This post will guide you through packaging your Unity game on Windows for a smooth upload and download experience for you and your players.
Why Proper Packaging Matters
A common mistake developers make is uploading game files individually or directly uploading DLLs and other individual assets. This not only makes it more difficult for users to download and run your game but can also lead to missing files or broken dependencies, resulting in a poor first impression. A well-packaged game, on the other hand, ensures that all the necessary files are included so that the game may be run without any trouble.
Step 1: Building Your Game in Unity
- Open your completed Unity project.
- Go to
File > Build Settings.
- Select your target platform (Windows/Mac/Linux).
- Create a new folder to build the project files into. Remember this directory, as you will be zipping all the files contained in it.
The Importance of the Data Folder
After building your game, Unity will generate a collection of files in the build directory. Critically, there is an executable and a
_Data folder (the name depends on what you called your project). The
_Data folder is crucial as it contains all the assets and libraries your game needs to run. Remember, the executable, the data folder, and all the other generated files must be kept together in order for your game to work correctly.
Step 2: Zipping Your Game
To ensure your game installs correctly, you need to zip the executable and the
_Data folder together.
- Select all the files, including the corresponding
- Right-click and choose
Send to > Compressed (zipped) folderon Windows, or
Compress Itemsif you’re on a Mac.
- Name your zip file something clear and indicative of your game’s name and version.
Common Pitfalls to Avoid
- Individual File Uploads: Uploading files one by one can lead to missing files and broken games. Players will not be able to download your whole game with a single download, and it’s more likely you are distributing a broken version of your game. Additionally your game will be broken for players that use our app.
- Direct DLL Uploads: Uploading DLLs separately typically means that you have not packaged your game correctly. Do not upload
UnityPlayer.dllas a separate file.
- Forgetting the Data Folder: The game won’t run without the accompanying
- Improper Zipping: Failing to zip the executable and data folder together can prevent the game from running.
Step 3: Uploading to itch.io
Once your game is zipped, you’re ready to upload it to itch.io.
- Log in to your itch.io account.
- Navigate to your dashboard and click
Create New Projectto create a new project page if you haven’t already.
- Click Upload Files and select only the
.zipfile you created in the previous step.
- Save your page to ensure the file becomes publicly visible.
Testing Your Upload
Before announcing your game to the world, download your newly uploaded zip file and test it on different machines to ensure everything works as it should.
Advanced Packaging and Uploading with Butler
For those looking to streamline the process of packaging and uploading games to itch.io,
butler is the command-line companion you need.
butler is itch.io’s own command-line tool that simplifies uploading and updating projects. One of its key benefits is that it negates the need for zipping files manually;
butler can push an entire directory of your game in a single command.
Why Use Butler?
Here are some advantages of using
- Efficiency: Push updates to your game without re-uploading the entire game each time.
- Delta Patches: Only the changes between the current version and the new one are uploaded, saving time and bandwidth.
butlerensures that your files are intact and unchanged during the upload process, preventing corruption.
- Version Control: It keeps track of different versions, making rollback easy if a new update has issues.
Getting Started with Butler
Please refer to the How to upload your game or project to itch.io with butler for a tutorial on how to use Butler.
By following these steps, you’ll avoid common packaging pitfalls and ensure your players have a hassle-free installation experience. Proper packaging is the final, crucial step in the development process before your game can be enjoyed by all.