How to Build a Digital Product | Part 1: Spawning the Idea

In this series I detail the creation of a digital product built specifically for the Unity Asset Store. I am writing this in hopes of providing a resource to those who may be exploring the idea of or are already working on building game development tools. Check back here periodically for updates and don't forget to sign up to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. I will be providing overviews of the process as it happens.

Part 1: The Idea

I have always had an innate fascination with electronics, particularly control panels. I remember as a child growing up in St. Louis, the science center had an exhibit that was basically a large wall full of controls you could play with. Each control affected a light or an oscilloscope or digital readouts. I mean there was probably an educational moral to the story but that must have flew right past 8 year old me as I stood there marveling how each knob and switch would effect the array of outputs attached to the panel.

Fast forward to a few months ago. I was walking through my office an noticed the wallpaper on a colleagues laptop. The wallpaper showed 4 Nixie tubes arranged to display some message I can't recall.

Of course I had seen Nixie tubes before but the close up photography of this particular image highlighted how intricate these little devices need to be to mimic human readable symbols like numerals.

And so an idea was born.

Unity Enabled Nixie Tube

Combine Revolver functionality with Nixie tube intricacy. That evening I went home a built a model of a tube in Blender, imported into Unity, added a bit of emission and lighting and voila, there is was.

For shits and giggles, I took the tube and combined it with another hacking mini-game project I had been working on as a proof of concept of sorts.

Now its time to turn it into a toolkit. I have been working quite a bit with Unity Editor Scripting, so as part of this tool I will build a Unity editor interface that will allow easy customization of Nixie including variable character counts and modes like animator, ticker, and input field.


Image Credits:

Nixie GIF: By Hellbus - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Closeup 2: anachrocomputer, Youtube (

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