Those who know me personally have heard that Cengage contacted me looking for someone to help update a book on Unity. Since I’ve worked with Unity a bit, I offered to take the job.
The book is done. I got a big box of copies. It looks amazing.
Updating the book was a great experience.
I’ve helped with layouts and technical editing on some family history books in the past, but I haven’t done much with a game programming book. I’ve spent a few thousand hours helping people at gamedev.net ranging from beginners to experts. I’ve helped out in university environments tutoring and teaching. I even finished a senior thesis. But this was by far the biggest writing project I’ve completed.
One of the strange things is knowing the book was outdated before it went out to print. Unity is continuously updated. One of those updates caused some problems while updating since I had already taken screenshots and written up the new functionality. The changes meant the screen shots no longer applied and I needed to revise the chapter a second time. Fortunately I don’t need to do that again. With Unity 5 on the horizon I’m happy to know any future revision would be an entirely new work.
I thanked them in the book, but they really deserve more praise than that. The editors swarmed on the book. Their changes and recommendations came fast and furious. One of the fun ones was the repeated request to turn “GameObject” into two words, “game object”. I feel rather strongly that when using the name of a class, or any nominative use for any product, you should leave it. One editor expressed some frustration when names didn’t use American English. Some elements use one style (e.g. “color”) others do not (e.g. “behaviour”). I felt bad for the editors on some of those.
I’m pretty sure the code samples even survived the editing process. They knew to only modify the comments within the code rather than the “business end” of the source, but they made me realize just how sloppy code comments could be. “Can we make this sentence case?” “Changing wording on comment slightly.” “Adding periods to the end of all of these comments.” Those were fun.
Again, THANK YOU to everybody on the Cengage team, including all those people I never met who printed, bound, boxed, shipped, marketed, and otherwise helped to build it.