How to Make Flappy Bird with Online Leaderboards

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Johannes Fornaeus45 min read
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Table of Contents

Introduction: FlappyLoot

Let’s make a Flappy Bird game with Unity and LootLocker. We’ll call it… FlappyLoot.

Why Flappy Bird?

Creating a simple physics game is great practice. And they don’t come any simpler than Flappy Bird. So we can run through creating, polishing and adding features to the game, without spending hours and hours on the core gameplay loop.

Also, the original Flappy Bird was missing one thing that we think would’ve made it much more fun: leaderboards. So we’ll run through the process of adding leaderboards to pretty much any game.

If you’re new to LootLocker, this will be good practice for creating leaderboards. And if you’re just checking out LootLocker to decide if it’s right for you, this will show you just how quick and simple it is to use.

What you’ll need to get started

To follow this guide, you’ll need to know the basics of programming in Unity and C#. We’re using Unity 2021.2.7f1, but you should be fine using any similar version.

If you need any help with using Unity, go to: https://learn.unity.com/.

It’ll also help to know what it’s like to play Flappy Bird. You can play our finished version of this game on Itch.io. Foo

And you can also download this project’s full source code from Github. Foo

Bird goes up, bird goes down: the rules of Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird is an extremely simple game that went viral in 2013. I works like this:

  • You control a bird as the screen scrolls from left to right. The aim is to guide your flappy bird through the gaps in the pipes.
  • If you hit a pipe or the ground, you lose. You then have the option to start again from the beginning.
  • You hit the button (spacebar, touch the screen, etc.) to make your bird fly up. When you’re not hitting the button, your bird falls.
  • Your score goes up by one for every pipe you successfully pass.

We’ll put all these features into our game, but with an online leaderboard too.

Let’s get started.

1.1 Setting up

Creating a project

  1. Open Unity Hub.
  2. Click New Project in the top-right corner:
  3. Select the 2D Core template and give your project a name (we’re going with FlappyLoot):
  4. Click Create Project in the bottom-right corner:

Setting up the camera

We now have an empty Unity Project. Let’s tinker with the settings so it looks a bit nicer.

We’ll start by changing the background color to something a bit more fitting.

  1. Select the Main Camera.
  2. Click background and select the color you want your sky to be. We went with this color(#5FC5CB), but you can choose any. You could go for a cloudy sky, dystopian sky or an otherworldly sky.

Adding a character (meet Hector)

There’s nothing to say your character has to be a bird. You could have a bee, a dragonfly or even a person with a jetpack.

We’re going to use a bird though – namely Hector, the bird in our LootLocker logo. We think he’ll enjoy the exercise.

Feel free to use our images for your project, or create your own if you prefer:

Foo

  1. Drag and drop the downloaded package into Unity and click Import when prompted.
  2. Create a new GameObject and name it Bird:
  3. Drag and drop the images from the Bird folder in the project to the Bird GameObject.
  4. The sprite order will be wrong to start with. Change the Order in layer of the different sprites like this:
    1. Body: 0
    2. Eye: 1
    3. Lower beak: -2
    4. Upper Beak: -1
    5. Wing: 2
  5. The Orthographic size of the camera is big, which makes our bird appear small on the screen.
    1. Select the Camera in the Hierarchy window
    2. Change orthographic size to 3:

Quick test: Your game view should now show only your background color, with Hector chilling motionless in the foreground:

1.2 Adding physics

Adding gravity

Let’s give Hector some movement.

  1. Select the Bird Game Object in the Hierarchy
  2. Click Add Component
  3. Write ‘RigidBody2D’ and click Enter:
  4. Add a Polygon Collider in the same way:
  5. Edit the collider shape to something roughly matching Hector’s outline:

Quick test: Press play and Hector should fall down.

Making Hector fly

First we’ll give Hector the ability to flap by himself on the start screen. Then we’ll put that function into practice in the game itself.

  1. Select the bird in the Hierarchy
  2. Click Add Component and Add a new C# Script called BirdController.
  3. Open up the script in your preferred code editor and insert this code:

In Update() check if the bird's position is below the y-position 0 (the middle of the screen). If so, set the bird’s velocity to the jumpAmount.

In case you were wondering: Setting the velocity directly, rather than using AddForce, gives us more control and a more arcade-like feeling. Using AddForce would just add the force to the bird. This would mean that if Hector’s falling very fast, the jumpAmount won’t be the same.

Quick test: Press play and you should see hector bouncing. He should bounce higher when you hit spacebar:

Adding pipes

Hector needs some pipes to navigate through. We need the pipes to behave like this:

  1. Spawn on the right side of the screen
  2. Choose a random vertical position
  3. Continuously move to the left
  4. When disappearing from the left side of the screen, reappear on the outside of the right side of the screen
  5. Repeat

Let’s create the pipe object first.

  1. Create a new GameObject and name it Pipe (Right click in Hierarchy -> Create Empty)
  2. Add the Pipe Sprite to the game object:
  3. Drag this object into the project tab and make it into a Prefab:
  4. Remove (delete) the pipe prefab from the scene: Now we’ll add the class that’ll take care of the pipe’s movement.
  5. Add a new GameObject named PipeController. Then add a new C# script to it named PipeController.cs:
  6. Insert this code into the newly created script:

In case you were wondering: This code creates a pipe object, containing two pipe prefabs. It’ll then move all those pipes along the x-axis. When they reach the end of the screen, the pipes reset their positions and get a new random Y value.

Now, we’ll configure the settings in Unity to make the pipes work how we want them to.

Setting the pipes’ behavior

  1. Drag the reference to our pipe prefab from the project hierarchy:
  2. Enter the Pipe prefab. Add a box collider and scale it to fit the Pipe. This will give our bird something to collide with:

Quick test: Hit play and you should now have something that’s starting to look a lot like Flappy Bird.

Setting up the GameController

At the moment, the game’s playing by itself. (Well, it’s not really a game yet, but let’s call it one for simplicity's sake). We need the game to behave differently in different states:

  • Menu state: Wait at the menu until the player presses spacebar
  • Countdown state: Show a countdown
  • Playing state: Let the player control the bird
  • Dead state: Stop when the bird hits a pipe (or the ground, but we’ll get to that later)

So we need to create a GameController class that’ll handle this for us.

  1. Create a new Object in the scene and name it GameController:
  2. Add a script called GameController to it:
  3. Now we add this code to handle the different states of our game:
  4. For our BirdController script to reflect these new changes, we also need to change the behavior in Update().
  5. We need to apply this new state behavior to the pipes too. Otherwise we’ll get pipes on the menu screen, for example. So let’s update the PipeController:
    Now we’ve added this code, we need to add the info text we’ll use in our GameController.
  6. Go back to Unity and add a new Text - TextMeshPro component. Click Import TMPro Essentials when prompted:
  7. Make it a bit bigger, so our text will fit in properly (‘T’, +Alt to resize from pivot center):
  8. Set up the text component settings like this:
    1. Remove the placeholder text
    2. Make the text bold
    3. Align it Center and Middle:
  9. Feel free to play around with the settings to fit whatever style you want. For example, we changed Dilate and added an outline to the Material to make the font more fitting to our style:
  10. Drag the reference to our new Text to the Game Controller:

Quick test: Press play and you should now get a countdown. When the countdown says ‘GO!’, the pipes will start spawning and you’ll have control of your bird.

Completing the game flow

‘Game flow’ is how we describe the whole ‘outer loop’ of a game. It’s the level above the gameplay loop itself.

In what order do we present things to the player? Writing these down in steps usually makes it easier to see what features we’re still missing.

We want our game to flow like this:

  1. Game starts at the menu screen
  2. Player presses spacebar
  3. Player plays the game
  4. Bird hits a pipe
  5. Bird dies
  6. Press spacebar to reset to main menu
  7. Go back to step one

With these steps, we can easily see what we need to add:

  • An extra state, so pressing spacebar takes you back to the menu
  • Something to stop the game when the bird hits a pipe
  • A way of resetting everything when we go back to the menu

So let’s get started on that now.

  1. In GameController, add an additional GameState called dying:

    In case you were wondering: We do this because when the player dies, they might press the spacebar too fast and jolt immediately back to the menu screen. So we need some buffer time before the player can press the spacebar again. This will give us time to include a death animation.
  2. Still in GameController.cs, add a new public IEnumerator called DeathRoutine(). This will handle what happens when the bird collides with something:
  3. Update the SwitchGameStateFunction to start this Coroutine when we switch to that state:
  4. Switch to BirdController.cs and add a function to reset the Bird’s velocity and starting position:
  5. The bird can only collide with one thing: pipes. So we don’t need to check for collisions with anything else. Add this function to BirdController.cs:
  6. We need the bird to bump up against the top of the screen, and die if it hits the bottom of the screen. So add this check in FixedUpdate() in BirdController.cs:
  7. We also need the pipes to reset when we go back to the menu. So in PipeController.cs we add a function for that:
  8. Now we need to call these reset functions when we go back to the menu. In GameController, let’s make it so pressing spacebar in the Dead state takes us back to the menu:
  9. Then let’s add references to BirdController and PipeController in the top part of the script:
  10. Next, we reset the bird and pipes’ positions when we switch to the Menu state:
  11. Finally, go back to Unity and set up the references for GameController(BirdController and PipeController):

Quick test: Press play in Unity and you should have a complete game flow – you can hit the pipes, die and restart.

Displaying the score

We now have a playable game. But we have nothing to quantify how well we’re playing it. For that we need a scoring system. So we’ll:

  • give the player one point for each pipe they pass
  • show the score both during the game and on the ‘game over’ screen
  1. Add an integer together with a ‘get and set’ function. And a Text component for the score in GameController:
  2. The pipes check the score and the bird will always stay in the same x position. So we’ll check if the pipe's X-value is smaller than 0, then increase the score.
    But first, we need to make sure a pipe can’t give a score more than once. In the Pipe class, let’s add a bool to fix that:
  3. We’ll need to reset this bool when we reset the pipes:
  4. Now, in the PipeController class, we give the player score (and then set the canGiveScore to false) in MovePipes():
  5. We want to display the score as soon as the player starts the game. So we need to reset the score when we switch to the menu and set the score to 0 when we start playing:
  6. Go back to Unity and add a Text to display our score. To do this, you can just copying (Ctrl/Command+D) the existing Text and move it to the top of the screen:
  7. Let’s also rename our texts so we don’t mix them up:
  8. And finally, drag the score text to the Score Text field in our GameController:

Quick test: When you play the game, you should now see your score at the top of the screen.

1.3 A quick break to animate our bird

It’s nice sometimes to take a break from adding new features – and spend some time on the little visual flourishes.

So let’s quickly do two things to make our bird feel more alive:

  • Rotate the bird, based on its y-velocity
  • Animate the bird’s wings as it flaps

Ro-Ro-tate your owl!

This is pretty simple: we just read the Y velocity and angle our bird based on that value.

Physics uses FixedUpdate() instead of Update(). By using FixedUpdate() we know the physics engine will be done when we set the rotation there.

  1. We want the rotation to be smooth, not instant. Open up BirdController.cs and set up variables to handle that:
  2. Still in BirdController.cs, add a function to handle the rotation:
  3. Then we call it from FixedUpdate() while we’re in any one of three game states: Menu, Countdown and Playing. Obviously we don’t want the bird to rotate with velocity after it’s died – in the Dead state, we want it to rotate with its own physics instead:

Quick test: Press play and see how much more alive your bird looks with this one little tweak.

Making our flappy bird flap

You might’ve expected this to be task one of the guide. But no, Hector’s been literally unflappable thus far.

Luckily, this is quick and easy to fix with a coroutine.

  1. In BirdController.cs, add
    1. a reference to the bird’s wings
    2. an animation curve
    3. a duration:
  2. Then we add a Coroutine to rotate the wings:
  3. We then call this from the Flap() method:
  4. Go back to Unity and click the Flap Curve field on the Bird Controller:
  5. Now we just have to draw the curve. This is the one we used: You can draw something similar or use our curve if you want:
    [Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V on the Flap Curve field]

In case you were wondering: On our curve, we go down quite a bit before we go up to 1. We think this looks more realistic. Think about how an actual bird flaps its wings. They don't just move their wings down – they lift they, and then swiping them down. So we try to mimic that by overshooting the curve.

Here’s the difference between an unclamped(overshooting) and clamped curve.

We think the unclamped version looks a lot better.

Quick test: Play your game and make sure the wings are flapping just how you want them to.

1.4 SDK Setup

Our players can see their scores now, but they can’t really compare them. To do that, two players would need to screenshot their scores, or print them out on paper and send them by pigeons. Not optimal.

So let’s add online leaderboards.

This is quick and simple to do with LootLocker. We’ll start by implementing the LootLocker SDK.

Creating an account

We’ll start off by creating a LootLocker account and setting a few things up. This is all totally free, and you don’t have to submit any personal data.

(If you’ve already got a LootLocker account, you can skip this part.)

  1. Open your web browser and go to https://lootlocker.io
  2. On the front page, click Create free account
  3. Fill out all the information and hit Create Free Account:
  4. Enter the last few bits of info and then click Next:
  5. Now click Set Up New Game
  6. Tell LootLocker what kind of game you’re creating and click Next:
  7. On this step, switch on Other and click Create:
  8. Now you should find yourself on the LootLocker dashboard:

Now it’s time to install LootLocker into our Unity project.

Installing Git

We’re going to install the LootLocker SDK into Unity.

To do this, we need to install Git first. This will allow us to add the SDK into our project quickly and easily. (If you already have Git installed, you can skip this part.)

  1. Go to: https://git-scm.com/downloads
  2. Choose the right download for your platform:
  3. Follow the Git installer’s instructions.

Adding the SDK to Unity

Now with Git installed, we can add LootLocker to our FlappyLoot project.

Quick note: You might need to restart Unity before it recognizes you’ve installed Git.

  1. Open up our FlappyLoot project in Unity.
  2. Select Window -> Package Manager
  3. In the package manager window, click the plus (+) sign in the top left and select Add Package from Git URL:
  4. A text box will come up. Into that text box, enter: https://github.com/LootLocker/unity-sdk.git and hit Add:

Unity will now have a quick think and then start downloading the LootLocker SDK.

And that’s it. We now have the SDK installed. Simple, huh?

Configuring the game

Now we’ve installed the SDK, we’ll turn on the feature we’ll use for this part of the guide.

  1. Go to https://my.lootlocker.io/login and Log In:
  2. We need to enable guest accounts, so we’ll have an identifier for our players. When you’ve logged in and arrived at the dashboard, click the cog wheel on the sidebar:
  3. Next, click on Platforms:
  4. Scroll down and select Guest Login:
  5. Enable guest login by clicking the toggle in the top right corner. Then press Save:

Now we have our LootLocker settings just how we want them.

Configuring the SDK

We need to tell the LootLocker SDK in Unity what game it should be referencing.

First we copy the identifier for our game – our API key.

  1. Head back to the LootLocker dashboard (https://my.lootlocker.io) and click on the cogwheel again:
  2. Click Game Settings:
  3. Click the API tab and copy the API key. (Select the text and hit Ctrl+C):
  4. Inside Unity, go to Edit -< Project Settings and click LootLocker SDK
  5. Now paste your copied API key into the Api Key field:

Now Unity and LootLocker can communicate.

1.5 Submitting scores to the leaderboard

Now we have the SDK setup, we can add the actual leaderboards.

We’ll store our players’ identities and let them upload their score so they can compare them with their friends.

Here's what we’ll do:

  • When the player dies, let them choose to upload their score or return to the main menu.
  • Show the top leaderboard on the main screen.
  • Let players add a name to their score when they upload it.
  • Show the newly uploaded score and its ranking, once it’s uploaded.

Creating a LootLocker leaderboard

There are different types of leaderboards that fit different types of games. For our Flappy Bird game, we want more of an old school, arcade leaderboard – rather than a standard one. So we’ll create a generic leaderboard instead of a Player leaderboard.

We first need to create this leaderboard on the LootLocker dashboard.

  1. Log in to your LootLocker account https://my.lootlocker.io/
  2. Click the systems icon in the sidebar, and then Leaderboards:
  3. Click create:
  4. Add these values to it, and click Save:
    1. Name: Global Highscore
    2. Key: globalHighscore
    3. Type: Generic
    4. Settings: Enable Game API Writes
    5. Settings: Enable metadata

Creating a PlayerManager

You might be thinking: ‘what are we doing with all of these configurations and SDKs?’

Well, we‘ll log in our player and let them upload their score.

The PlayerManager class will handle all of this. It’ll take care of all the information about the player during their login session.

  1. Go back to Unity and create a new game object called PlayerManager:
  2. Add a C# script to it called PlayerManager.cs:
  3. Insert this code, which will start and handle the game session:
    Now we can log the player in. But we want to make sure things happen in the right order. So we’ll create a Setup flow in our GameController
  4. First, add a new state called Loading state to our GameState in GameController.cs:
  5. We also need to add a reference to PlayerManager from GameController so they can communicate:
  6. Add the SetupRoutine() to GameController.cs:
  7. Remove what we had earlier in Start() and instead call the SetupRoutine() from Start():
  8. Go to BirdController.cs and update FixedUpdate() to rotate with the velocity while also loading:
  9. Make the bird flap automatically in Update() while loading as well:
  10. Now set up the reference to PlayerManager in GameController:

Quick test: Press play. If everything works, you should see text telling you to press spacebar. Otherwise the text should tell you it’ll retry logging in:

Submitting the score

If we show the leaderboard now, it won’t have anything on it. So let’s upload some scores to our leaderboard.

  1. Create a new GameObject called Leaderboard:

  2. Add a script called Leaderboard to it:

    We want to let the player upload as many scores as they want, without needing to start a new LootLocker session each time. So we’ll add some more characters to the player’s ID and use that new ID when uploading the score.

    We’ll also make sure the player can only upload their score once they’ve died. We’ll do this by adding a check that we’ll later reset in GameController.cs.

  3. Insert this code to handle uploading our score to the leaderboard:

  4. Where the code says "Your leaderboard ID", enter the ID for your own leaderboard ID (which you can find on the LootLocker dashboard):

  5. In GameController.cs add a reference to Leaderboard:

  6. In DeathRoutine() we’ll store away the score that’ll upload when the player dies. We’ll also allow the player to upload their score by setting canUploadScore to true:

  7. Set the reference to Leaderboard in GameController: Now we’ll set up the UI that’ll handle uploading our score.

  8. Add a new button to the canvas (UI -> Button) and deactivate the game object:

  9. Scroll down to the button component and add a new OnClick() method to call SubmitScore() from Leaderboard:

  10. Add a reference to the button in GameController.cs:

  11. Then in SwitchGameState() we turn it on when we get to the Dead state, and off when we go back to the menu:

  12. Drag the reference to the Button in GameController:

Quick test: Play the game and click the button when it appears. Then go to your LootLocker dashboard and see if a score has uploaded.

1.6 Showing the leaderboard

We can upload the players’ scores now, but we want to show it to them as well. We want the main menu screen and death screen to show the scores a bit differently. So we need our game to do these two things:

  • On the menu screen and death screen, display the top scores.
  • After the player submits their score, display that score and the ones around it.

Leaderboard UI

First we’ll make our leaderboard UI so we have somewhere to show the score.

  1. Right click canvas in the scene hierarchy, select UI -> Panel and name it Leaderboard:
  2. Scale it with the handles (‘T’) and fit it on the right side of the screen:
  3. Anchor it to the right side of the screen in the Rect Transform Component in the Inspector:
  4. Add three Text Components to the Leaderboard panel (right click -> UI -> Text - TextMeshPro) and name them:
    1. LeaderboardTitle
    2. Scores
    3. Names
  5. Move (‘W’) and scale (‘T’) and try to get them similar to the picture below.
    (Scores is right aligned and we’ve tweaked the text size on the Text component)
  6. Disable Wrapping on the Names Text Component. (We don’t want our players’ names to end up on two lines):
  7. Move the InfoText component to the bottom of the screen. Otherwise it’ll be behind our leaderboard:

Showing top scores

We have the UI for our leaderboard set up. Now we’ll create a function to fetch the top performing players from our leaderboard. We’ll show this on the menu screen and when the player dies.

  1. In Leaderboard.cs, add a using statement for TextMeshPro:
  2. Add two variables for our scores and player names:
  3. This function will fetch the top ten players from our leaderboard and place each player together with their score on a new line. Add it to Leaderboard.cs:
  4. Then call FetchTopLeaderboardScores() from SetupRoutine() in GameController.cs. This way we’ll get it directly at the start of the game:
  5. Drag the references to playerNamesText and playerScoresText in Unity:

Quick test: Press play and you should immediately see the top ten scores from the leaderboard.

Showing and hiding the leaderboard

We want to show and update the leaderboard in two places: on the menu screen and when the player has died.

So we need to hide it when we start the countdown – because having the leaderboard open while playing the game would be nothing but a nuisance.

  1. Add a reference to the leaderboard game object in GameController.cs:
  2. Add the showing and hiding to SwitchGameState():
  3. Drag the reference to the leaderboard game object to Game Controller in Unity:

Quick test: Play the game. Check to make sure the leaderboard shows and hides when we want it to.

1.7 Giving players names

At the moment, our leaderboard only says ‘Player Name’. Obviously that won’t do – our players need to give themselves nicknames when they upload their scores.

We’ll give each new player a default ID like #Guest000000 (where 000000 is their ID). But we’ll make sure they can change it if they want to.

We won’t use the players’ actual IDs when uploading the score – we’re using a generic leaderboard, so we don’t need to change the players’ names either. We can just store that in PlayerPrefs.

Giving names to uploaded scores

  1. Update PlayerManager.cs to store the players default name in PlayerPrefs:
    In case you were wondering: We don’t change the players real name, because we want an arcade-style scoreboard. But if you’re working on a more player-centric leaderboard, you’d want to change the players’ actual names. You can read up on how to do that on our website.
  2. In SubmitScore() in Leaderboard.cs change the line that says ‘Player Name’ into PlayerPrefs.GetString(“PlayerName”). This will fetch the player name we saved when logging in:

Quick test: Play the game in Unity and upload a score. This new score should now show on the leaderboard as a default name, like #Guest000000.

Creating an input field

Our players now have unique names, but not particularly distinctive ones. It’s not easy to beam with pride as you see your score atop the leaderboard, tagged as Guest#3928474.

So we need to let players create more expressive nicknames, like SockRock, FlappyNerd or WeLoveHector.

First we need to set up the UI to handle this.

  1. Add a new Input Field to Canvas (Right click, -> UI -> Input Field - TextMeshPro) and name it PlayerNameInputField:
  2. We want our players to have freedom, but not too much freedom. So in the settings of the InputField, set a character limit to stop players inputting crazily long names:
  3. Change the text of our button to Upload Score:
  4. Move the position of the button and our PlayerInputField (‘W’):
  5. Turn off the PlayerInputField game object in the inspector:
  6. Now the UI’s done, we’ll add some code to make it do something. In PlayerManager.cs add using TMPro:
  7. Add a reference to the PlayerInputField:
  8. Add these two functions to handle updating and setting our players’ names:
  9. In LoginRoutine() call UpdatePlayerInputField() when we’re done logging in:
  10. Set up the reference to PlayerInputField in PlayerManager in Unity:
  11. Add a call to UpdatePlayerName on OnEndEdit and on OnDeselect on the PlayerInputField:
  12. Go to GameController.cs and add a reference to the input field game object:
  13. Set it to turn off in the Menu state – and on in the Dead state:
  14. In Unity, set up the reference to the leaderboard game object in GameController:

Quick test: Play a quick game and upload your score. You should now be able to change your name and keep that name preserved between playing sessions.

1.8 Centering on scores

When the player uploads their score, we want to show them where they are on the leaderboard.

At the moment, we can only show the top ten. So we need our leaderboard to focus on the score the player’s just uploaded.

  1. In Leaderboard.cs, add this new function. It fetches the scores immediately above and below the score we just uploaded, and highlights it using rich text format:
  2. We mustn’t start this routine until we’ve fully uploaded the score. So we’ll start it when the score’s been uploaded in SubmitScore():

Quick test: Play in Unity and upload a score. The new score you just uploaded should now be highlighted in yellow.

1.9 Polishing the UI

Our game’s pretty much done now. But there’s still an important stage left: polishing.

It’s always important to go back to the features we added early on, and make sure they still work okay now we’ve added more features.

We’ll polish more aspects of the game later on. But we need to start with the UI, since it hasn’t really been able to keep up with all the new features we’ve added.

The leaderboard can be hard to read with the outlines we added early on. It also looks a bit unfinished when it just appears out of thin air.

So here’s what we’ll do with the UI:

  • Make all UI swoosh in and out from the sides of the game screen
  • Add a button to return to the menu, rather than pressing the spacebar
  • Make the text more readable
  • Animate the score text
  • Give our game a title

Swooshing the UI

At the moment, we’re just switching the game objects on and off. That looks pretty clunky, so instead we’ll ‘swoosh’ them in from the sides.

To do this, we need to read the anchor points of our different UI’s: If it’s anchored to the right, it’ll swoosh in from the right side of the screen, and vice versa for the left side.

Let's swoosh.

  1. This IEnumerator will read the anchor position and use it to decide where the object will appear from. Insert this into GameController.cs:
  2. Now we need this new function to overwrite all the places where we turn the game objects on and off. All these places are in SwitchGameState(). Here’s the updated version of SwitchGameState():
  3. For the function to work, we now need to set up the anchors in Unity. This picture shows all the different UI elements and their anchor setups:

Quick test: Play your game and look at all the swooshy movements.

The ‘main menu’ button

We still have text telling the newly-dead player to press spacebar to return to the menu. This doesn’t really fit anymore – it’ll fight for attention with the button we added for uploading the score.

So to return to the main menu, let’s have a button instead.

  1. Create a new Button by right clicking Canvas -> UI -> Button - TextMeshPro:
  2. Name it BackToMenuButton:
  3. Place it below the Upload Score button:
  4. Change the text to say ”Back to Menu” (click on the object and select the TextMeshPro - Text component):
  5. Turn off the game object:
  6. Anchor it to the bottom of the screen. (This will make sure the swooshing works properly.):
  7. Add a function for going back to the menu in GameController.cs:
  8. Also, add a reference to the button gameObject so we can swoosh it.
  9. Update the behavior in SwitchGameState() to show the button in the Dead state – and hide it when we return to the menu:
  10. Now we have a button, we don’t need the text instruction anymore. So let’s remove “"PRESS SPACEBAR TO RESTART" from the infoText in DeathRoutine():
  11. In fact, we can remove the entire ‘press spacebar’ function from Update(), now we have a button to do that job:
  12. Go back to Unity and call the GoBackToMenu() function on the OnClick() method on the BackToMenuButton:
  13. Set up the reference to the backToMenuButtonObject in Game Controller:

Quick test: Press play and do a full run through – play, die, upload score and return to menu. Just don’t get sidetracked by trying to beat your best score.

Updating all the text

With all the buttons and leaderboards we’ve added, the outline of the text doesn’t fit that well anymore. But that’s very quick to fix.

  1. Select any TextMeshPro - Text component in the scene hierarchy:
  2. In the inspector, scroll down to the bottom of the component and uncheck Outline:
  3. We turned down Dilate slightly as well:
  4. We also changed the color to be gray instead of white. This is because the white text without the outline is tricky to read on the blue background. To do this, enter “t:TextMeshProUGUI” the search field in the scene hierarchy:
  5. Select all text components (Ctrl+A):
  6. In the inspector, change the text color to black or dark gray with all of them still selected:

Quick test: Have another quick playthrough and make sure the text is looking nice and readable.

Animating the score text

When something happens in the UI that’s tied to something in the game, it’s good to show there’s a connection between the two. We can do this by animating specific parts of the UI.

At the moment, our score UI is only visible when the player’s playing our game. To show the connection between scoring a point and the score UI changing, we’ll animate it.

  1. Add this IEnumerator to GameController.cs. It’ll scale the text up and down again with a bit of ‘squash and stretch’:
  2. In Score in GameController.cs, call the WiggleScaleTextRoutine() when the score goes up:

Quick test: Play the game and watch the score ‘pop and spring’ with every pipe you pass.

Giving our game a title

At the start of this guide, we decided on a name for our game: FlappyLoot. But that name doesn’t actually appear in the game yet.

Let’s add a title to our menu screen, so the player knows what game they’re playing. We’ll give the title text a bit of animation too.

  1. Add a new text component to the canvas (right click -> UI -> Text - TextMeshPro)
  2. Name it Title
  3. Position it where you want the title to appear. This is where we put ours:
  4. Anchor it to the top, so the swooshing works okay:
  5. On the TextComponent, add a new C# script named TitleTextAnimator:
  6. Add this code to give the title text some movement:
  7. Add a reference to the title text in GameController.cs. This will allow us to show and hide it when we want to:
  8. Update the SwitchGameState() function – we want our title to show in the menu and then hide when we enter the countdown state:
  9. Go back to Unity and set up the reference between GameController and our new text object:

Quick test: Start the game and take a look at the main menu. You should now have your game title drifting up and down. It’s not the fanciest title screen, but it’s more interesting than static text.

2.0 Adding some scenery

Our bird dies when it hits the bottom of the screen – but it doesn’t actually have anything to collide with. So let’s add some grass to make it clear that the bottom of the screen is the ground.

Our sky’s a bit bland too. So we’ll add some passing clouds to make it feel more dynamic.

Adding Grass

The grass will behave pretty much the same way as the pipes – it’ll just appear on every screen, rather than only while playing the game.

First we’ll create a SceneryController class that’ll handle the scenery movement.

  1. Add a new game object to the scene called SceneryController. Then add a script to it called SceneryController: This code will move the objects until they reach the end of the screen. It’ll then wrap around on the other side of the screen, similar to how our pipes behave.
  2. Add this code into SceneryController.cs:
    Now we’ll create a prefab for our grass. The sprite we’ve used is in the Image folder we linked to earlier in the guide.
  3. Create a new game object named Grass:
  4. Drag the Grass sprite to the Grass gameObject:
  5. Reset the grass sprite’s position so we don’t get any strange positional behavior:
  6. Drag the gameobject into the assets folder to create the prefab:
  7. Delete (‘Del’ or right click -> Delete) the object from the scene:
  8. Drag the new prefab to the grass prefab field on the Scenery Controller:

Quick test: Start your game and you should now see some grass whipping along the bottom of the screen as Hector flies along.

Adding clouds

This will be a pretty quick process now, since we just need to add some more things for the SceneryController to move.

To get a nice parallax effect, we’ll also randomize the scale of the clouds. And we’ll use that scale to determine what speed they should move.

  1. Add these new variables to SceneryController.cs for our clouds:
  2. Next, add the function for creating the clouds:
  3. Then we create them and set up the movement in Start() – just like we did with the grass:
  4. This next function will move the clouds, similarly to how our grass moves. But it’ll also have random values when it resets, and speeds based on scale:
  5. Then we call the MoveClouds() from Update():
    That’s the code done. Next we create the prefab that’ll become our clouds.
  6. Head back into Unity. Create a new game object and name it Cloud:
  7. Drag the Cloud sprite from the Image folder to the game object:
  8. Reset the Cloud object’s position so we don’t get any strange positional behaviors:
  9. We want the clouds to appear behind everything else in the scene. So set the Order in Layer to -20:
  10. Drag the Cloud object into the assets folder and make it into a prefab:
  11. Delete the cloud object from the scene:
  12. Now drag your new Cloud prefab to the Cloud Prefab field in the Scenery Controller:

Quick test: Hit play and you should now see some nice, puffy clouds drifting by.

2.1 Polishing the death effect

When Hector dies, he just falls down at the moment. To make it more interesting, we’ll give him a bit of a spin and add something called a hitstop/freeze frame. A hitstop is when the game freezes time for a moment to give more impact and feedback. If you’ve played anime or manga games, you’ll see this effect used for punches and kicks. So it’ll work perfectly for our game.

Spinning and freezing time

We’ll create a function to handle this behavior for us. The code is small – it’s just one function, which we’ll call when our bird collides with something.

  1. In BirdController.cs, add a new IEnumerator called DieRoutine() to include this new behavior:
  2. We then call this when our Bird hits an object:

Quick test: Play the game and fly Hector into a pipe. You should now have a much more interesting death animation.

Creating ground collisions

When Hector falls down into the grass, the game setup we have now leaves him falling forever. That’s because he can’t collide with the grass yet – only the pipes. So let’s fix that.

  1. Open up the grass prefab by double clicking it in the Project tab:
  2. Add a BoxCollider2D component to the object (Add Component -> Box Collider 2D):
  3. Click Edit Collider on the Box Collider 2D component. Fix the position so it just covers the fully green area of the sprite:

Quick test: With these changes, any recently deceased bird should now land and stop on the ground.

2.2 Adding sound effects

We haven’t done any sound work yet. So our game’s completely silent.

Luckily, setting up sound is quick and easy. And since FlappyLoot is a pretty straightforward game, we don’t need many sounds. We’ll add only three:

  • Flapping sound
  • Bird dead sound
  • Get score sound

Here are the sound effects we used. Feel free to use them or create your own: Foo

Adding the flapping and dying sounds

  1. Add an audio source to the bird game object:
  2. In BirdController.cs add two new variables to store our sound effects and a reference to our AudioSource component:
  3. Next we get the Audio Source component in the Start() function:
  4. In Flap() we tell audioSource to play our Flap sound effect with some added pitch randomization. This variation’s important, because hearing the exact same sound over and over again can get annoying. (Remember the jumping noise from the original Sonic the Hedgehog games? Infuriating.):
  5. Next, in DieRoutine() we tell it to play our deathSound with the original pitch value:
  6. Now we just drag the references to our audio clips to Bird Controller – deathSound to Death Sound, and flapSound to Flap Sound. (Obviously.):

Quick test: Play the game and listen to Hector flapping and squawking.

Adding the score sound

This process is similar to what we just did. The only difference is that we’ll call it from PipeController, since PipeController is the class that gives the score.

  1. In PipeController.cs, add a new AudioSource variable named audioSource:
  2. Now, instead of adding an Audio Source in Unity, we can use [RequireComponent()]. This makes it possible to tell Unity that this script needs a specific component, and Unity will add that to the game object. Add the RequireComponent attribute to the top of the PipeController class. (Make sure you add it to the top of PipeController and not Pipe.):
  3. Click play in the editor to make Unity spawn an Audio Source automatically on the object:
  4. With the Audio Source now created, we need to add a sound for it to play. Drag the scoreSound file to the Audioclip section on the Audio Source:
  5. Untick the Play On Awake checkbox too – otherwise the sound will play every time the game starts:
  6. We need to get the audio source in PipeController.cs, in Start():
  7. Now we’ll add the functionality to actually play the sound. We give the score to the player in the MovePipes() function, so let’s play the score sound there too:

Quick test: Play your finished game and make sure it’s all working how you want it to.

You’re finished. Now onto the next steps

And with that, we’re done with this guide.

Be proud of yourself – you’ve made a complete game from scratch. That’s no small feat.

On top of all the game features you’ve practiced, hopefully you’ve also learned:

  • How to quickly add leaderboards to your game. This is a powerful tool for getting players consistently returning to your game and competing for the top spot.
  • How to really polish a game and transform it from a prototype into a finished product.

So what now? If you want to take this project further, there are plenty of other things you can work on. Such as:

  • More types of leaderboards
  • A progression system
  • A cosmetics system
  • A triple-A, subscription-based FlappyLoot MMORPG

If you want to add more features from LootLocker, you can see our full repertoire on our website.

Now you’ve finished this guide, give us a shoutout. We’d love to see your game. You can find us here:

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