Tools of the trade

Interested in learning about game development? Start with these top tools!

Game Engine

A game engine is the tool you use to create your game and make everything work together. I highly recommend Unity, especially for beginners:

  • Unity (free for personal use, cheap for commercial use)

Unity is a cross-platform game engine used by many games on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, as well as on Steam and consoles, including Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox. Unity’s modular tools help you produce and deliver highly engaging 2D or 3D games in a reasonable amount of time.

Code Editor

In addition to the game engine, you also need an editor to write your code in. Unity uses the C# programming language and is supported by the following code editors:

  • Visual Studio (free, great on Windows, but not so much on Mac)
  • VSCode (free, ideal if you are coming from a web development background, and/or are using a Mac)
  • Rider (paid, lots of features specifically for Unity developers)


If you want to create your own art assets, explore the below tools.

2D | Raster Graphics

2D | Vector Graphics

2D | Pixel Art

What Program to use for Pixel Art? (Paid and Free Software) by Brandon James Greer provides a great overview of both free and paid programs and web apps for creating pixel art. Here are some of the most popular ones:

3D | Modelling

NB: Looking for ready-made art assets to use in your own games? See the 2D Art assets section.

Task Management

A wise person once said that one hour of planning can save you three hours of coding. No matter how early you are in your game development journey, it is never too early to plan where you want to go!

  • Trello (free for personal use)

Courses & Tutorials

YouTube channels

YouTube offers a wide variety of great channels, tutorials and devlogs to learn Unity and game development. Here are some of my personal favorites:

  • BlackThornProd
    Unity tutorials, mostly aimed at beginners. Also devlogs.

  • Brackeys
    Unity tutorials, mostly aimed at beginners.

  • Sykoo
    Unity news and insights.

  • CodeMonkey
    Unity tutorials, mostly aimed at beginners to intermediates.

  • GamesPlusJames
    Unity tutorials, mostly aimed at beginners.

  • Awesome Tuts
    Unity tutorials, mostly aimed at beginners.

  • Infallible Code
    Focussed on C# programming, game architecture and the more technical aspects of developing games.

  • Jason Weimann (Unity 3D College)
    Focussed on C# programming, game architecture and the more technical aspects of developing games.

  • GameDevHQ
    Unity tutorials and indie game dev news.

  • Thomas Brush
    How to make real world games with Unity.

  • Dilmer Valecillos
    Focussed on VR, AR and the like with Unity.

  • VR with Andrew
    Focussed on VR with Unity.

Unity Learn

Unity Learn is a fairly new, official Unity platform that offers a wide variety of learning materials for Unity and C#.

Udemy courses

Udemy offers a wide variety of great courses to learn Unity and game development. The following are some of my personal favorites.

Ben Tristem & Rick Davidson (

Noa Calice (Blackthornprod)

James Doyle (GamesPlusJames)

Jonathan Weinberger (with Unity Technologies)

Tutorial series

If the above-mentioned paid Unity courses are too long or too expensive for you, YouTube offers a wide variety of shorter, free playlists to learn Unity and game development. Here are some of my personal favorites.

Make simple games from scratch

Beginner projects

Ideal beginner projects

Not sure what type of game to start with? Here are some great ideas for beginner projects:

  • Text adventure
  • Block breaker
  • Obstacle dodger
  • Endless runner
  • Flappy Bird
  • Shoot ‘em Up
  • Snake
  • Pong
  • Asteroids
  • Tic, Tac, Toe
  • Slot machine
  • Wheel of fortune
  • Pairs (Memory)

More advanced projects

Here are some ideas that are - not - great for beginner projects. It is better to start with something a little simpler, develop your understanding and gain a little experience first, before diving into these more advanced game projects:

  • Platformer
  • Action Adventure
  • RPG
  • Tower Defense
  • Racing Game
  • First Person Shooter

Art assets (2D)

There are a wide variety of great resources for 2D art assets. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Audio assets

There are a wide variety of great resources for audio assets, such as sounds effects and background music. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Social Media


Twitter is perfect for inspiration, motivation and indie game development news. Here is a list of some of the most important hashtags:

There also are hashtags for specific genres, e.g. #Shmup and #Platformer, as well as hashtags for specific technical aspects, e.g. #VFX, Chiptune and #PixelArt, and specific tools, e.g. #Aseprite and #Blender3D.

Pro tip: Consider creating a separate Twitter account dedicated to gamedev. On this account, only follow/like/retweet gamedev accounts and posts. This way, the Twitter algorithm will learn what you like - and soon your Twitter feed will contain nothing but sweet, sweet gamedev content!


You can also use Instagram. However, do note that in the indie game development community, Instagram is significantly less popular than Twitter.

Groups & Forums

Facebook groups

Many of the bigger YouTubers and online course creators offer their own Facebook Group that you can join for free. Great for meeting like-minded individuals! Here is a list of some of the Facebook Groups I discovered:

  • Game Development
    This is a group dedicated to the art of video game development. We encourage discussion of views on the industry and we are aiming to provide support for any questions people may have about the game development process.
  • Unity Game Developers International
    Promote your Unity-made games during the weekend.
  • Unity Developers
    Place where Unity Developers can share their work, place where Unity news are announced.
  • Indie Game Development Feedback (IGDF)
    Invite-only indie game development group based on actionable feedback. Game developers can learn from industry veterans and achieve greater success by gathering feedback from like-minded peers and supporting one another with honest feedback.
  • Unity Course Community (
    Discuss, share, ask questions! Anyone who is, or has been, a student of any online course is welcome in this group. Want to check out one of our other Unity courses? Includes members-only discount coupons for our courses.
  • Unity Jobs
    Are you a recruiter or the creator of a game and want people to join the development process? Let’s join! Are you looking for a game development job? Let’s join!
  • Marketing for Game Devs
    This is a place where game devs can post about any questions they may have when marketing their games. We will go over the tactics, and the techniques you should use when marketing your game, and I’ll provide tutorials for some of the more complex things.
  • The Debug Lounge
    The Debug Lounge is the official private facebook group for The Debug Log. It’s a place game devs can share experiences, help each other out, and have fun.
  • Unity3D.College
    Talk about game development.
  • Awesome Tuts Game Development Group
    Group for aspiring Game Developers. This is where we will share tips and tricks and help each other learn how to code and make games.
  • Unity3D Game Development
    Unity3d community to share progress of games developed in Unity strictly, indie games, asset store plugins, upcoming conferences, and meet ups. Game Development, Game Design, Level Design, Programming, Art for Games, and social gathering of game developers.


If you are looking for community and chats, there are many great discord servers out there. All you have to do is look!

Indie game development news


Twitter again is great for news, and there are many accounts dedicated to retweeting indie game development news, as well as individual creators.


Check out #ScreenshotSaturday on Twitter each Saturday for a ton of great, gamedev-related posts, pics and videos.

Best of #MadeWithUnity

GameDevHQ on YouTube offers a playlist called Best of #madewithunity. Every week, this is updated with impressive Unity creations, many found on Twitter.

Publishing your games

There are a number of great places where you can publish your first indie games. Some of the most popular sites for web and standalone games include:

Once you have gained experience, the possibilities for publishing your games are endless, including Google Play and Apple App Store for mobile, Steam and Epic Games Store for PC, as well as the developer programs for Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox.

Last updated: May 24, 2020