Our Favourite Game Dev Tools

Other than the array of Unity Plugins we use, there are a number of other libraries/tools that make our job a lot easier.

 

Links

The first is a little trick. Never put a direct web link in your game. If the location of the thing changes, you’ll have to update your game, which could take a couple of weeks to make it to the app store. Instead, link to a redirect on your own website, so then you can change the target at any time. This is particularly useful for “Rate Us” functionality, as you never want that to be broken.

TestFlight

Constant testing and feedback is critical to our iterative development process (more on that in another blog post). TestFlight enables you to send out iOS and Android builds, with analytics reporting back what your testers are doing. It also allows you to send out builds to press, which is good if you want to get some pre-release coverage.

FMOD Ex

The standard Unity sound support is pretty bad. For some reason they are using FMOD but not allowing sound designers to use FMOD Designer. We just decided to avoid the built in Unity sound system and create an FMOD Ex plugin. We then just loaded the sound data ourselves and BAM! Awesome generative audio with little programmer work! I’m told Firelight, the makers of FMOD, are going to release a Unity Plugin for the new FMOD Studio soon. We’ll definitely be using that for our next project.

Scoreoid/Parse

Before Google Play Game Services came along recently, there weren’t many good options for online leaderboards/achievements on Android. We tried a few options and settled on Scoreoid. It is uses an Open RESTful API and doesn’t include any frontend, so we had to create that ourselves. The good news is, once we got it working on Android, we can now use it on any platform without changing a single line of code!

We later swapped over to using Parse and their REST API, as Scoreoid wasn't as reliable as we would like. It required some backend Java programming, but we were already using Parse for our next game, Defect, so it wasn't too difficult.

App Annie

So you’ve finally released your game on iOS/Android. How do you find out its current ranking in the charts in each country? Or where it is currently being featured? App Annie has you covered. It also keeps track of sales if you hook up your iTunes Connect or Google Play account. Just don’t sit there all day looking at stats as they come in!

App store Reviews

Player feedback is really important for giving you direction on what needs improving. It also informs other players about the quality of your game. App store reviews are the easiest way for players to give you that feedback, so will probably constitute 99% of communication from them. Google Play is pretty good in this respect as you can actually reply to reviews, help people if they have issues and hopefully turn around some bad/mediocre reviews in the process.

Next time I’ll cover our development process and mention a little trick that can help avoid getting bad reviews.

  - Paul (@pbaker05)

Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years is available on iPod, iPhone, iPad and Android.