Creators – Covering the Basics


We’ve been busy the last two weeks covering the basics of Unity. Among the topics we’ve touched on are:

  • Customising the Unity layout
  • Explaining what the main Unity windows (Scene, Game, Hierarchy, Project and Inspector) are each for
  • Talked about 3D space and vectors and talked about the difference between local and global axes (child objects)
  • Shown how to place objects in the scene and how to position, rotate and scale them
  • Shown how to “fly” around the scene view
  • Explained how the physics engine works (Physics clock monitoring and moving rigidbodies and tracking collisions and other interactions)
  • Built a simple physics-based scene which had a ball fall, hit a ramp and roll into a bunch of stacked block
  • Wrote a script to have the camera follow the ball as it moves


Additionally Mike kindly filled in and talked about the basics of object oriented programming, classes and class diagrams. There is a post from last year that covers this well for those who’d like to read it.

Additionally, the basics of the C# language that we discussed are covered in both that post which we have already linked to above and another which can be found here. The topics we touched on were:

  • Curly braces as “containers” and the requirement that they occur in pairs.
  • How semicolons (;) mark the end of statements
  • Using directives and namespaces.
  • A basic class declaration
  • Properties, both public and private
  • Methods, both public and private
  • How Unity automatically calls certain methods at certain times, and some specific examples of this:
    • Start() called when we start the game
    • Update() called every time the scene is drawn


The up-to-date project file can be found here. Please note it will require Unity 4.5.1 or later.

Hackers – tips for safely using a 3D printer

We were very pleased this week to be able to let the first members of the Hackers group take home 3D printers for the week to experiment with them. We will continue to do this in the coming weeks.

Here are some guidelines on safely using a 3D printer, prepared again by Kevin from Boston Scientific:

3d-printer-operating-guidlines (PDF)

Next time, we will take a closer look at building models in a 3D modelling package.

Explorers – Building on our first game

Hi everyone,

Great to see you all there on Saturday. This weeks starting point was our game from last week. We wanted to add extra functionality. We added code to the Snowflake so that something happened when the Penguin touched it. Most people added some sound.


We also made our first variable. We did this so that we could keep track of our score. Using this score we also could add code to make something happen when you reached a certain score and win the game. Again here we added a sound and switched backgrounds.


We learned and used a lot of new code this week and we will see over the coming weeks how we can incorporate it into many different types of games.

Why don’t you try using all the code you have learned so far to create your own game.


See you all next week!

Here are the notes from todays session in PDF cda-s5-week_03-firstgame-part2.pdf

Hackers – Getting started with 3D printers


At the Hackers group, we started learning how to use 3D printers this week. 3D printers are a fantastic technology for turning 3D computer models into physical objects. They are also impressively inexpensive, with the Arduino-based Materia 101 printer that we are using costing about €600.

Thanks a million to Kevin Madden who joined the group to show us how to use 3D printers. Thanks also to his employer, Boston Scientific, who have loaned three 3D printers to us and are also covering the cost of the plastic “ink” used in them. Thanks also to Kevin’s colleague Cathal Egan of Boston Scientific, who initially offered the printers to us.

Here are Kevin’s notes on how to set up a 3D printer: 3d-printer-setup (PDF)

Here are the configuration files needed:

And here also is a diagram Kevin prepared, showing the 3D printing workflow:


At our next session, we will look at how to do some 3D modelling to create objects we can print. Should be fun!