What engine should I use to make my iOS game?

February 11th, 2019

Filed under: Game Development

If you go to Reddit’s game development group, you will see lots of questions from people asking what engine they should use to make their game. Since Check Sim Games is about iOS game development, I figured I should answer this question for people who want to make iOS games.

There are two engines for making iOS games that stand above the rest: Unity and SpriteKit.

Unity

Unity is a very popular engine for making 2D and 3D games. Unity has a lot going for it. It’s free until you start making $100,000(US) a year with your games. Lots of people use Unity so there are numerous books, articles, and videos to help you learn how to use Unity. Unity also has a large asset store of tools, libraries, and artwork you can buy to speed up the development of your game.

Reasons to use Unity

  • You want your game to run on Android and other non-Apple platforms.
  • You want to make a 3D game. SpriteKit is for 2D games only.
  • You want to develop your game on a Windows computer.

The last reason deserves more explanation. You need access to a Mac to install your game on an iOS device and to upload your game to the App Store. But with Unity you can develop an iOS game on a Windows computer. Unity has a Unity Remote iOS app you can install from the App Store. With Unity Remote you can play a scene from your game on an iOS device without having to install the whole game on the device.

SpriteKit

SpriteKit is Apple’s framework for making 2D games. SpriteKit is not a standalone app. Use Xcode to make your game with SpriteKit.

In Xcode choose File > New > Project to create a new project for your game. Click either the iOS or Cross-platform button at the top of the New Project Assistant. Select the Game project template.

NewProjectiOSGame

Reasons to use SpriteKit

  • You don’t care about Android. SpriteKit games run only on iOS and other Apple platforms.
  • You want to program your game in Swift. Unity uses C# as its programming language.
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iOS Game Development Requirements

January 29th, 2019

Filed under: Game Development

People new to iOS game development want to know what’s required to make an iOS game. iOS game development has the following requirements:

  • An iOS device
  • An Apple developer account
  • Access to a Mac

If you have a Mac, an iOS device, and $99(US), you can develop and ship an iOS game.

iOS Device

You’re going to need an iOS device to test your game. It doesn’t matter much the type of iOS device: iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. All that matters is the device is capable of running your game. Any device capable of running iOS 9 would make a good test device.

Apple Developer Account

You need an Apple developer account to submit apps to the App Store. If you own an Apple device, you probably created an Apple ID to use the device. You can use that Apple ID to create a developer account.

Go to Apple developer’s site and click the Account link at the top of the page. Sign in with your Apple ID. If you don’t have an Apple ID, click the Create yours now link to create an Apple ID.

When you start developing your game, you can stick with a free developer account. To put your app on the App Store, you must join Apple’s developer program and pay the $99(US) annual fee. But you can wait until you’re close to finishing your game to join the developer program.

Access to a Mac

You don’t need a Mac to make an iOS game. You can make an iOS game with the Unity game engine on a Windows computer. But you need access to a Mac to submit your game to the App Store.

If you’re not sure what kind of Mac to buy, make sure you get one that is capable of running the latest version of macOS. Any Mac made in the past 3–5 years should be suitable to develop iOS games.

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Pivoting to iOS Game Development

January 28th, 2019

Filed under: Game Development

I’m shifting the focus of this site from selling my iOS games to the process of iOS game development. After doing some research I learned there are many people interested in developing iOS games, but there aren’t any websites dedicated to iOS game development. There are sites dedicated to game development, general iOS development, and Swift development but no sites for iOS game development.

Now there is a site dedicated to iOS game development, Check Sim Games. Be on the lookout in the near future for articles, tutorials, and tips on making iOS games. If things go well there may even be books on developing native iOS games.

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iOS Games I Like: Butts in Space

December 20th, 2018

Filed under: iOS Games

iTunes Listing

In Butts in Space you take the role of a butt floating around in outer space. The object of the game is to gather rolls of toilet paper while avoiding asteroids. You get one point for each second you play and 10 points for each roll of toilet paper. There are no levels in Butts in Space. You play until you run out of lives.

Butts in Space has the following powerups:

  • Underwear, which lets you destroy asteroids for a brief time and gives you 25 points for each asteroid you destroy.
  • Green Crystal, which shrinks you, making it easier to avoid asteroids.
  • Red Crystal, which enlarges you. Each roll of toilet paper you gather while enlarged is worth 25 points.
  • Cosmic Cloud, which provides a cosmic blast. Long press to unleash the cosmic blast, pushing the asteroids away. This is a good powerup to use when you find yourself surrounded by asteroids.
  • Space Blob, which gives you an extra life.

There are also wooden crates floating in space. A crate contains a random powerup. The randomness of the powerups makes each game a unique experience.

Butts in Space is free, but paying 99 cents unlocks all the characters, including the charming Hairy Butt, and gives you an extra life for each game.

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Getting Started with ProBuilder in Unity

May 8th, 2018

Filed under: Game Development

ProBuilder is a Unity asset that Unity bought and incorporated into the 2018 version of Unity. ProBuilder simplifies creating 3D levels. Unity’s instructions on installing ProBuilder are a little vague so I’m writing this post on how to get started with ProBuilder using Unity 2018.

Adding ProBuilder to Your Project

Start by creating a new project using the 3D template. ProBuilder works only with 3D projects.

After creating your project you must add ProBuilder to the project. Choose Window > Package Manager to open the package manager window. Click the All button in the top left portion of the window to show the available packages to install. Select ProBuilder from the list of packages.

UnityPackageManagerWindow

The right side of the window contains a description of the ProBuilder asset. Click the Install button to add ProBuilder to your project.

Using ProBuilder

To start using ProBuilder, open its window by choosing Tools > ProBuilder > ProBuilder Window.

ProBuilderWindow

The easiest way to start is to click the New Shape item in the ProBuilder window.

ProBuilderShapeToolWindow

Choose a shape from the Shape Selector menu. A plane is a good choice for your first shape. It lets you place the ground for a player character to walk on. Cubes are good for building walls.

When you choose a shape from the Shape Selector menu, the Shape Tool window provides controls to customize the shape. Most shapes have controls to set the size of the shape. Click the green Build button at the bottom of the Shape Tool window to add the shape to your scene.

Poly Shape Tool

If you want to create a shape that’s not in the Shape Selector menu, use ProBuilder’s Poly Shape tool. Click the New Poly Shape item in the ProBuilder menu.

The first step to creating a poly shape is to build the surface of the shape. Click inside the scene to create a vertex for the surface. Select a vertex and drag to change its position. Continue to click to create vertices, making sure to eventually connect them.

ProBuilderPolyShapeVerticesHighlighted

Once you connect the vertices, ProBuilder creates the surface. After ProBuilder creates the surface, move the mouse up or down to change the shape’s height.

ProBuilderPolyShapeSurface

Where to Learn More About ProBuilder

Go to Unity’s ProBuilder page to learn more about ProBuilder and watch video tutorials about it.

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