It seems like a question that pops up on a near-daily basis on our forums is "How do I get started to make my own game?" Well, if my Twitter feed is any indication, iOS developers can't get enough of Unity and, as this video illustrates, you can have a totally functional prototype of a basic game using the Unity development environment in under an hour:

What's even cooler, is that all the tools shown in the video are totally free to download, and there's even a fully-functional 30 day trial of the "pro" licenses. You don't even need to know how to build 3D models, as the Unity Asset Store has tons available, both for free and for reasonably cheap licensing fees.

If game development is something you're interested in, but don't really know where to start, give this video a watch. A lot of stuff might initially go over your head, but that's OK, there's no shortage of Unity tutorials online and you really can't go wrong with all the software being free-- The only cost to you is your time, and really, if you're learning something, that's not much of a "cost" at all.

[@infinite_ammo via @rje]

  • Paul

    Unity is cool and I'm glad you guys are covering it. Just curious ... why don't you also cover Corona SDK for 2D development?

    • StephenD

      There's actually a couple cool sdks out there for 2d development using Unity. One is ex-dev, and there's another one that is free... but the name escapes me at the moment.

    • Eli Hodapp

      Mostly because developers are using Unity right now to make some incredibly cool games, and it's amazing how the same engine that's used to make "next-gen" games like Shadowgun can be downloaded for free and used by total amateurs with surprisingly good results. I can't really think of a Corona SDK game that has ever blown my hair back.

      • Paul

        I see your point Eli. I do like that you have reviewed games created with Corona SDK though. Regarding the discussion below, I agree that while these tools are great, they're no substitute for good design, a lot of attention to detail, and some hard work. 

        Thanks for the response.

  • StephenD

    Yea! Why don't you cover Cocos2d, or GameSalad, or all the other game engines out there?

    OOOOH, that's right. You are a game reviewing website... not an iOS developer tips website.

  • Adams Immersive

    Unity is an amazing system. I prototyped my game in about 2 weeks, including the 3D modeling, texture art and sounds, which is pretty good considering it was already built in a 2D engine and I wasn’t going to compromise by doing only what was “easiest” in Unity—I simply wanted to re-create the concept in 3D. Great result, and most of it was working early into week one. Now, if only I could make time to build all the levels and polish it up...

  • Scott Lembcke

    Uh, prototyping a game in 40 minutes is easy if you don't care how polished the end result is. Considering that they the game they made had a floor and a couple of bowling pins that you threw a ball at... color me not impressed.

    Now add in the old addage that the first 90% of the work is easy. It's the second 90% where it really gets hard. The final 90% is even harder! I other words it's easy to prototype a crummy version of a game in an hour, weekend, (whatever) but by the time you add all the final art, polish, sounds, menu screens, social integration, etc, etc, etc that people expect from a game you've spent way way longer. There is no silver bullet!

    • Aer2

      tell that to the 99% of the app developers out there that release stuff that's supposed to pass as a 'game' every day.

      • Anonymous

        Even the crappiest game probably took hundreds of man hours of work.

    • Paul Johnson

      You know one day, you had to write your own file loaders?..... :rolleyes:

    • Alec Holowka

      I think it goes without saying that hours and hours of polish are necessary to create a finished, sellable product. This demonstration was for parents, kids and non-developers who were curious about "how to make games" in general. They're looking for a place to get started.

      But regardless, it is still faster to prototype and polish things in Unity. If you happened to watch the whole video, you probably got the point about how variables are exposed to the Unity editor. In terms of refining gameplay, being able to really quickly adjust values makes a huge difference. The nature of how you can see exactly what you're getting also saves lots of time in that department. 🙂

    • Ryan Malm

      Your argument is nonsense. A prototype != a finished game. Polish isn't even part of the goal here.  This was a demonstration for non-developers, not an attempt to sell Unity as a 'silver bullet'.  Nothing was misrepresented, and you don't have to be impressed.

    • Anonymous

      It's called the 80/20 rule. The last 20% takes 80% of your time.

    • Bastien Merindol

      That's what the word prototype means.

  • Tom - mooedia

    Im sure I will get round to creating an app someday. One of my (many) plans 🙂 Its good to see so many different kits to help create apps out there.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is a little disingenuous. Sure, if you've got the game mechanic and graphic assets all ready and you pretty much know what code you are going to write you can write a demo in a few hours, but a real game takes months no matter how clever the SDK. A huge part of writting a game is not the game editor which allows you to design levels. This is often a much more complex program than the game itself. And then there's the designing of the levels. Even 99c apps often have 100s of levels which must take several hours each to prepare and test.

    I think programming in Unity (or rivals Corona) is much faster than in native objective C but you're still looking at 10,000 lines of code for a game + editor and thousands of graphics files. This does not take 40 minutes.

    • Alec Holowka

      Hello. 🙂

      Not sure if you were watching the video very closely, but as I explained Unity is also an editor. You can design levels by using Unity without having to write any extra code. In some cases it can be helpful to write editor scripts to make certain game-specific level editing tasks easier. But you DON'T have to write your own level editor from scratch, and you certainly don't have to write anywhere near as much code as you used to.

  • Evan Villemez

    I don't get the negative comments about this video.

    He's not describing how to make a AAA title in 40 minutes.  He's giving an overview of "core concepts" related to game development.  He's addressing the crowd that might have an idea for a game, but has no idea what an "IDE" is or what "FPS" (frames per second, not first person shooter) means.  He's simply showing what the different pieces are to making a game, and how they come together to create something usable.  That makes perfect sense to show in 40 minutes, so he did.  He's addressing people who have likely never written a line of code, which you can tell by the fact that he assumes the scripts he is writing will be confusing for the audience.  What he's doing is facilitating the "Ahah!  So THAT's how code makes things happen in the game world!" moment, which the audience clearly hasn't had yet.  But he's saving you the hours you would spend floundering around helplessly if you had never done anything like this before.

    And yes, you can prototype gameplay in 40 minutes if you have a clear idea of what you want.  I did this recently, in fact.  I was working on a space sim... my question was whether or not to use the physics engine for controlling the ship, or manually move the ship, and ignore physics, or only activate it under certain collision conditions... I won't go into the details, it's long.  I don't have any ships, I don't have any astroids, I don't have any textures... and I suck with art, and it would take me hours upon hours to scratch the surface of just beginning to make these things.  So, I went on to the Asset Store, found a ship, found some astroids, and took some textures from other free demos.  I threw it all into one project - and wrote the code for 2 different control schemes.  Was it a triple AAA title?  No, that wasn't the point - I got a prototype for 2 versions of what I wanted to test in about an hour, and got a concrete answer to my question which helped me move on to and solve other design issues.

    Yes, if you are serious about game development you are going to spend countless hours on what are seemingly minute details.  If, however, you are just entering the world of game development and are utterly lost on where to start - this is a brilliant video.

    Take it for what it is.  If you're a pro, move on.  If you are just starting, watch it 5 more times, then download Unity and visit and work through the little 5 minute tutorials.  It may seem childish, but you'd be surprised how quickly you can learn something useful and make functioning prototypes, starting from knowing absolutely nothing.

    And, if at the end of the day you decide you don't want to use Unity, or it doesn't do what you want to do - that's fine.  You can ditch it and use some other engine, but you will have learned a core set of concepts about game development in general.

  • Sealatis

    I liked it probably going to check it out later , but i kinda love being swallowed by lines lines of code >,<