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Building Flappy Bird #1 – Unity Intro

Building Flappy Bird in Unity

Unity is a great engine, but like all game engines it has a little learning curve.  This tutorial is designed to take you through the entire process of building a 2D game in Unity that will run on the web, pc/mac, and mobile.  By the time you complete this project, you’ll understand:

  • The different areas of the Unity editor
  • Importing Art
  • Using the Physics system
  • Handling Input
  • Writing a little code (even if you’ve never written code before)

Let’s get started!

Importing the Art Package

In the editor, click Assets, Import Package, Custom Package

Importing a Unity Package

Select Assets->Import Package->Custom Package…

Browse to the Art assets package.  If you don’t have it, you can download it by clicking here.

Import package file list shows of all the files in the package

Import Package File List

You’ll be presented with a file list dialog.  This dialog allows you to select which files in the package you want to import.  By default, all files will be selected.

For now, click “Import”.

Next, focus your attention on the Hierarchy section of the editor.  It should be in the top left corner and contain a single GameObject named “Main Camera”

Hierarchy With Main Camera

Hierarchy With Main Camera

Select the Main Camera by clicking on it.

Hierarchy With Main Camera-Selected

Hierarchy With Main Camera-Selected

Selected GameObjects in your Hierarchy will show blue.  You can select any number of GameObjects at the same time.  For now though, we only have one available to us, so let’s look over to the other side.

Inspector View of "MainCamera"

Inspector View of “MainCamera”

On the right we have the Inspector area.  Here you can see or inspect details about your selected GameObjects.  Notice that the inspector shows 5 components because we’ve selected the default camera object Unity creates for us.   The 2 components you care about today are the Transform and the Camera.


EVERY GameObject in Unity has a Transform.  The transform controls the objects Position, Rotation, and Scale.

  • Position - The location of the object in the world or relative to it's parent.
  • Rotation - The direction the object is facing.
  • Scale - The size of the object.


This component allows our game to render.  This is the area we want to modify now.

First, try adjusting the “Background” value and notice how the background changes in the Game View (located in the center) or the Camera Preview.

To change the background, just click on the area showing the current color in the inspector.  The default is blue.

Color Picker

Color Picker

Once you’ve found a water color you like, you need to make sure the Camera Perspective is set to Orthographic.  (It should be by default, but we need to make sure)

Project View

It’s time to put something in our game.  Look to the bottom of your editor where you’ll see the Project area.

Project View

Project View

Browse to the art folder and select the Fish

Project View - Art Folder

Project View – Art Folder

Drag the Fish to the Hierarchy.

You should see the fish in your Hierarchy and in your Scene or Game View.

You can toggle between the 2 views using the tabs, or drag them out to separate them

Scene View Fish

Scene View Fish

Game View Fish

Game View Fish

Play Mode

Now, I want you to hit the Play button and watch what happens!

Game Play Button

Game Play Button

If you’ve followed along so far, nothing should have happened.  The Game View will automatically focus, but nothing should be moving.

Let’s make something happen…

With the Fish selected, hop over to the Inspector.

Click the big Add Component button.

Start typing and find the RigidBody2D.

You can alternatively browse to it under Physics2D.


Inspector Add Component

Inspector Add Component

The RigidBody2D component will make our GameObject (the Fish in this instance) interact with the games physics system.  One of those interactions is gravity…

Inspector RigidBody2D

Inspector RigidBody2D

Let’s Play

First, I want you to think for a second.  When you hit “Play” what do you expect will happen?  Say it to yourself, then hit the button and see if you’re right.

If you thought the fish would fall, great.  If not, don’t worry about it.  Because our fish has a RigidBody, it uses gravity (unless Gravity Scale is set to 0).  If there are no other forces acting on the object, the RigidBody will make it fall straight down.

In Part 2, we’ll start handling input and adding some additional force to keep the fish from falling away.

Continue To: Part 2 – Let’s Code!


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