, please share in the comments.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2022
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  2. strich

    strich

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    Hi Eduardo,
    Thanks for putting the time and effort into this ebook - I had a review of it and it looks like a good introduction into a wide variety of Unity systems.

    My feedback here is not on the content of the ebook, but on how it is presented - I really don't understand the logic behind putting all this effort into making Unity more accessible through this knowledge only to lock it away behind an unsearchable PDF file that's probably already gathering dust through lack of use. I understand that this stuff is now catalogued in the How-to Hub website, but again it'll never show up in a relevant google search which is where everyone starts. And surely the vast majority of developers utilize the Manual/API websites for understanding Unity systems.

    It just seems to me like such a colossal waste of time. I can tell you that I had a vague recollection that I read some great info on detailed performance optimization a long time ago that I could've really used just recently, but I couldn't find it. It wasn't until I saw the blog post on this that I realized that this information was not in the Unity Manual, or API, or even the URP Package documentation. It was in fact nestled deep in a PDF referenced on an old blog entry linking to somewhere in the how-to hub.

    I really wish there was a single source of truth for this stuff made available on the most accessible formats (IE not PDF).
     
  3. eduardooriz

    eduardooriz

    Unity Technologies

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    Hi, thanks for appreciating the work. We mostly focus on distributing the content to our existing community, through newsletters, social media, blog (searchable through SEO) but we plan to be discoverable in more places like a documentation page, these e-books get good view numbers, but they don't get to all Unity users for sure. I can imagine the frustration of not being able to remember where you saw the previous e-book on optimization :s.
    I'm checking with the team about SEO for those e-book landing pages. Hopefully by updating and releasing new ebooks, crosslinking to HUB pages and improving SEO and visibility everyone will be a bit more aware. Thanks for this feedback, we should keep making them as visible as possible.
     
  4. strich

    strich

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    Viewership must surely pale in comparison to the hits the manuals pages get, which is where most developers most dearly seek good deep information. For example, look how utterly desolate the URP Manual looks on optimisation. The ebook on optimisation or even some of the stuff in this new one far outstrips what's there, and yet it is in the most inaccessible format possible.

    I'm glad this is starting some discussion internally with your team, but unfortunately I really doubt some extra links will help. If all that great information was present on a Unity Manual website somewhere, and you'd exported and dressed it up into a PDF as part of some other form of getting it to users I'd understand. But currently the _only_ place to get the information is the PDF.

    As a further question: What happens when the information in these PDFs inevitably goes out of date? Do they get updated? Will you remove them from the How-To Hub when they start providing bad or wrong information?
     
  5. eduardooriz

    eduardooriz

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    Hi. We plan to keep the PDFs up to date (new release) with the latest LTS in cases where the content is dependant on the tech, like the URP book. There's also teams that have live games and might be using an older LTS version of Unity, so if they can still find the 20 or 21 LTS version of the ebook that might still be useful.

    For documentation, I think as long as the content is discoverable there it could work as a first step, the e-books are sometimes like a free "course on photography" while the documentation is the "manual of a particular camera version" that comes in the box. The e-book info might be useful but doesn't cover everything or follow the same format.
     
  6. strich

    strich

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    It is good to hear you plan to keep your eBooks up to date.

    I'm afraid to say that none of them will ever be very discoverable because Google doesn't index PDFs, and the majority of devs use the online manual website for daily driving. I suppose I'm primarily just sad that the manuals are so poor in information compared to some of these eBooks. You've done a good job with them and I'm sad for you that you're not really enriching the Unity dev community much with it. Simply taking the PDF and exporting it on to a web searchable article somewhere on unity.com would expose it to orders of magnitude more devs.

    Oh well. Hopefully this discussion will help me remember to try to dig out one of these eBooks in the future.
     
  7. eduardooriz

    eduardooriz

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    Hey @strich checked with the team, and we do index the landing pages of those ebooks, as well as the blogs introducing them, but I don't think the content inside the PDF might be unfortunately. I also checked and we are on track to have them indexed in the documentation portal. We will try to keep bringing more awareness around them, for example we also promote them on Youtube to the non-official community, example, or create videos like this one (listed when the ebook is live soon). Repurposing the content into a SEO friendly format is also something that we are doing here, similar to what you suggested, how-to pages.

    Your message is a good reminder about this, thanks a lot, we shouldn't stop the work in that front
     
    EagleG likes this.
  8. Noisecrime

    Noisecrime

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    I really like the e-books Unity are producing, whilst I agree they should not replace or substitute other resources, they do have a place and have read/browsed a few on mobile when I had limited online access.

    However there are a few problems.

    1. Appears to be no central resource that lists and provides links to download all the e-books.
    2. Frequently come across e-books and constantly asked to provide my email address to access
    I hate this, and frankly Unity should not be doing it! But what is worse is that it appears to;
    • ignore the fact I've already provided my email address previously.
    • ignore the fact I'm logged in with a Unity ID ( and hence already has my email address )
    • sometimes doesn't even support being logged in via Unity ID!
    e.g. https://resources.unity.com/games/sable-case-study

    Requests email, has no Unity ID sign-in support on the page, and I cannot even find where this page lives - none of the menus/sub-menus reference 'resources'. It also has the 'pre-register' link for UI toolkit e-book, which again asks for email address!

    I don't want to keep giving my email address as I no longer have much faith in Unity to not simply be adding it to a mailing list without double checking that it doesn't already exist, nor that I can remember which email address I've used in the past ( which is why it should be using Unity ID sign-in instead! ) so I really don't want to get a dozen of the same emails from Unity every time a new ebook or resource is released!

    It pains me to think that the hard work of Unity developers to author these ebooks is being squandered through predatory email collection practices and lack of discoverability, where it seems most books I discover by chance of being in a forum sub-channel like this.

    Whilst I'd like to see a dedicated e-book section in the learning, support or community menu of Unity.com, the fact that i've had to list 3 places they could possibly reside illustrates the poor organisation structure Unity has. So much so that i'd almost rather they were listed in my services dashboard instead, as at least then i'd know 100% where to look for them.
     
  9. eduardooriz

    eduardooriz

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    Hi. All valid points. Regarding that case study, it might have been part of a campaign and that's maybe where you found the form to register to get access to it. For the technical e-books. They are always hosted in the same landing page and don't have a registration form. You can get a list of all of them here: how-to (click on all e-books). We will soon have an e-book page in the Documentation portal, and possibly Learn. I shared your feedback about the form internally.
     
    Noisecrime likes this.
  10. Noisecrime

    Noisecrime

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    Thanks for the link and looking into this.

    Alas whilst trying to download some more ebooks the very first one I tried sent me to a full on registration page
    https://create.unity.com/optimize-mobile-game-eBook
    from
    https://blog.unity.com/technology/o...ips-on-profiling-memory-and-code-architecture

    However I realised afterwards that the page you linked to had a dedicated e-book section, but there is no shortcut ( that I could see on mobile/tablet) and you have to scroll a long way to reach it. Wouldn’t be surprised if most people miss it completely especially on mobile where you don’t have a constant scroll bar to show your progress down the page.

    The dedicated e-book section did thankfully take me to the pdf which could be downloaded without registering.

    So yeah, really needs someone to go through and sort out all the site links and create a proper page for these great resources.
     
    eduardooriz likes this.
  11. eduardooriz

    eduardooriz

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    Some ebooks were hosted initially using those landing pages "create.unity..." (they have the registration) then we moved into "resources.games..." (they don't need to have registration) example. Passing you feedback to the team and colleagues working on it. I have not tried the website from the phone, so thanks for spotting that!
     
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  12. Noisecrime

    Noisecrime

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    Thanks again - also sorry for dragging you into this, not sure if there is a more appropriate person I should be dumping this stuff on. Anyway this should be my last comment on the subject.

    So double checked and yeah the sub-menu/headers on that page simply do not appear on mobile/tablet devices.

    Finally may I suggest whomever is in charge of producing/editing the e-books look into making them align to publishing standards. By which I mean;
    • The pdf should include Title, Author, Subject and Keyword fields completed ( maybe others like publisher etc, not sure ). These details will then be used by book libraries to organise them ( e.g. Calibre E-Book Management, though I'd expect say Apple Books would work too ) . This means I could add these e-books to my library and easily find them, transfer to devices etc.
    • Split the books into series, based on readership, category etc. Whilst they are kind of split between Artists and Programmers, the books themselves don't really confirm to a unified title standard, or any standard really, some are under a banner of Unity for games, others Unity for Developers etc ( Important this is partly based to the web pages titles not being in sync with the book names ). Cover design is also inconsistent and doesn't seem to have any meaning denoted by the colours used. The HDRP 2020 listed book is still using its old generic title on its page and the e-book, but we now have a 2021 LTS edition too, plus i'd argue the title is overly long. Naming is a bit inconsistent too e.g. 'Introduction to URP for advanced users' - not sure why it bothers to have 'advanced users' as there isn't a beginners version and it would just read better as 'Introduction to URP'. So in summary I think an editor could go through all your available books ( and upcoming ones ) and restructure everything from name, cover design, putting them into series, consistent use of unity LTS editions etc.
    • Consider adding these books to official mobile stores, you could still harvest emails via the pre-release ones on the website, but getting them on official stores would be cool, useful, easier to discover, and would probably help enforce publishing standards.
    • Fix inconsistent file names. Mostly this is that half the books have replaced 'space' with 'minus' symbol whilst the others haven't.
    Regarding book titles, whilst having things like 'Ultimate' makes it sound cool its hard to find the 'profiling' book when looking at the file names of these download e-books as its not the first word. There are several 'optimize' books and i'd probably read those filenames first while trying to find 'profiling'. This wouldn't be so bad in a book library as I could search , but I do feel it highlights potential poor naming structure for the books.

    Regarding book series I would be tempted off the top of my head to have something like

    Best Practice
    • Style Guide for C-Sharp
    • Game Programming Patterns
    • Version Control & Project Organisation
    Definitive Guide to
    • Lighting in High Definition Render Pipeline - 2020 LTS Edition
    • Lighting in High Definition Render Pipeline - 2021 LTS Edition
    • Universal Render Pipeline - 2021 LTS Edition
    Technical Artists
    • Key Toolsets & Workflows ...
    Optimization
    • PC & Console Game Performance
    • Mobile Game Performance
    • Profiling Guide
    Case Studies
    • Sable: A Modular Design Approach

    Where all series share the same book cover layout, but each series has a specific cover colour or motif and each book has a unique image/illustration etc.

    I know all this sounds like a lot of work, but honestly to have developers invest the amount of time it takes to write these books, I think its only fair Unity do them justice and treat them more as a publisher would.

    Edit:

    These two links on that pge both go to the same e-book ( console version )
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2022
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