Sunday, November 20, 2016

November updates

This is just a quick update on what I've been up to this month. There were a couple of unexpected events that messed up my original plans a bit, but still I managed to move a step forward.


I went to Mobilization and I'm going to Droidcon Poland in three weeks. I have to say that I really like such events, not only for the sake of presentations, but also for their networking value. Every time I go somewhere I meet my colleagues and their work mates, and discussing with them often brings me more value than what the speaker has to offer. At some point I was even wondering why someone doesn't organize meetings for people from various companies during which they could discuss how they handle specific programming aspects, like storing data or testing. Perhaps I'll do it some day.

Learning Unity

I got a notification that Udemy had a huge discount on a nice Unity course so I bought it. It cost me 12 €, but the price goes up every day, so you'd better hurry up if you're interested. I haven't started watching the lessons yet, but with the coming Christmas period, I'm hoping to be able to give it a try. I'll let you know how it goes.

Facebook Gallery

Remember my Facebook Gallery template app? No? Well, some time ago I made a couple of apps using the same template that I'd created. Each app was basically a gallery of images from a specific Facebook channel/profile. You could also adjust the theme, strings, icons, etc. for them. See Banksy for example.
My plan for the nearest future is to refresh the project a bit and try to sell the code on some portal. I've already done a bit of refactoring: I updated the libraries, I switched from Picasso to Glide and I started working on Activity transitions to make it look nicer. There's still a lot to be done, but I'm hoping to finish before the end of the year.
For the next part, I did a quick research on where I could try to sell the template. It turns out that there aren't many sites dedicated to it. I found Chupamobile, SellMyApp and CodeCanyon. The first two look somewhat sketchy though, so I'll probably go with CodeCanyon in the end. They check every submission manually, they have user comments and ratings, and they are open about how many people bought an app. The only thing that worries me is that their suggested prices are quite low (<$20). I don't know why people decide to post their apps that required months of work for such a price. Perhaps buyers choose the more expensive extended license?
If you have any experience with selling your code to people, let me know in the comments. I'll be grateful for any advice.


That's pretty much what's going on at the moment. My priority is to finish the Facebook Gallery app. In the meantime, I'll be watching an occasional Unity lesson. Starting next year, I want to commit more time to game development, because that's what excites me the most, even though it might not be the most lucrative choice. I'd like to polish my Blobby Volley, but that's a whole different subject and I won't go into it now.
I hope to see you next time with more progress updates and news. Peace.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Indie game developer interview: Maciej Targoni

As announced in my previous post, I had a great pleasure of interviewing Maciej Targoni, the author of best selling games: Oo, Hook and Klocki. He shares his work methods, tools, design techniques, and other cool stuff. I hope you enjoy it.


Bartek: Tell us something about yourself. Who are you? Where do you live? What do you do in life?

Maciej: My name is Maciej Targoni. Right now I'm living in Poznań, Poland. I develop puzzle games for a living :)

Bartek: How did you start your adventure with creating games?

Maciej: I decided that I wanted to learn programming and game design. So I learned from scratch, without any skills or school :)

Bartek: Did you study anything computer/game related?

Maciej: Nope.

Bartek: Did you create your first game as a side project or was it a full-time commitment? How were you earning money during that time?

Maciej: I had a part time job.

Bartek: How did you learn how to create games? What resources were you using (websites, books, etc.)? How long did it take you to do it?

Maciej: I use Google. Every time I have any problem, I just look for an answer. I did it while learning programming, drawing and game design skills.


Bartek: What libraries/frameworks do you use?

Maciej: I use Unity and Construct2D for prototyping.

Bartek: Why did you choose Unity and Construct2D? Do you have any experience with other engines/tools?

Maciej: I have some experience with CoronaSdk. Unity has the biggest community, lots of assets, it's easy and you can export a game to multiple platforms.

Bartek: What's the difference between Unity and Construct2D? Why don't you just use one of them?

Maciej: I use Unity most of the time. Construct is just for prototyping or small HTML5 projects.

Bartek: Where do you take game ideas from? How do you know if they have a chance to be successful?

Maciej: I make a lot of prototypes. Most of the time it takes me 10 projects to pick the right one.

Bartek: Where do you get resources from (graphics, sounds, music)?

Maciej: I make them myself. Sounds and music are made by Wojciech Wasiak.

Bartek: How did you start your cooperation with Wojciech Wasiak? Do you know him personally?

Maciej: After I'd posted a trailer of my first game "oO", he sent me an email with his work. I liked it a lot, so we started working together. We still haven't met :)

Bartek: How much did you pay for the music for your games?

Maciej: $300 - $1000.


Bartek: What other programming tools do you use?

Maciej: Just Dropbox and tools delivered with Unity.

Bartek: Do you use any tools from Unity Asset Store?

Maciej: 2dToolkit, DOTtween, ProBuilder, Master Audio, PoolManager.

Bartek: How long does is take you to make a single game?

Maciej: 4 months prototyping and looking for a fresh idea. And about 8 months to make a game. So one game every year.

Bartek: How do you design your levels? Do you do it by hand or do you build some helper tools first?

Maciej: I build them mostly by hand. I like to take it slow and let my unconsciousness do the work for me ;)

Bartek: How much production time does level design take? Is it a large part?

Maciej: I make about 1-3 levels a day.

Bartek: Have you considered outsourcing some of the work or partnering up with other people?

Maciej: Sure, next year I want to make something bigger with Michał Pawłowski ("Hamster On Coke").


Bartek: How do you test your games? What devices/tools do you use for it?

Maciej: Just a few phones for testing :)

Bartek: How much are you making on your apps?

Maciej: I make around $10k - $100k a year. Depends on the game.

Bartek: What's your income distribution among different platforms? What's your income percentage from Android, iOS, Steam and other platforms?

Maciej: For every game it is different. But a total revenue splits almost equally.

Bartek: How do you monetize your apps and why did you choose this model?

Maciej: I sell premium games for $1. I hate ads and in-apps, that is the only reason why :)

Bartek: How did you manage to make people pay for your games in the first place? It's very difficult to make people download your game even if it's free...

Maciej: I publish a demo on Kongregate and send some emails to the press. I try to make unique-looking games. That helps a lot with being discovered.

Bartek: Do you market your games in any way, e.g. through reviews, Adwords, Facebook ads, etc.?

Maciej: Not really.

Bartek: Which one of your games is the most successful and why?

Maciej: Hook - has most game-plays.

Bartek: Do you use any marketing techniques or ASO to promote your games?

Maciej: Nope, just improv.

Bartek: What are your favourite mobile games/apps?

Maciej: Uber ;)

Bartek: What game development blogs/sites do you read regularly?

Maciej: Extra Credits.

Bartek: What are your plans for the future? What do you want to create/achieve?

Maciej: Right now I'm learning videography. I want to make a short documentary.

Bartek: What's your documetary about? Can you reveal more details?

Maciej: We are going to Portugal as So we will make some videos about travel/surfing/skateboarding :)

Bartek: What advice would you give to other developers (something that you wish you had known before yourself)?

Maciej: Learn from other games and developers, but don't follow them. Make something unique.

Bartek: What do you think is the most difficult when trying to make a successful game?

Maciej: Trying to be unique and not following trends. Its scary and risky, but for me worth pursuing.

Bartek: Where can people find you on the Internet?