Mobile game design with Unity

70% of the top 1,000 mobile game studios power their games with Unity. Create stunning iOS and Android games with an engine that has you covered from preproduction to live operations, or LiveOps.

What is mobile game design?

Mobile game design is the process of concepting and prototyping games for Android or iOS. Players want experiences they can play over and over, with a steady cycle of updates to keep things fresh. Unity can help you make your mobile game and support your LiveOps efforts so players can enjoy your creation for years to come.

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Step one of mobile game design is picking a genre to define how players interact with your game. Then you take your idea and create a working prototype for testing and iteration. Some devs start with pen and paper, but eventually, your plans should start taking shape in a mobile game engine like Unity. 

It’s risky to spend too much time dreaming up features or working on art that won’t make it into the final product. Experiment with gameplay as soon as possible to identify your core gameplay loop.

Unity has many tools to help you start prototyping, even if you’re new to mobile game development. Use ProBuilder to design levels and visual scripting to create basic game logic without coding. The Unity Asset Store is invaluable for prototyping – pick up prebuilt 3D assets and code modules to jumpstart development, and get going.

Explore mobile solutions

Visuals are crucial for mobile game design – with so many titles out there, you need your graphics to stand out. Many developers use Unity to create beautiful 3D games, but 75% of top mobile games feature primarily 2D visuals, which offer solid performance on Android and iOS and translate well across devices.

Unity’s 2D tools let you define and create your mobile game’s aesthetic. Tackle everything from 2D animation, 2D lighting, 2D physics, pixel art, and more.

Looking to create higher-end visuals that don’t impact performance? The Universal Render Pipeline, or URP, is a scriptable render pipeline for creating stunning mobile graphics.

Explore the 2D tools

Ensuring your game is as performant as it is visually appealing is a key tenet of good mobile game design. If your game runs slowly, drains the battery, takes up too much memory, or crashes constantly, players will just delete it and move on. To keep players invested, you must optimize your game for mobile

Unity has many different profiling tools to help you keep performance issues to a minimum, including Device Simulator, Input System, Memory Analyzer, Profile Analyzer, the Universal Render Pipeline (URP), and more.

 

Optimize your mobile game

Creating games for mobile isn’t like designing for consoles. You have thousands of devices to consider, and you need to test on as many as you can to ensure you can deliver your game to the widest possible audience. Unity’s multiplatform capabilities can help you reach billions of players.

Unity simplifies multiplatform development. Unity’s package ecosystem lets you tailor the engine to your needs, and we offer a mobile-friendly render pipeline, URP, that allows you to create graphics that scale across many different devices. Give iOS and Android users the best possible experience without compromising your vision.

Successful mobile game studios consider advertising and monetization strategy early in the game design process, to make sure they are seamless, unobtrusive, and don’t stand in the way of the players’ enjoyment. Some develop premium mobile game apps requiring a one-time purchase, while others pursue a freemium model with in-app purchases.

Whatever avenue you choose, Unity can help you land on a monetization strategy that aligns with your vision and the desires of your growing player base. Services like Unity Ads, Unity In-App-Purchases, and Unity Economy can help make your game profitable so you can continue providing stellar content.

Learn about mobile ads

The games-as-a-service model is here to stay, and mobile platforms are leading the charge. Game development doesn’t stop at launch – for many mobile games, that’s where the journey begins.

More than just a game engine, Unity has a variety of products and services to help you run your LiveOps and make your game thrive. Looking to bring players together? Host and manage multiplayer sessions with Multiplayer services. Aiming for a secure experience? Manage player data and authentication with our backend tools. Seeking a better understanding of your audience? Unity Analytics can give you granular insight into their behavior so you know which knobs to tweak to keep them in the game.

See Unity Gaming Services

Mobile games designed and made with Unity

Crying Suns

See how Alt Shift used rapid prototyping in Unity to venture into the mobile games market, where they reached more than one million players.

Among Us

Learn how InnerSloth partnered with Unity to design, build, and manage a cross-platform mobile game with over 60 million daily active users.

Start designing your mobile game now

Kick off creation with a user-friendly mobile game engine, then deploy cross-platform and manage your mobile game’s post-launch lifecycle.

Frequently asked questions

How quickly can I design and build a mobile game?

This depends on the complexity of your creative vision. Unity tries to make the early prototyping and testing phases simpler with tools like ProBuilder for level design, Unity Visual Scripting for game logic, and the Unity Asset Store to get other art or premade game features you need.

How much does designing a mobile game cost?

We offer Unity Personal Edition, which is the easiest and cheapest way to start designing and building your mobile game right now, for free. All you need to do is sign up for a Unity Account, download the Unity Engine, and start creating.

How can I start learning more about designing a mobile game?

Unity Learn features thousands of tutorials and guides that you can use for free, right now. When you download the Unity Engine, you also get access to lots of free sample projects that will make it easier to begin learning with help from experts instead of starting from scratch.

What else does Unity offer for mobile game creators?

Unity is the number-one choice for mobile games, used by over 70% of the top 1,00 games. This is because we offer tools that support mobile game designers from concept to commercialization and more. Check out more of what we offer developers here.

I want to make a multiplayer game, can Unity help?

Yes, Unity has an entire suite of products and services that help game designers create and run their multiplayer and/or cross-play games. Check out Unity Gaming Services to learn more about what Unity offers for multiplayer, backend, analytics, and monetization solutions.

How should I choose what kind of game to make?

It can be hard to know what players will enjoy, or if they will like the kind of game you want to make. Unity creates an annual Unity Gaming Report to help game designers like you understand what’s happening in the games industry right now and how players are behaving, so that you can design and build a game they will really want to play.

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