Building a world wonder in Unity

It’s estimated that Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza took 20 years and approximately 100,000 people to build. This week, I harnessed what remaining horsepower my 2011 MacBook Pro has left in it and loaded up Unity–a cross-platform 3D game design engine–to see if I could recreate Egypt’s famous pyramids.

After downloading the free standalone edition from Unity’s site, I was off and running. Having used tools such as Photoshop and Premiere, I found Unity’s interface to be very intuitive, though sometimes frustrating. The biggest challenge was wrapping my head around the 3D environment for simple adjustments. Moving elements around can be a little tricky sometimes, but some mental focus coupled with the X,Y, and Z axis controls quickly rights the situation.

I began my project by creating a simple desert floor with some disparate terrain. I grabbed some free elements from Unity’s Asset Store, specifically the Desert Sandbox Lite package. This kit features sandy textures and simple desert ruins, including the massively important pyramid figure. Through some creative placement and resizing, I was able to put together a rough 3D sketch of Giza’s sprawling complex. As a final touch, I added an epic Skybox to complement the desert tones. Voila.

Despite its tendency to crash on my particular computer (SAVE often!), I’m pretty impressed with Unity; it’s easy to see why so many applications are powered by its very capable 3D engine. My project took just a couple of hours to build. I wonder what I could do with 20 years.




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