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Unity is giving away hundreds of hours of premium tutorials because of the coronavirus

(Image credit: Team Cherry)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Unity is giving away three months of access to Unity Learn Premium, an enormous repository of high-quality tutorials and courses that will teach you everything from coding to game design and art. If you've always dreamed of making your own game and, like a lot of us, suddenly have too much free time on your hands, this is the perfect opportunity to get started.

If you're unfamiliar with Unity, it's easily the most popular game engine around—especially for small-scale indie developers making both 2D and 3D games. It's the engine that powers Hollow Knight, Escape From Tarkov, Cuphead, and dozens of other big hits. But, like any professional engine, it can be daunting to learn.

That's where Unity Learn is a huge help. It's a website run by Unity Technologies that offers hundreds of hours of professionally made video tutorials that dive into every facet of game development. Most of these lessons are normally locked behind Premium, an extra subscription, but Unity Technologies is now giving the whole thing away for free for three months because of the coronavirus epidemic. The offer lasts until June 20 and all you need to do is register a free account to access it (which you have to do anyway if you want to download Unity), then you can start learning and building your own games.

As part of this deal, Unity is also giving away free access to Create with Code, interactive live lessons that happen daily at 9 am PT or 5 pm PT. It's basically like taking a college course in game development, with live instruction that walks you through your very first game. If you can't attend lessons live (the course started yesterday), you can play catch-up on old courses too.

I absolutely encourage anyone who is interested to give this a shot. I started learning game development last summer using Unity and it's been a very satisfying (and challenging) hobby. Though Unity is far from perfect, it's a good engine for beginners thanks to its comprehensive documentation and relatively accessible workflow, and it's pretty much free—which is a big draw over other beginner-friendly engines like GameMaker Studio 2.

If you do decide to take the plunge, knowing where to begin can be tricky. Getting Started With Unity is the best place to begin, and from there you can try beginner courses for both 2D and 3D that I'd recommend, and Beginner Scripting is a must. Learning C# might seem like a daunting task, but programming is fun and without it you'll be pretty limited in what you can achieve in Unity. For a more comprehensive course on programming, this Survival Guide is a good place to start. From there you can branch out to more specific topics based on your interests.

If all that just isn't your cup of tea, then I'd highly recommend buying Udemys' Complete C# Unity Developer 2D or Complete C# Unity Developer 3D. I first started out using the 2D course and it's by far the most intuitive Unity tutorial I've seen and it taught me everything I needed to start making my own games. It's a lot of fun, too. Just be sure to buy it through one of Udemy's deeply discounted sales rather than at full price.

Unity Learn Premium is available for free until June 20.

Steven enjoys nothing more than a long grind, which is precisely why his specialty is on investigative feature reporting on China's PC games scene, weird stories that upset his parents, and MMOs. He's Canadian but can't ice skate. Embarrassing.