How to Make a First Person Shooter Game
As with all of our guides, we recommend using Unity to build your game. Indie developers gain a lot of power and value out of the Unity Asset Store. We often link to purchasable assets. This is in the best interest of you the developer and accelerating your project development speed.
Even if you are still in the planning phase, this is an excellent game design outline. Helping you plan out the overall build of your FPS project.
Did you know Counter-Strike was originally a mod designed for half-life created by a single person? Great projects can have very humble beginnings.
FPS Complete Projects and Templates
Luckily for you, the Asset Store offers some ready for prototyping complete FPS projects. In fact, this is the one genre that has the most options out there that have very complete FPS starting kits. These are great for testing out and changing around until you get a feel for how you want your project to evolve. Not to mention having playable environment right away is good for motivation.
Complete FPS Templates
When it comes to quickly prototyping and getting a game working right away, not many assets compare to UFPS: Ultimate First Person Shooter.
UFPS: Ultimate First Person Shooter
Another great recommendation. And slightly more price friendly. All though if you’re planning to build an entire FPS project, the difference in these price tags should scare you away. But we are here to be neutral and present the different types of amazing templates that exist on the asset store. Universal Shooter Kit: FPS, TPS, TDS accomplishes everything you need in a FPS and more. It also gives you the ability to change direction for your project. They have the ability to switch to a top down perspective. With that, they also include the settings for the start of a tower defense project as well. At the very least, it’s worth it at that price.
Universal Shooter Kit: FPS, TPS, TDS
Now if you’re plan is building a FPS with multiplayer in mind, we have to recommend Modular Multiplayer FPS Engine. It utilizes Photon for the multiplayer. We use Photon for our multiplayer games and we highly recommend them. There’s nothing wrong with a single player FPS. But there’s also nothing wrong with planning for multiplayer.
Modular Multiplayer FPS Engine (Photon 2) (MMFPSE)
Maybe your planning to build a horror FPS. Something to make players jump. Reminiscent of Resident Evil series. if that’s the case, a publisher has put together an incredibly complete project made specifically for this situation. Horror FPS KIT. This kit has everything you need to get started. It’s a very complete project in a box.
Horror FPS KIT
While we’re discussing horror type FPS type games, we should also mention another kit that leans more on the zombie side of things. One thing that really appeals about this particular kit is the incredibly well designed enemy type zombie creatures it contains. Check out FPS Shooter Kit.
FPS Shooter Kit
FPS Levels Concepts
Where the fire fights happen. Great level design and layout can make or break a FPS. Having a variety of different scenes and layouts is always appealing.
What a better way to get started than the classic warehouse style level. Great for any kind of level design with the ability to put sea-cans in interesting layouts. FPS Warehouse is a great starting point. This particular pack also comes with some targets and dummies. Which could be used for a starting tutorial or practice range area in your game.
If you’re having an interior industrial scene, then something exterior should be considered. Even if it’s not part of the same scene and explored later on. HQ Modular Industrial Area is a great modular solution to building outside FPS areas.
HQ Modular Industrial Area
Really, a classic setting as far as an FPS is considered. This comes as a very complete package to work with right away. Modular and includes actually moving, scheduled subway trains with opening door scripts. Great for multiplayer or if you have a timed mission to prevent a terrorist on the run.
Getting a little more broad and open, we should suggest this great outside urban option. For making much larger city type environments for an FPS. Extremely high quality with the ability to make realistic outside areas for modern gun fights and combat. Has overpasses as well. Urban Construction Pack is great as scaling your project to the next level. Start building your city!
Urban Construction Pack
If you get on a city building kick, this can also be a great alternative, on to supplement your city building assets. Modern City Pack can really help create an immersive environment for your players. Plus this package looks great lit up at night. Glowing signs and street lights help make for excellent night scenes in your Unity project.
Modern City Pack
Parkades always make for great levels. Pillars to hide to use for cover. Vehicles can be added as a great way to make some interesting play areas. QA Modular Parking is an excellent asset to build your parkade with.
QA Modular Parking
All though maybe not as common, perhaps you will have some scenarios set up in larger, more open environments. Like suburban neighborhoods. Plenty of potential for mission options or some great concepts and layouts. An excellent asset to start with is Suburb Neighborhood House Pack. Which also happens to be built from the ground up to be very modular.
Suburb Neighborhood House Pack (Modular)
Continuing down the street, part of your suburban arsenal could be an Abandoned School. Which could be a great asset for a hidden hostage situation. Or a newly discovered terrorist headquarters and hide out. Tons of options for search and recover missions. Or simply as another multiplayer level for your players.
HQ Abandoned School (Modular)
Honestly, if you’re making any sort of large scale environments outside, we recommend one particular asset to get you started. It has a bit of a learning curve but is so incredibly useful. It will enable you to build vast outside environments and scenes. Gaia – Pro is probably the most valuable took available on the Unity Asset Store. It should be the start of any developers journey on creating generated outdoor areas.
Gaia Pro – Terrain & Scene Generator
If your FPS project isn’t set in today’s era, and instead takes a more futuristic approach, that works great as well. Plenty of imaginative publishers have created incredible environments that fit that theme as well.
If you’re going futuristic, a great asset to start with is this Cyber City. Has that gritty yet advanced feeling about it. Full of amazing props and highly detailed settings. Extremely favorable reviews. This is a great place to start for a more Sci-Fi first person shooter.
Continuing on the slightly dystopian theme of futuristic city blocks, yet somehow still appearing dangerous, we have Dark City 2. Another package with incredible attention to detail. It always amazes us how incredibly imaginative the publishers on the Asset Store are.
Dark City2 – Cyberpunk Pack
This next asset is very versatile. S-F Pack. Which is basically indoor futuristic metal corridors. Which could be the setting of any of these creative mission ideas. Your players could be walking the halls of an advanced lab. Spaceship interiors. Or perhaps this is an underground military structure. Endless options with something so module such as this.
FPS Props & Objects
While on the topic of environments and levels, it’s only suiting we transition into props and 3D objects. Some static objects are simply there to help build immersion. While others serve a purpose. Such as mission items. Let’s get into it!
Some of the aforementioned assets already have props and doodads. All though it never hurts to see what’s available to enhance the environment around your scenes for your players.
Industrial and Warehouse Props
When it comes to warehouse and industrial style props, if we had to recommend only a single asset to get, it would be HQ Industrial Mega Kit. It comes with pallets, barrels, pipes, boxes, propane tanks, lockers, generators. You name it! So if you want to bring a warehouse or industrail building more to life, check it out.
HQ Industrial Mega Kit
This second pack, while not quite as large, is still a pretty good follow up for any developers looking to add a bit more prop diversity to their scene. Industry Props Pack includes some stuff not found in the previous mega kit. Tires, acetylene tanks, cement bags, large wire rolls, crates, wooden boxes, and more.
Industry Props Pack
Military and Outdoor Props
Stuff more commonly found outside. Or involved with military operations.
This particular pack is very underrated. It has all the makings of a from scratch FPS multiplayer level. Sometimes the basics is all you need. Make a scene just from these objects. Or use this to supplement your outside environments. Almost reminds us of a paintball course in it’s set up.
FPS Cover Pack
To add to your arsenal of outdoor props, fences and barriers are always of use. Barriers and Fences Pack includes chain link fences, conrete blocks and walls, wooden fences, streetlights, and some more useful blockades.
Barriers and Fences Pack
If you have an area that you want to portray as particularly hard hit. More of a ware zone like area. Never hurts to throw some completely damaged and destroyed vehicles to the mix to add that bit of atmosphere. Post-Apocalypse – Destroyed Cars add just that.
Post-Apocalypse – Destroyed Cars
Objects Players Interact With
Some of these props will serve more than just doodads, barriers, and visual enhancement. Some of them will drive the story, block you without the correct information, or even be destructible.
This particular pack is a FPS developers dream It has so many interesting objects in it. Key pad coded lockable doors. Timed dynamite. A safe you can break into based on sound alone. Actual lock picking. LOCKS+ Full Pack takes your FPS to another level.
LOCKS+ Full Pack
Very much on topic with intractable props and objects comes our next word of advice. What kind of FPS wouldn’t include breakable props? Probably not a very good one. Now you could just download a couple of breakable props packs that exist on the asset store. The problem with these is they aren’t a repeatable tool. You paint yourself into a corner by using a few select objects that break, as opposed to other similar type objects you put in your game that, for some weird reason to the player, don’t break.
We’re not here to tell you what should be breakable. That’s up to you and what feels right in your particular game design. What we are saying is use a tool that allows you to choose what becomes breakable, destroyable, shootable. DestroyIt – Destruction System is the tool that accomplishes that for you. Add it to your objects, choose the level of destruction. This allows you to change what objects are destructible as you change you design along the way.
DestroyIt – Destruction System
Vehicles and Driving
For single and multiplayer FPS games, vehicles can add a lot of extra fun value for players. A great way to transition from areas. Adds some interesting fighting techniques.
Vehicles With Physics
If you’re rather ambitious, and want to get some actual drive-able vehicles into your game, NWH Vehicle Physics is the answer. Great way a player to get from one zone to another. Perhaps you have a bit more of an open-world concept for your FPS. What ever your reason, this is the best recommendation for getting vehicles with physics into your FPS game.
NWH Vehicle Physics
Avatar and Computer Controlled Players
Or commonly known as NPC’s. If there’s at all any sort of single player experience, then chances are you will need something to run the behavior of characters in your game. This could be allies that are shooting alongside you. Neutral citizens nearby in the world or that you interact with. Or most importantly, enemy forces.
A.I. or artificially intelligence is required if you have other characters running around your game. You might get away with a simple pathing system for a few unfortunate citizens that get caught in the cross fire. But for computer controlled team mates or enemies firing at you, you’ll need a system that handles all of that. Emerald AI 2.0 takes care of all the heavy lifting for you.
Emerald AI 2.0
Non-Player Character Avatars
Your NPC’s will need a representing 3D mesh body. Preferably with built in animations, properly rigged and boned. A great starting point is this PBR Customized Soldier pack. Which has a great mix of modern soldiers and slightly more futuristic super-soldiers kind of look and feel. An incredible amount of detail has been put into this pack to make it look incredible.
PBR Customized Soldier
This pack isn’t strictly limited to your computer controlled players. Often times games will allow players to use the same model that the computers use in some situations.
Tools, Visuals, and Workflow
This is getting more into the nitty gritty of getting some important things done within your project. A lot of tools here to help non-programmers accomplish creating a FPS.
If you’re not fluent in several programming languages, creating a game from scratch can be tricky to say the least. A lot of smart programmers have come together and made sleak tools to help us non-programmer types out. Here are some of the best in the indie dev business.
If you need a visual flow chart of game creation, that takes care of all the scripting, there is an incredible asset that exists. Basically you’re going to be wanting to use this when starting almost any game project from scratch. Used by everyone from one-man dev teams, to larger indie studios, Playmaker is absolutely incredible to work with. They have a list of games made their asset. I’m sure you’ll recognize many on the list.
Chances are, if there is any single player aspect to your game, there will be dialogue. Text and speech in game is usually an after thought or a last minute realization. With the dev team scrambling to make a decent system that handles everything hap haphazardly implementing it half way through the project and fixing problems for the rest of the development cycle. Don’t be that dev team! Just put Dialogue System in right away and have a smoothly working system from the get go.
Dialogue System for Unity
It would be a shame to go through all the work to make a FPS game, and deny players the ability to use their favorite controller. This asset covers every controller device under the sun and makes set up a breeze. Rewired. First Person Shooters go great with console controllers. Don’t deny your player base this. Or if you ever plan to release on console, you’ll need to have fully mapped controller support anyways.
Multiplayer pairs with First Person Shooters like cookies and milk. In our early days of development, the idea of multiplayer seemed so daunting. After we implemented it into our first game, we realized that it wasn’t nearly as complicated as we thought. Just another normal step in the development process.
While it is possible to set up your own server and host your own multiplayer matches, it’s complicated and expensive. So naturally a service has popped up to fill that gap for developers looking for an easy service to implement for hosting match making games. We highly recommend Photon.
Photon PUN 2+
What natural follows multiplayer match making is unfortunately multiplayer cheaters. Trying to block cheaters has long been a cat and mouse game. While there will probably never be an iron clad stop all cheaters solution, there are some extremely solid iron clad solutions today. For easy implementation and constant updates, Anti-Cheat Toolkit does a solid job.
User Interface and HUD
Sometimes known as GUI. These are menus and windows the player interacts with between rounds, while setting up games, etc. This is an area of the store that usually has an incredible amount of high polished assets. Slightly unfortunate that it’s a bit lacking as far as specific FPS GUI’s and HUD’s. But we’ll provide what info we can on this topic.
There is an asset that put’s a decent part of a HUD overlay for your screen, HUD meaning Heads Up Display, is basically a graphic overall of information and windows to display important information. Such as health and/or shield level, ammo, equipped weapon, radar, etc. Sentinel FPS GUI accomplished most of this and has other UI applications for menus.
Sentinel FPS GUI
Since not every glove fits every hand, perhaps this isn’t to your particular style of graphic for your FPS we have several other suggestions. Sierra Foxtrot FPS GUI, Infinite Warfare UI, and Bullet UI are all good follow up suggestions. Sometimes developers can put together a really sharp and complete menu and UI overlay by cleverly combining the best of two UI’s into one.
Sierra Foxtrot FPS GUI, Bullet UI, and Infinite Warfare UI
On the topic of user interface graphics for first person shooters, we might as well but these suggestions under this header while we’re hear. FPS Icons Pack is a great free asset. It can fill in some of the gaps for weapon icons and graphics. Mod Ranks is an excellent asset for providing badges as awards for ranks or completed missions.
There are plenty of visual effects that can enhance, and should almost be a requirement in your First Person Shooter.
Particles and Sprite Sheets
One often overlooked effect that should be utilized more in FPS is a simple, yet effective gun fire flash. The aptly named Muzzleflash Pack achieves this effect perfectly. For every kind of gun. What more can you ask for?
Depending on your particular needs, you may have multiple particle effects you want to add to your FPS project. Fires, water spraying, even bullet holes and debris caused by bullets hitting objects. Even a flame thrower! All of these things can be easily handled by Unity Particle Pack. Not only do particles pull off some amazing visuals, they are extremely processes friendly. Being efficient and using very little resources for your players computer. Letting your game achieve better run time and frame rate.
Unity Particle Pack
Developers can create effective visual ques through simple camera tricks. These are quite often filters applied over the view. Things like a shake when hit physically or by a bullet. Closing in reddish blur when close to death. Flash bangs leave a white blinding light across the players eyes that slowly fades. Lots of immersive effects are simply visual. And very easy to implement.
This next asset does all that and more. Including things like night vision, looking through binoculars, bullet holes in glass, weather effects, closing in blurring. It even has extra effects if you want to apply them to other objects in your game. For example; the filter that makes image or video like like an old security camera footage. Camera Filter Pack is a simple, yet highly effective asset.
Camera Filter Pack
Weapons and 1st Person View
Probably one of the more fun topics of discussion. Weapons, gear, and the fun that comes along with these creative choices in First Person Shooter type games. But one thing we should suggest right away before implementing everything is get the right camera controller.
1st Person Camera Viewer
Yes, Unity has built in camera controls. But are they easy? Typically the defaults in almost any program have so many options and possibilities it makes even simple things more complicated than they need to be. Camera Controller takes the complication out of the entire 1st person view set up. Do yourself a favor and just get it right away. Not only is it the perfect solition for getting you set up quickly and easily. It also handles probably every camera view you will need for any future project ever. 3rd person. Top down MOBA. You name it.
Now that you have the FPS camera set up properly, let’s move onto weapons. If we were to suggest a single asset for weapons. One that is consistent quality, style, and has the most firearms, it would have to be Ultimate FPS Weapons Pack. Even if you don’t get it now, we highly suggest bookmarking for later in the development stage. For now, you can probably get most the basics working with our next asset suggestion (Animated Hands and Weapons) since it comes with 16 demo guns.
Ultimate FPS Weapons Pack
And while we’re on the topic of weapons, we might as well suggest this well suited set of FPS gear. Depending on the mission or enemies you might encounter, there’s always a chance of Riot Shield’s being involved. This is an excellently built one ready to go. And might as well include this Grenade Pack. Modern designs of grenades and even some landmines, and tear gas thrown in for good measure. And what kind of modern FPS wouldn’t have a good set of knives for backstabbing or performing a silent execute on your enemies?
Riot Shield, Grenade Pack, Knife pack
FPS Arms and Hands
As you might be aware of, your perspective and the actual position of the 3D body limbs you control, are two different things. Specifically with the arms, hands, and the weapons they hold. Therefore your characters arms and guns are invisible to your view. Instead replaced with a pseudo set that does all the animations smoothly in front of you. You could spend a ton of time modeling, animating, and implementing your own. Or you could use Animated Hands with Weapons Pack that accomplishes all that and more for you. Including giving you some additional weapons.
Animated Hands with Weapons Pack
Music and Sound FX
Usually some of the later things added into the development cycle. So it’s only suiting we out this closer to the end of the list. Even though it’s last on our list doesn’t make it any less important proper music and sound effects can put so much final polish on a game. It really brings the whole project together.
It really depends on the look and feel of your game, but if you’re at a bit of a loss, theses are some excellent choices to consider first. And to possible inspire you in the kind of music you want for your FPS. Ultimate Game Music Collection includes some excellent tracks that are suited to some modern combat warfare type situations. The value alone here is completely worth it to get some great royalty free music into your FPS game.
Ultimate Game Music Collection
Every time we are completing a game project, we always get caught right at the end when we are trying to wrap everything up. Even in a simple game, there are so many sound effects that have to be considered. Just food for thought!
If you’re going to have guns in your game, you’re gonna need some pew pew pews. And some footsteps. Maybe you have guns with silences in your game. This pack has the sounds of a silencer shooting. Foot steps. Bullet impacts. Explosions. The list goes on. Warfare Sounds is probably the highest quality pack on the asset store when it comes to these type of sound fx.
For all other sound effects, we have an incredible recommendation. Universal Sound FX is your one stop shop. You’re going to find there are so many little sound effects needed. This pack should not only cover this project, but be a great base library for any future projects you make.
Universal Sound FX
Thank You For Reading
We hope this has helped you plan out and progress with your overall design concept for your FPS. Our site visitors and people we help mean the world to us.
As with all of our articles, this is an ever evolving guide. We continually update to meet the newest standards of development tools and technology. So be sure to bookmark our site and check back from time to time. Thank you and happy developing!