Game Development

Simplifying Game Development with Component-Based Architecture in Unity

Build leaner, meaner games in Unity. Discover powerful component-based approaches beyond overloaded ECS.

Moises Pirela
March 19, 2024
illustration for outsourcing


In the ever-changing world of modern game development, the traditional Entity Component System (ECS) has emerged as a powerful approach to faster game development and is celebrated for its emphasis on data-oriented design and parallel processing. This methodology finds its sweet spot in larger and more intricate game projects, where its optimization for performance on a grand scale shines. The traditional ECS becomes a linchpin, tasked with managing vast quantities of entities and intricate systems.

Challenges in Smaller Game Development

However, as the focus shifts to smaller games, the story takes a nuanced turn. Implementing a traditional ECS in these scenarios may introduce an unexpected burden of complexity. The meticulous design and intricate setup required for a full-scale ECS might seem to outweigh the benefits, especially in situations where game complexity remains relatively low. Herein lies the challenge—smaller games often demand agility, swift implementation times, and a nimble, lightweight architecture.

Object-Oriented Programming in Game Development

In the world of game development, Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) comes with its own set of challenges, particularly in smaller projects. The encapsulation of behavior within individual objects can lead to unwieldy class hierarchies, and the "diamond problem" may rear its head, creating ambiguity and complicating code maintenance. It is in this context that a more hybrid approach becomes increasingly appealing.

Flexible Approaches as lightweight ECS Alternatives

A hybrid approach, blending elements of OOP with data-oriented principles, offers a pragmatic solution for smaller games. This approach allows developers to harness the benefits of OOP for encapsulating behavior while embracing the efficiency and performance gains associated with data-oriented design. It's a strategic fusion that aligns with the requirements of smaller projects, enabling developers to strike a balance between efficiency and scalability.

As the intricacies of a traditional ECS may become a hindrance in smaller game development, developers often find themselves seeking more pragmatic and streamlined solutions. The key is to strike a delicate balance—retaining the efficiency and performance benefits while mitigating potential complexities. In the realm of smaller games, where rapid iteration and lightweight architecture take precedence, a hybrid approach emerges as the instrumental choice. In essence, while a traditional ECS stands tall in specific contexts, its viability in smaller game development hinges on navigating the delicate equilibrium between its benefits and potential complexities.

An Example Solution

In the upcoming segment, we'll dive into a practical exploration of the hybrid approach we've discussed. Here, we blend the utility of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) with the optimization capabilities of data-oriented design. Follow along as we navigate through complexities, providing a solution attuned to the needs of smaller game projects. The journey unfolds as we bridge the gap between ECS, OOP, and a pragmatic hybrid approach, offering insights that resonate with developers wrestling with the intricacies of both ECS and traditional paradigms.

Getting Started with Component-Based Architecture in Unity

1. Creating an Interface and Enum:

Begin by establishing an enum for component types and a straightforward interface. This interface manages entity ownership, component type, and a performance-oriented ticking mechanism.

2. Implementing a Component:

It's important to note that the HealthComponent showcased here is just an initial example. In this architecture, components can represent any aspect of an entity's behavior. They encapsulate specific functionalities, and the Tick method exemplifies the behavior of this health-related component. Components, in general, serve as building blocks that describe various behaviors within an entity, providing a modular and extensible structure for game development.

How Components Live in Entities

1. Creating the Entity Class:

Entities, in this context, are straightforward representations. Each entity is essentially a collection of components identified by its unique ID. The Entity class, with its minimalistic structure holding only an ID, acts as a reference point for coordinating and managing the diverse components that define the behavior of a game entity. The ID ensures a distinct identifier for each entity, facilitating efficient organization and interaction within the game architecture.

2. Building World, EntityContainer, and ComponentArray:


The World, EntityContainer, and ComponentArray take center stage. The World class sets constants, EntityContainer manages entities and component arrays in a streamlined manner.

The abstract class ComponentArray dictates the rules. The generic ComponentArray class brings forth specifics, playing in harmony with the interface for a performance-driven collaboration.

3. Initializing Components and Entities:

The CreateEntity process generates entities, assigns unique identities, and adds the relevant components. The RemoveEntity process efficiently dismantles entities, recycling their identities for memory efficiency.

4. Testing and Running the Framework:

Optimize the World script for testing. Introduce a player example as the test scenario, spawning entities from a GameObject controlled by the World script. Observe entities coming to life, components executing, and the framework adeptly handling creation and updates.


This tutorial equips you with the tools to establish a versatile and efficient component-based architecture in Unity. We began by navigating the intricacies of traditional Entity Component Systems (ECS) and Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), recognizing their strengths and limitations in various game development contexts.

The focal point shifted towards smaller games, where the challenge lies in balancing agility, swift implementation times, and a nimble, lightweight architecture. Traditional ECS, optimized for larger projects, may introduce unexpected complexities in smaller endeavors. Simultaneously, Object-Oriented Programming, while powerful, can lead to unwieldy class hierarchies.

The solution presented is a hybrid approach, seamlessly blending the strengths of OOP with the performance gains of data-oriented design. This pragmatic fusion allows developers to harness the benefits of OOP for encapsulating behavior while ensuring efficiency and scalability through data-oriented principles.

The tutorial delved into practical implementations, showcasing the creation of components, entities, and a streamlined world management system. The health component served as an illustrative example, emphasizing that components can represent any aspect of an entity's behavior within this modular architecture.

Entities, simple collections of components identified by unique IDs, provide a clear and extensible structure for game development. The `CreateEntity` and `RemoveEntity` methods were dissected, illustrating the steps involved in entity creation, assignment of unique IDs, addition/removal of components, and efficient recycling of entity IDs for memory optimization.

By adopting this hybrid approach, Unity game developers can strike a delicate balance between efficiency and simplicity in smaller projects. The architecture allows for rapid iteration, lightweight design, and enhanced performance—a strategic choice that simplifies game development while providing the flexibility needed to meet the unique demands of various projects.

Whether you find traditional ECS overwhelming or conventional OOP leading to unwieldy class structures, this hybrid approach stands as a pragmatic solution. It facilitates the creation and administration of entities with diverse components, refining game development and boosting performance. Dive into the source code for hands-on exploration and enjoy coding!


We are Azumo
and we get it

We understand the struggle of finding the right software development team to build your service or solution.

Since our founding in 2016 we have heard countless horror stories of the vanishing developer, the never-ending late night conference calls with the offshore dev team, and the mounting frustration of dealing with buggy code, missed deadlines and poor communication. We built Azumo to solve those problems and offer you more. We deliver well trained, senior developers, excited to work, communicate and build software together that will advance your business.

Want to see how we can deliver for you?

schedule my call

Benefits You Can Expect

Release software features faster and maintain apps with Azumo. Our developers are not freelancers and we are not a marketplace. We take pride in our work and seat dedicated Azumo engineers with you who take ownership of the project and create valuable solutions for you.

Industry Experts

Businesses across industries trust Azumo. Our expertise spans industries from healthcare, finance, retail, e-commerce, media, education, manufacturing and more.

Illustration of globe for technology nearshore software development outsourcing

Real-Time Collaboration

Enjoy seamless collaboration with our time zone-aligned developers. Collaborate, brainstorm, and share feedback easily during your working hours.

vCTO Solution Illustration

Boost Velocity

Increase your development speed. Scale your team up or down as you need with confidence, so you can meet deadlines and market demand without compromise.

Illustration of bullseye for technology nearshore software development outsourcing

Agile Approach

We adhere to strict project management principles that guarantee outstanding software development results.

Quality Code

Benefits from our commitment to quality. Our developers receive continuous training, so they can deliver top-notch code.

Flexible Models

Our engagement models allow you to tailor our services to your budget, so you get the most value for your investment.

Client Testimonials


Azumo has been great to work with. Their team has impressed us with their professionalism and capacity. We have a mature and sophisticated tech stack, and they were able to jump in and rapidly make valuable contributions.

Drew Heidgerken
Director of Engineering

We worked with Azumo to help us staff up our custom software platform redevelopment efforts and they delivered everything we needed.

James Wilson
Discovery Channel

The work was highly complicated and required a lot of planning, engineering, and customization. Their development knowledge is impressive.

Discovery Channel
Costa Constantinou
Senior Product Manager

Azumo helped my team with the rapid development of a standalone app at Twitter and were incredibly thorough and detail oriented, resulting in a very solid product.

Seth Harris
Senior Program Manager

So much of a successful Cloud development project is the listening. The Azumo team listens. They clearly understood the request and quickly provided solid answers.

Matt Sutton
Head of Product
Bento for Business

Azumo came in with a dedicated team that quickly grasped our problem and designed and built our data integration solution. They delivered a clearer picture for our business in a timeframe I didn’t think was possible.

Bento for Business
Sean Anderson
Chief Operating Officer

How it Works

schedule my call

Step 1: Schedule your call

Find a time convenient for you to discuss your needs and goals

Step 2: We review the details

We estimate the effort, design the team, and propose a solution for you to collaborate.

Step 3: Design, Build, Launch, Maintain

Seamlessly partner with us to confidently build software nearshore

We Deliver Every Sprint

Icon illustrating the advantage of time zone-aligned software developers from Azumo, ensuring work hours synchronized with client schedules.

Time Zome Aligned

Our nearshore developers collaborate with you throughout your working day.

Icon showcasing the advantage of hiring expert engineers from Azumo for software development services.

Experienced Engineers

We hire mid-career software development professionals and invest in them.

Icon symbolizing how Azumo's software developers prioritize honest, English-always communication for building quality software.

Transparent Communication

Good software is built on top of honest, english-always communication.

Icon representing how Azumo's developers enhance velocity by approaching software development with a problem solver's mindset.

Build Like Owners

We boost velocity by taking a problem solvers approach to software development.

Icon illustrating how Azumo's quality assurance process ensures the delivery of reliable, working code for every project.

Expect Consistent Results

Our internal quality assurance process ensures we push good working code.

Icon depicting how Azumo follows strict project management principles to stay aligned with your goals throughout the development process.

Agile Project Management

We follow strict project management principles so we remain aligned to your goals