How to Make A Game App Like Angry Birds in 5 Simple Steps

Post updated August 13, 2015 – We added more technical tutorials and current 2015 market information.

Table of Contents

Newest Angry Birds release

Ever wondered how to make a game app? It’s not surprising. Angry Birds, the mobile app that has grossed over a billion dollars and is stupidly addictive, has become a cultural phenomenon. Even adults are obsessed with the game and have a hard time breaking away from it once they start playing.

When you think about how many people are searching for new apps each day, you can see how quickly that money can add up if you create a popular paid app.

Rovio, the creator of Angry Birds, has also built a successful franchise by spinning off numerous versions of the original game. In the process, it has become a household name and they make millions with licensing deals.

Don’t lie, I know you have some Angry Birds underwear.

But I digress…

So if you want to know how to make a game app like Angry Birds, this post will give you the exact process on how to make your own version.

More importantly, I will show to a framework that you can use to research any app and find out what the developer is doing to make it successful.

Regardless if you create your own version of Angry Birds or not, you will have the basic education that you need to identify new app opportunities.

Step 1: Market Research

Before we dive into how to emulate this success, a word of caution…

Original Ideas with Copied Gaming Logic (Beware)

Be sure that you are not straight up copying another idea without realizing it. For example, don’t just replace the birds in Angry Birds with Irate Monkeys.

…or Disgruntled Goats. Yeah, you know what I mean.

If you have played a lot of video games over the years, it may be easy to mix and mingle other ideas that have already been done.

Try to be creative and think outside of the box.

The goal is to learn from the original game, but make something that is even better. That is good for your players and good for business.

You won’t generate the income you are looking for by making a “me too” game. Even Rovio has made very different versions like Angry Birds 2, Angry Birds Epic and of course, Angry Birds Star Wars.

how to make a game app - Variations

This is a common practice among successful apps. If you don’t believe me, read this post to get 20 examples of game sequels.

Also make sure your idea isn’t so complex that the Average Joe couldn’t play the game. You want something with mass market appeal and not a game that only rocket scientists can play.

Angry Birds was first to market with their overall game structure and relies less on the creative side and more on the actual game play – get creative in how you design your game so that people keep coming back and have to build up a skill that requires time and play.

BTW, if you think physics games like Angry Birds are cool, but you really want to create casino games, be sure to read this post on the best casino game genre we have ever developed games for.

Alright, now that we understand each other, I’m going to break down the process and show you how to research the success of Angry Birds, so you can apply when they are doing to your app.

Study the Game and Similar Apps

The first thing that you want to do is to actually download Angry Birds, if you haven’t already. Play it for awhile and figure out what makes the game successful.

Yes, you probably have to spend some money.

$0.99, oh no.

If you really are serious about making a successful game, you need to spend some money and do it right. Set a budget and buy all of the best games within that budget.

One place that you can find games similar to Angry Birds is AppCrawlr. It doesn’t have to be a huge budget, start with $25 and see how far that gets you.
how to make a game app - App review site for games

We typically recommend being ready to spend $100 to do proper market research if you want to make a game app.

But spend what you feel is right for you to properly understand the market. Here are a few things to look for when you play these games…

Game Mechanics

Game components

Photo: Angry Birds 2 screenshot

As you are playing the game, think about what makes the game fun. What about the game mechanics keeps you playing?

…or why did you stop playing?

Also pay attention to things like:

  • How they promote social sharing
  • Player tutorials
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Fun subplots
  • A gameplay map so players can measure progress
  • Action and movement during gameplay

But don’t limit yourself to just these characteristics.

Write down anything that you notice.

Due Diligence on Existing Games

One thing that you can do to find potential bugs in Angry Birds and other similar games, is to read the reviews for these apps. This is called Review Mining and it can literally be a gold mine of information for people who take the time to go through the process.

It can take awhile, but it will give you a lot of insights into what people enjoy about the game and what people hate. This will help you craft your app into exactly what people are looking for and will enjoy.

To see reviews in iTunes, search for the app you are looking for on the App Store and look at the reviews.
Link to game reviews

The process is similar on Google Play. Head over to the website and check out the reviews of your target app.
Reviews of game on Google Play

Have your notebook handy and jot down things that you discover through this process. You can also estimate the number of downloads these apps get by using an App Intelligence platform like Apptopia.

This will allow you to see which apps are doing well and which ones aren’t. A game may look successful from the outside, but the estimated download numbers may tell a different story.

Step 2: Understand the Technical Steps Behind How to Make A Game App

Now that you have done your homework, it is time to get into how to make the game. Here the the technical steps that you will have to go through to get started with game development…

Outsource What You Don’t Know

Before we dig too deep, I think it’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily have to build an app yourself, especially if you are technically challenged. There are a variety of programmers online who would be glad to build the app for you for a fee.

You can always find a developer to create an app like Angry Birds, so you can build your passive income app empire.
I remember when Facebook came out and I thought it would be pretty sweet to learn PHP so that I could build my own social network.

Obviously that didn’t pan out.

Going through that process, however, was extremely helpful in understanding exactly what I needed to ask for and how programmers went through the process. There is a lot of coding and technology involved in building an app, so it may make more sense for you to hire this task out to someone on a freelancing site such as Upwork.

There are some very competent professionals on these sites who are reasonably priced. If you go down this road, check out their feedback and portfolio before hiring them.

Leveraging App Blueprints

There is also no reason that you have to start from scratch. By using existing app code, you can drastically cut your development time and cost.

They are also known as Source Code or App Templates. This is how many people inside Bluecloud Select got their start and continue to be successful today.

Do some research and find a good App Blueprint that you can use as your foundation. Remember, you don’t have to do it all yourself, leverage existing code!


Wireframe the Game


App for creating wireframe
Here’s the exciting part! This is where your game really starts to come to life.

Take everything you have learned in the research process and create a wireframe of how your Angry Birds-like game will work.

Here are some tools that can help you create your first wireframe mockup. Try them out and see which one works best for your personality and budget.

These solutions have tutorials that will show you to use their product, so be sure to take advantage of their documentation.

Programming Meets Design

Once you have the wireframes designed, the programming part enters the picture. Again, you can outsource this part or do it yourself using Swift. This would require you to learn some programming language and skills if you don’t already know that information.

For more creative types, this part may be quite difficult which is why outsourcing may be attractive.

If you do lean more towards the creative side of game design, here is quick overview of how the coding process works…

You will need to test your app in the iPhone Simulator – which runs an instance of an iPhone on your computer and creates a simulated version of your app.

Totally sweet.

You will simply load your app and test it.

This is where you are looking for glitches and bugs that could derail your app. Use it in as many ways as you can imagine a customer would. You can also export the application to your phone as a test environment if you want to see it on the actual device.

Once you have worked out all of the kinks, you will need to shell out a bit of cash. There is a yearly member fee of $99 that you have to pay to load an app into iTunes (this falls under the umbrella of the developer account).

After you pay, others in the community can test your app and see if they run into any problems. Remember that a lot of these people in the app community are self appointed “geeks” so they are happy to mess around with your new creation to see how it works.

You will then have to submit your app for approval to iTunes. The approval process may take some time, so be patient while the team looks over your new baby.

To see the average App Store review times, check out this site.

Once your new app shows up on iTunes, you are now the proud owner of your own creation!

For more information about the entire process of how to make a game app, take a look at the developer area on the Apple website as it will walk you through each stage of the process in depth, as well as some of our favorite game builder software, Buildbox.

If You are Doing the Coding Yourself

If you don’t have the money to outsource the process or you want to dig into the code yourself when learning how to make a game app, the next step is to download the software development kit for the iPhone. The download is huge (4GB or something) so make sure you have enough space on your computer and time to download it.

You will then need to download Xcode. According to Apple, this is the “complete developer toolset for creating Mac, iPhone and iPad apps including Xcode IDE, performance analysis tools, iOS Simulator and the latest Mac OS X and iOS SDKs.”

Xcode download

Photo: Apple Developer website screenshot

Xcode is the kind of thing where you look at it and feel overwhelmed, then you start using it and realize how sweet it is.
Now that you have your app drawn out on paper, you need to develop it using the templates in the SDK.

You may have used Photoshop as part of your design process as well. There are many templates available within the SDK, so you should have plenty to choose from.

Again, this is highly simplified, but it’s a learning process. You’ll figure it out as you go.

Definitely reach out to developers in the communities you have joined.

If this is all getting a little too complex, you may have to scale it back a little. Read this blog post on the easiest way to make a game app.

That will get you up and running with a game in as little as a few minutes. Once you get that process down, you can come back to making a game like Angry Birds.

Side Note: If you are serious about developing, you need to invest in a Mac. As the iPhone is a product of Apple, it uses a variation of the Mac OS. Since iPhone development tools are only available to Mac users, you will likely need a Mac to get it into the iTunes store.

I’ve used the SDK on PC’s and it’s just not comparable to running it on my iMac. The interfaces and overall structure really can’t keep up and the integrations are weird.

Step 3: Register as a Developer

The next part of the process is registering as an Apple developer. In order to work with the SDK and iTunes Connect, you will need to sign up as an Apple developer here. You can register for free by filling out some information and agreeing to their terms.
Apple Developer Program
This area of the Apple website has tons of useful information to guide you through the process of developing an app. There are development tools to create apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch including an interface builder and iOS Simulator.

It’s going to ask you for things like your company name and EIN number so make sure you have a company that you can apply under. If you are an individual you can use your Social Security number.

One thing to note: Once you set this up, you can’t change it, so make sure you do it right the first time and choose the name you want.

The iOS programming guide explains how to implement the features of the iPad into your app. You can also use the iOS Human Interface which will help you to design a great user experience.

There is sample code available so that you understand how to properly build your app using their technology. This is a HUGE improvement from the original Apple iPhone developer kit releases and actually makes it feasible to get up and running in one day.

Mess around with it and understand how the interface works, along with functionality like swiping, user interface, and speed.

Getting into the game in the mobile app market is tough at first and you have to take it one step at a time. Don’t miss out on these Common Mistakes That New App Developers Make that could save you time and money.

Step 4: Find a Support Community

This might not be a technical setup per se, but you should find a support community that will help you with any roadblocks that you hit along the way.

You can join a Meetup group, a developer forum, find some developer friends on Twitter or join a community like Bluecloud Select.
App developer community

You may want to skip this step, but it is vital to your success. If you join Bluecloud Select now, you can get a trial for just $1.

Having friends that you can go to for advice and support can help you not only get over technical problems, but they can also provide moral support when you are frustrated or lose motivation.

Don’t overlook this step. Your success or failure depends on it.

You are the average of the people you hang out with.


Step 5: Action Checklist

Now that you understand the process, here is a quick summary of what you have to do right now.

  1. Commit to the process of building an app like Angry Birds. Your research may tell you that it is not a good idea, but you have to be fully committed to development process, to get to that point.
  2. Download and play the different versions of Angry Birds and similar games.
  3. Take notes on what those games do well and where you see opportunities for improvement.
  4. Research download numbers and reviews to find bugs and possible new features.
  5. Wireframe your game so you know exactly how the gameplay will flow.
  6. Look for an App Blueprint that you can build on to create your game.
  7. Find outsourced talent to cover the skills that you don’t have.
  8. Get support from a developer community to help you on your journey.
  9. Sign up for your developer account and launch your game!


That’s how it’s done!

It’s not easy obviously, but this checklist will give you the roadmap that you can use to understand the entire development process.

Now it’s time for you to take action. 

Click here to start your journey with your first game (no coding experience required)!

Second step is to join our Bluecloud Select community:

If you join now, you will get a trial for just $1. Click here to get inside
Developer group comments



  • Alexis Brille July 2, 2011

    A beautifully written starter’s guide for those interested in #iPhone programming; and it describes everything that one needs to know to get started.

    These 2 lines from the article say it all:

    “Make sure your idea is not so complex that your Average Joe couldn’t play the game.”

    “[…] get creative in how you design your game so that people keep coming back and have to build up a skill that requires time and play.”

    May I also elaborate on the design process that was mentioned in the outsourcing section of the article, that the visual and audio effects incorporated in the Angry Birds game increase the level of immersion for the user; this is one of the other factors that keeps the game addicting, aside from the ones discussed in prior.

    Continuing on the topic of “mass market appeal” (I love this term) from the article, the visual and audio effects also need to be designed in a way where it would appeal to a notable amount of audience.

    Regarding the statement, “Grown adults are obsessed with the game”, the visual and audio effects may also have a significant contribution since the graphics and sound effects were not too childish or too adult-oriented, thus, appealing to a wider market.

    Just a great article.


  • Laura Zickus August 11, 2011

    Excellent article with valuable insight. As a web developer, I have been wanting to move outside my comfort zone and develop an app for awhile now and can’t decide if I want to outsource or learn a whole new language. Am kind of opting for the outsourcing at this point. Did you ever post a list of your contacts for app people?

  • Carter Thomas Carter August 12, 2011


    I faced the same problem with some advanced PHP and Jquery when dealing with Wordpress. It can be very liberating to outsource, but it’s hard to give up that piece of the project. The biggest hurdle is to find someone you trust since as a developer you hold your work to the highest standards.

    I have a good relationship with a developer team and I’m going to email introduce you. Please keep me in the loop and I’ll help however I can. I have a few other people I can introduce you to if needed.


  • Laura Zickus August 12, 2011

    Thanks so much Carter, I appreciate the introduction. Will keep you posted!

  • iPhone App Creator November 4, 2011

    Pretty component of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to claim that I acquire actually enjoyed account your weblog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing on your feeds or even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  • Sahil Aggarwal March 11, 2012

    Very informative article, I am very interested in developing an ‘app’ and this article as well as many others on this website have opened up my mind in the costs and difficulties of creating one. I would like to get into contact with developers and find out as much as possible about apps and hopefully release one to google play and the app store.

  • ciaran hughes March 14, 2012

    I’ve developed relationships with some app people around the country – I’m going to start keeping a list of their info on my posts if anyone is interested in getting some work done.

    I would consider myself very technology minded but having youtubed how to build your own app I think for the first time I feel it would go over my head :)

    I am looking to get some apps made up.. can you help me out by linking me or sending to my email, ones that are good at creating a sports minded arcade game as well as action and a soundboard,

    Thanks very much.

  • Sahil Aggarwal March 15, 2012

    Hi Ciaran do you think you could give me these app people’s contacts also try contacting Icon games, they are a small game development business for ios,PSP and other platforms.

  • Kees t'Sas March 23, 2012

    Carter –
    I really enjoyed this article. It definitely puts in perspective the road to becoming an app developer. I had a few questions regarding your connections with trusted iPhone app developers, and am wondering if you could email me some of their contact information/talk more about app development personally.

  • Chad April 9, 2012


    First off, great article. I have one question that I wanted to ask- if you register as an “individual” developer and want to charge for your app, do you need to obtain an EIN? You mentioned that you can just use your SSN, however, just wanted to clarify. Also, is there any benefit to using an EIN vs. SSN? From what I have researched, people suggest setting up a seperate banking account to keep your app dollars seperate from your personal dollars. Any insight would be much appreciated.


  • Carter Thomas Carter April 9, 2012

    Hey Chad,

    Good questions. Here are the answers:

    1. You do not need an EIN to charge or to collect ad revenue. You can have that come straight to your personal bank account and count it as income for tax purposes.

    2. There are two benefits. The first is as you said – organizational. Having an EIN and company allows you to keep your revenue separate from your SSN. By the same token, it gives you a legal shield between you and your personal assets. From Apple’s standpoint, there’s no difference. It’s kind of the difference between having a sole proprietorship vs a single owner LLC or something like that.

    The second benefit is how you appear in the app store. As a SSN/individual, you’re going to look like an individual in the store (Your Name as the seller). You can do a Copyright for another company, but you can’t change your own name. If you have the EIN, you’ll be able to use whatever that company name is. So if you start an LLC and call it Chad’s Rad Apps LLC that’s what will appear in the app store. More of a brand move, especially for long term app development.

    Hope that helps.


  • David Blakeslee May 29, 2012

    I can help anyone who wants to develop an app. Please fill free to contact me for a consultation

  • bowen July 3, 2012

    hello i want to make a game

  • App Mockup Tools September 11, 2012

    You can start with Apple Keynote with makes easy app prototypes. Just use some pre-designed fully editable iOS GUI Element Kits: Or even strt by drawing it out first:

  • Anil September 30, 2012

    Thnxx for this grt articl.but sir is it a secure that the app that i make will be mine not of company?
    Sir i have a game idea but i am not sure with whom i share it . I don’t have more knowledge about how to share a app and i am of 17.
    So what should i do sir?

  • Adam November 12, 2012

    Hello all. 
    I’ve been developing a couple of games for the app store for about two months now and I’m ready to move onto the next step of the development process. I have a couple questions. 
    1. I want to have a company to upload my games under and I’m curious as to how to go about getting that started. I’m Canadian so I don’t think I can have an EIN number because Canada does not collaborate with the IRS. What are the steps as a Canadian to get that sort of company started? And will it cost me any money?
    2. Is there any way for me to test a programmer before hiring them to see if they can handle the type of programming I require?
    An info would be greatly appreciated! Hopefully see you all in the app store soon.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas November 12, 2012

    Hey Adam,

    I’m not entirely sure about Canada’s onboarding process other than they require different contracts than the USA. If you are just a developer who’s looking to get started, register as an individual, not a company. In USA you only need to provide a social security number – not sure what the equivalent is in Canada. It looks like you may have to incorporate (though this is a little dated):

    Developer Enrollment in Canada

    2. Sort of, yeah. You can do small pilot projects to see how they work. Your best bet is to see their existing portfolio – you’ll be able to quickly see what kind of programmer they are.

    Good luck!


  • Eric November 17, 2012

    Great article…at this point, though, I am looking for someone to trust with two apps. One very simple (and I probably could learn enough code to do it myself) and one only slightly more complex. Did you ever come up with a ‘trusted’ list?

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas November 19, 2012

    Eric – check the bottom of the website. There’s a Mobile Apps Developer list. That’s a good place to start.


  • Brittney December 20, 2012

    Carter, do you have any advice as far as marking an app? I currently have an app in the App Store, but I am struggling with getting a buzz going.

  • Lana December 26, 2012

    DO you have videos where you can teach someone like me, I’m just starting, well, haven’t started, I want to start,but do you have videos or suggestions on how I can develope my own app? Thanks Carter

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas December 27, 2012

    Hey Lana,

    At the bottom of my How Much Does It Cost To Develop An App post, I put some links to tutorial programs you can sign up for. It might be what you’re looking for.

    Good luck!


  • Rick Mcleod January 26, 2013

    Hi, i’m really looking at creating an app game, i’ve got what i feel is a game which is similar to tetris as it needs no stages etc added, what would you suggest the stages, and if i’m to outsource the all the work how would you best tackle this?

  • charles January 28, 2013

    I have a brilliant idea for a app game but i am in need of game developers. I would appreciate it if you could forward a list of trusted developers to me at please and thank you

  • Dan February 23, 2013

    Hi Carter,
    My son has an idea for an app….yes I know you hear this all the time! I am not all that app saavy, but he has it all done on “wire frame”. He has a power point presentation that shows the game and all the “pages”. I have paid to trademark the name of the game. It is now at the stage of needing app development..coding? He has contacted several companies and has had seveal meetings. We live in the SF Bay Area. So far, all have said it is a great idea with potential but the cost to develop is very costly. Can you point us in the direction of app developers who may be a little more “hungry”. That is willing to work for a piece of the company, the project. Perhaps tell us how we might find college student app developers who might want to take on a “class” project. Thanks for any and all help Carter. Dan

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 26, 2013

    Hey Dan,

    Have you thought about something like Kickstarter? Instead of trying to find someone to build it, you might have more luck finding the money to pay someone who’s really good to build it. Everyone wins in that situation.

    Good luck!


  • Shola March 11, 2013

    Hello Carter,

    Thanks for the info on your blog, I took time to read all the replies and comments. Well, I have some game ideas that i want to develop to app, that should be compatible for different OS, android, IPAD, Blacberry,thereby creating a mass market appeal. I need a competent, trustworthy app developer. How can you help, my emails

    Thank you

  • Olivier April 25, 2013

    Hey Carter

    I am little late to the party…. I am also echo the same as other readers.

    I am looking to push an IDEA on an app. Looking a trustworthy developer that can help me create an app.

    Outsourcing is key for at this point,
    Can you email


  • nelvin June 28, 2013

    hello, i want to learn how to build an application, i am very skilled in other computer packages, but i want to create my own app. i dont know how much it would cost me, that’s why i want to find out from you how much it would cost me to learn how to develop my own. pls kindly reply me and let me know how the learning process would be.

  • Kez August 15, 2013

    You’ve only spoken of apple , what about android apps?

  • Ben December 4, 2013

    Very interesting stuff. But obviously for every Angry Birds, there are 99+ games that fail. And the concept of the game isn’t brilliant. What do you think is the biggest hindrance to other games being noticed by gamers?

  • terry February 11, 2014

    Looking for a developer ‘partner’ to code an app game. Get in touch if you would consider partnering. My idea for your coding.

  • Corey February 15, 2014

    Please Send me the contact information of any developers you may know. I would like to start A.S.A.P… (It’s tax season and I will have money on hand and I would like to do something other than have nothing to show for it).

  • pang February 21, 2014

    I love what I am reading here. I have a game ready but I don’t know where to go in terms of the engine company. Where do I go after I develop a game? Please help.

  • Jett March 7, 2014

    Thank you Carter for this information..very interesting to read this article. Now, I know exactly where to register.

  • Andreas June 4, 2014

    Hi Carter,

    You provided a nice information on the apple app making.

    I have a brilliant idea for an utility app, but my area of concerns includes things like because my app idea gonna be one of the kind at this point of time, what can i do to protect my rights?

    secondly is it recommended that i hire an app developer or seek outsource to other developer?

    hopefully we can have further discussion via email.

    shall wait for your email.


  • Kate December 24, 2014

    Hi Carter,

    First off, thanks for putting something out on the web that’s actually useful. This is the most comprehensive walk-through I’ve seen. Just like others have previously mentioned it’s hard to pin-point where to start when you “have an idea” and there are 1,000’s of developers and freelancers out there. I’m definitely interested in reviewing your list of suggested developers. Also, you mentioned using Kickstarter as a way to raise funds to build your app – would that be sort of dangerous showing off your app before it’s built? Someone else could possibly steal your idea and build it quicker….? Interested in your thoughts on this.

  • Dino February 6, 2015

    i have an app game that needs to be made! i want someone who wants to wOrk !! Help ! please is there someone Out there that wants to develope/make this soon to be multimillion dollar game. Thank you. not trying to waste another day.

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas February 6, 2015

    @Dino – you may have more luck posting on Elance to find a developer. I’d recommend you download the ebooks from the blog and get some templates on how to hire.

  • Rob La Pointe August 11, 2015

    Think on this: over $250 million dollars is spent at an app store. In one month. Thats nearly 3 billion alone spent on just purchasing an app! The majority of apps don’t even generate much of a revenue from for-pay downloads; most income comes from advertising and package upgrades. The app field of “igaming” has taken its own path to monetization. Like most app developers, igaming app makers rarely charge to actually download their app – and they don’t need to. Not only are gaming apps some of the most popular apps out there, they are also some of the easiest to monetize. Most importantly, they make cash hand over fist. – Contact us for a free app consultation and find out how to turn your idea into a successful mobile app

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