Chay Hunter

Chay heads up the marketing, the content, and the table tennis at GameAnalytics. He’s a passionate cinephile who plays way too many games and loves a good book. He rarely wins at table tennis. Follow Chay on Twitter.

If you’re anything like us, you’re already thinking ahead to 2017. How will you lower acquisition costs, improve engagement and drive more purchases? Where will you find the time? From basement to studio, game developers manage a growing remit of technical skills… yet the hours in a day stay fixed.

For sure, there are thousands of time-saving apps and services that you can make use of – but figuring out which are best is difficult. That’s why we’ve curated a list of the top game development tools, as voted for by game developers, to help steer you in the right direction and free-up your time to focus on doing what you love.

#1 list of time-saving mobile game development tools, picked by game developers #GameDev Click To Tweet

In this article, we’ll highlight a selection of apps, assets and SDKs which will help you – a busy GameDev – take care of different aspects of the mobile game lifecycle. Each business area is listed below… let the timesaving begin.

Advertising & Monetization

advertising

Adjust

Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

Adjust provide insightful marketing attribution tools built for mobile apps. For game developers, it will help you understand how users reach your game and what each lead source costs. You can also repurpose your users’ feedback and app store reviews for product management with Apptrace.

Adwords Conversion Tracking

Cost: $25
Supports: Unity 5.3.3+

The default conversion tracking in iOS and Android is limited and requires a lot of customisation. With the Adwords Conversion Tracking asset for Unity you can easily measure conversions from Adwords/Admob and begin measuring ROI for your display and remarketing campaigns. The asset offers a full Unity interface. Essential if you’re on the Google Play Store.

Mobvista

Cost: $0
Supports: All platforms

Advertise your game across 243 regions with Mobvista. Precise targeting, unparalleled exposure and a range of ad formats – ads that don’t break from the gameplay experience – make it easy to increase your reach and fuel your growth. The platform feeds native ads directly into games of a similar genre. You’ll be getting conversion rates much higher than the 3% industry average in no time.

Unity Ads

Cost: $0
Supports: All platforms

Unity Ads is a market leading mobile ad platform built with game developers in mind. With a strong focus on serving video content cross-platform and cross-game, the ads are more relevant with better conversion rates, compared to more generic display advertising networks. Unity only pays you when users install the advertiser’s game. This means that showing the ad in the right place, at the right time, without breaking a player’s game flow will actually result in more revenue than showing too many ads.

 

If you’re looking for more ways to grow your user-base take a look at this post: How to Expand your Audience with Game Accessibility

 

Analytics & Error Logging

gameanalytics-dashboard

GameAnalytics

Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

GameAnalytics is a free analytics tool built by game developers, for game developers. It helps you make sense of player behavior, improve engagement and drive monetization with real-time insight into more than 50 gaming metrics out-of-the-box. You can set it up in just a few minutes, with SDKs for every major platform and engine.

Crashlytics

Cost: $0 (enterprise costs undisclosed)
Supports: Android & iOS platforms

Start monitoring your app’s errors for actionable insights in real-time with Crashlytics. How do you improve engagement? Create a loyal player following with a UX free from annoying bugs. Crashlytics helps you achieve this by dealing with player issues proactively, before tickets flood your support team and eat up your bandwidth.

Fabric

Cost: $0
Supports: All major platforms

Focus on building great games and let Fabric help with managing your various crash reporting, growth, analytics and monetization tools. It’s one of the number 1 SDK management platforms in the world and is closely integrated with GameAnalytics and Crashlytics. With it, you can locally install different SDKs straight into your project with just a couple of clicks. It can also create accounts with those services and automatically retrieve the keys that you need.

 

If you’re new to game analytics you should definitely check out this post (it’s one of our most popular): 15 Metrics All Game Developers Should Know

 

Collaboration & Workflow

teamwork

UniMerge

Cost: $15
Platform: Unity 3.2.0+

With UniMerge, game designers work more effectively via seamless collaboration of graphic rendering, artwork and objects. This plugin from the Unity store allows team members to work apart on graphics elements that make up part of the larger whole, such as textures, and then combine the results with full version control.

iOS Project Builder for Windows

Cost: $29
Platform: Unity 4.6.9+

If you’re a Unity developer primarily working on PC, the iOS Project Builder for Windows is an extension that you need to add to your arsenal. No joke. This tool is an absolute gem. With it, you no longer need to switch to your Mac and launch Xcode to build your games for iOS. Save time and build them directly from Windows.

GameFlow

Cost: $20
Platform: Unity 5.4.0+

GameFlow is a visual programming toolkit that helps simplify game development. With it, you can create complex game logic, effects and interactions, in a visual editor without having to write a single line of code. Bring powerful time-saving features to your development, including macros and keyboard shortcuts to automate tedious tasks.

 

Are you a game designer? You may find this article of interest: Squeezing more juice out of your game design!

 

Engagement & Retention

pokemongo

GetSocial

Cost: $0-$250/mo
Platform: All major platforms

GetSocial gives you the ability to amplify your game’s reach, improve player loyalty, reduce churn and make your marketing spend go further. It provides everything that you’ll need to create highly engaging in-app social marketing platforms, with the ability to double your retention – whilst increasing in-app purchases and organic installs by more than 25%!

Twitch

Cost: $0
Platform: All major platforms

Twitch is the world’s leading video platform for online games, with over 2 million broadcasters and 100 million monthly viewers. With it, you can build gaming experiences that give audiences the ability to interact with live sessions, through dynamic gifting and commenting. It enables overlay of broadcast quality visuals for different datastreams, including as kill counters, player stats and minimaps.

 

Is your churn rate embarrassingly high? Learn how to get it down to a respectable level: 16 Reasons Why Players Are Leaving Your Game

 

Final Note

What do you think? Which tools best help with your day-to-day? If you think we’ve overlooked any gems please reach out to us on Twitter with your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you.

Chay Hunter

Chay heads up the marketing, the content, and the table tennis at GameAnalytics. He’s a passionate cinephile who plays way too many games and loves a good book. He rarely wins at table tennis. Follow Chay on Twitter.

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