In addition to being an excellent platform for building 2D games, Unity is also great for creating 3D content. Unity was designed as a 3D engine long before its 2D features came on the scene, and as such, Unity’s features were first built for 3D games.
In this chapter, you’ll learn how to use Unity to build Rockfall, a 3D space-simulator game. This style of game was originally popular in the mid-1990s, when games like Star Wars: X-Wing (1993) and Descent: Freespace (1998) gave players the freedom to fly around in open space, shooting at bad guys and blowing space up. These kinds of games are closely related to flight simulators, but because they’re not expected to be realistic implementations of flight physics, game developers can get away with more fun-oriented mechanics.
That’s not to say that arcade-style flight simulators don’t exist, but it’s more common to find an arcade-style spaceflight simulator than a realistic one. The biggest exception, in recent years, has been Kerbal Space Program, which is so realistic in its spaceflight physics simulation that it’s about as far removed from the type of game covered in this chapter as you can get. If you really want to learn about orbital mechanics, and what happens when you thrust prograde at the apoapsis, this is the kind of game for you.
It’s therefore fairly reasonable to say that the term “space simulator,” though more common for the type of game in this chapter, might be better off ...