WordPress 101

Carleton’s WordPress installation is run through edublogs, so the most relevant information can be found on their Help and Support docs.  This platform is intended largely for primary and secondary teachers and students to use, so you may find it most helpful to go directly to the User Guide.

You can also check out the training series, although you won’t necessarily be able to access all the features through edublogs.

Make sure you are logged in, using the link in the Meta block at the bottom of every page, and then publish a new post for each assignment.

Unity 101

Unity 3D is a game engine that is widely used for indie game development and increasingly for academic 3D recreation and “serious gaming” projects, due to its wide support, relative ease of use and low cost (free!).  Unity has been used to create some impressive historical and archaeological reconstructions, and its ability to publish in various platforms from PC to the web make it highly desirable for project like these

Digital Pompeii: House of the Prince of Naples (requires Unity plugin)
Clifford’s Tower: 1263 AD

Getting Started

There are many resources for learning Unity on the web, but one problem is that many are out of date.  Unity 5 is the current version but many tutorials were made for Unity 4 or earlier versions and so not all of them will apply directly.

For that reason, I recommend reading through the basic manual first to give yourself a feel for the key features and components.

Unity Manual: The Basics

This document will walk you through how to download the software, activate the free version, create a Unity account, and set up a new project.  The rest of the tutorial takes you through the key components of the editor and game creation process, from adding assets to creating gameplay.  Skim forward through these to get the basic idea.

Getting your hands dirty

Once you have a grasp of the fundamentals, you are ready to dive in and get your hands dirty with some project learning.

For game development, most people recommend starting with the Roll a Ball game tutorial on the Unity learning page.  This will give you an understanding of the essential elements of a game, and how Unity works, but it uses basic geometry so is not a great introduction for historical recreation projects.

The best introduction I know for more academic development is this series of workflow tutorials from Geospatial Modeling and Visualization lab at the University of Arkansas on creating a virtual museum.  The standalone Walkable Unity Demo is particularly valuable for getting a project up and running quickly with imported assets built in other applications (though this was written for Unity 4 so won’t always line up exactly with Unity 5). You might also get some good ideas from this series of videos on creating a virtual museum, but be warned that they are also written for Unity 4.

Beyond these, there a number of additional resources on the web.  The Virtual Game Lab has a good list of Unity Resources, and there are also a lot of Unity courses on that go deep into the weeds of building complex game projects.