Effective Unity

I just wanted to make a game. Now I am overrun by technical bits and pieces and spend more time managing builds than doing actual work. unhappy game developer

Why building a real game is hard

So you’re building something really cool with Unity. And while your game comes together real nice, you notice the additional work that creeps in. Your testers want a fresh build but making it and sending it out takes an hour or so that you would like to spend elsewhere actually. Your boss/publisher is nagging you about the demo version that should have been ready days ago. Your artists have created a load of awesome new stuff but importing all of this into Unity is just another clickfest you’re not looking forward to. And that last code change you made really messed up something and you have no clue why. Welcome to game development hell.

And then the mistakes. We all have shipped a broken build. It’s just something that happens. You modified that one tiny setting for testing purposes and forgot to put it back. And of course murphy’s law kicks in and that tiny setting kills the next build you ship to your testers. Or the build is missing some new assets because you just didn’t find the time to incorporate them (or imported them with wrong settings).

Is there a way out of this?

Wouldn’t it be great if Unity could do some of the repetitive error prone work for you? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just click on a button and be confident that all settings are the done the correct way and your next build is working properly? Wouldn’t it be great if you could make code changes without the fear of breaking something? And wouldn’t it be super-awesome if you could make a new test build in seconds instead of hours and go relax instead of burning the midnight oil?

There is good news: you can fix it. The key to solve all these issues is automation. Having a good automation in your project takes away a lot of pain. You can make that test build with a single click and be sure it’s set up correctly. You can set up the importing of a thousand assets easily and correctly with proper automation. You can have your code automatically tested once you changed something. Also, having things automated saves you a lot of time, thus making you a lot more effective in creating your game.

There is even better news: Unity comes with everything you need to set up your automation. With a little bit of effort you can quickly build up some automation scripts that will help you out greatly in the future.

How do you do this, then?

Start by reading the first article to get a quick start into automating Unity. Then check the list of articles for advanced topics.