This is a brazillian website about game development and production. All posts in this site are written in portuguese, but I decided to create this page in english to share the original version of the interview Martin Gonzalez gave to this site on March, 2014.
I hope you enjoy! =)
Interview with Martin Gonzalez
Raphael: Hi Martin! I am very glad you’ve accepted my invitation for this interview. I am sure the readers of this blog will benefit a great deal with the things you have to tell us. So, thank you! First, I would like you to introduce yourself. It would be good to know more about yourself and the work you do.
Martin: Raphael! Thank you for this interview, i hope it to be really helpful to readers. Well, my names is Martin Gonzalez (24 years) and i’m from Argentina. I always loved videogames but also wanted to make them. So i entered in the videogames world in 2010 when i started studying Game Design in “Da Vinci” in my country. Today i’m working in a videogame company called Zupcat, working with Unity3D and i’m planning to start another independent projects. i have 3 games at Google Play and one in iOS, SuperBasketd3D-Crusher Balloons- Horse Rider Rush.
Raphael: What were your first steps in game development?
Martin: As i said before, i entered into the videogame world in 2010 but my really first steps developing was in 2011 where i started my first project “SuperBasket3D” and weeks later “Crusher Balloons”. Thanks to that i learnt thousand of things, experience, contacts, how to improve developing. First, eveyrhing was difficult and complex because i was learning Unity and C# (i never programmed before) but practising and working hard, today every idea i have i can do them.
Raphael: When did you realize that it was possible to make a living working as an indie game developer?
Martin: Sincerely one month ago. I was talking with my girlfriend about my new game “Horse Rider Rush” that it reached more than 10.000+ active users in 2 month and my admob revenue (ads) improved 200%. I was having USD$60 per month and when i released this game, impressions, clicks, downloads, everything rise. Last month (January) with Admob-Appnext-Unity Asset Store i reached USD$389.42 and this month (February) i reached USD$500.
Raphael: Could you tell us what games/assets have you developed so far and where are they being sold?
Martin: I developed in an independent way 3 games
-Crusher Balloons: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.MGDevelopments.CrusherBalloons
-Horse Rider Rush: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=mgdevelopments.horseriderrush
Also, i have several packages on the Asset Store (Unity Market): 3d assets, complete projects (Crusher Balloons project is there too) and more.
I did others under company relationship, and currently we are working in a big game with Square Enix Latam that will be out soon!.
Here is a teaser: http://video.creode.co/littledom-game-teaser-video_136faf662.html
Raphael: That’s nice! Tell us more about your assets, what can the buyer learn with (or use from) each package?
Martin: The really important asset is on the Asset Store and it’s the complete project of Crusher Balloons. Why it’s important? Because it’s a complete-all platforms project where you can start learning how to do a mobile-pc-web-ios game. It’s a template of what the really Crusher Balloons is. Hundred of developers bought it and also rate it with 5 stars because they found on it a special way to start developing games.
Raphael: A lot of people know how to create different sorts of game-related assets, such as audios, 3d models, textures, or script packages but don’t know how to (or don’t have the interest of) create a complete game. Even those people can earn some money using their abilities to create game assets to sell. Could you give us some estimation (or exact charts, if you like) on how much is possible to earn selling assets? What kind of asset do you think is the most profitable (3d models, starter kits…)?
Martin: An interesting question. As i said before, Video Games are like a galaxy. Inside this galaxy you have different worlds like the art world, sound world, programming world, marketing world, managing world and much much more. Lot of people have abilities to do something specific, for example 3d Art (any 3d). So what can those people do? Work on assets packages and sell them to developers who don’t have that ability, and also, programmers can sell codes to help people who dont know anything of programming. So this kind of community where people who, perhaps, dont know anything about games, help others.
The assets will depend on your ability, so if you are an artist, you can do packages of 3d assets, textures, props, animations, characters, etc. If you are a programmer you can make games prototypes like complete projects.
Can you earn something? I will leave here the total amount and a picture which speaks by himself.
Asset Store (All my packages, in total 6 packages):
Total revenue: USD$7463
Raphael: Lets talk about your games now. You have recently launched a new game called Horse Rider Rush, which is already a success. Could you tell us more about the game, how long it took to be developed, how many people were involved, and what was the public reception?
Martin: Horse Rider Rush was my final exam in “Da Vinci” university. First, this project would be a PC race game (also with horses) and the group was me and two partners, after several decisions and little troubles the project changed to Horse Rider Rush, a mobile videogame target to casual people, where i was the programmer, 3d artist and game designer. Successfully Horse Rider Rush pass the final exam with a 10 and a few days after was live on Google Play. The developments was really hard because i was working 8 hours a day with 2 hours more of travelling (subway and train) and when i arrived home, like 8-9 PM i worked hard for 2 month up to 2-3 AM. But the result was better than expected.
Raphael: How do you monetize your games?
Martin: At first, i used only admob banners, after a little research, i improved admob and integrate Appnext, that allow us to show Interstitials (fullscreen ads). There are more ways to improve more the ads network that i will try them in the next update. Also, Horse Rider Rush has a little shop to buy coins or the adblock.
Raphael: Do you think free mobile games with ads are a better way to monetize the game then putting it on a website (like Wooglie, for example)? (and If you don’t mind it would be nice if you could explain how those websites work and how much money you can do publishing games on them, I am sure a lot of people would like to know that)
Martin: First about Wooglie, i dont know much of it. I understand that Wooglie is like a Unity games website, there i have Crusher Balloons. But i dont know if there is a way to monetize and if its good. Free or Paid or Website? It’s an important question that has several answers. From my side i think this:
If you are a known company like EA or Rockstar, sell a game will be a good way to monetize, they are enormous companies that develop great games and people know them, but what happend with an indie developer? A user will see your app (good or bad) the user doesn’t know it and it would be a risk to buy an app that is bad unless you have money to make ads campaigns and spread the game. An indie developer can put it free, with ads that will monetize and you can give them the opportunity to buy an adblock (don’t show ads) and that sale would be like if the user bought your game, but he can play it, test it and enjoy it, and if not you will have revenue from ads.
To make a personal summary:
Big companies, known games: Paid app
Indie game: Ads + Possibility to buy no ads version.
Raphael: When I told my readers that I was going to interview you, they sent me a lot of interesting questions. Would you mind to answer some of them?
Martin: It’s a pleasure! Sure!! Throw them!
Raphael: Awesome! let’s make a round of quick questions then. One of our readers, Bruno Coringa (from RJ), would like to know which books and/or websites you recommend for those who seek a career in game development?
Martin: Hi Bruno! Thanks for asking! Well i’m a little autodidact so i learnt a lot of things searching via web, like Unity Answers (http://answers.unity3d.com/index.html) or Unity Community. Then in the carreer you will learn thousand of things, tricks, protocols and more. People recommended me to read some books but i didn’t have so much time. I know that there are several books that are interesting like “The Art of Game Design”, “Game Development: Using Unity and C#”, and others that teach you how to start, improve and finish your projects.
Raphael: Clayton Lima, from Florianópolis, would like to know what are the best websites to put a game on and earn money with ads?
Martin: Hi Clayton! (Amazing place Florianópolis 🙂 ) Look, i never used websites to put my app/game. I know that Kongregates is growing (http://www.kongregate.com/) and they pay you buy times played (i guess). What i recommend is, if you are planning to start a game, try to target mobile games, this market is growing more and more and you have the opportunity to make a hit in few months. But if you don’t, don’t, don’t be upset, things will go better when you work hard in each project you have.
Raphael: Wadson Freitas, from Minas Gerais, asked the following question: since you’ve decided to follow this career, what was the greatest challenge you had to face? And what did you do?
Martin: Hi Wadson! Nice question. The most challenging part of this carreer was my final exam. Was so hard to work like 20 hours per day, working in a company, in the final exam, and having a girlfriend (:P) But after that amazing challenge i saw how i grew up and that was really satisfying.
Raphael: Hyuuga Lucas, from Santa catarina, would like to know how long did it take for you to finish your first game?
Martin: Hi Lucas! Well my first game was a PC First person basketball videogame that i did it in aprox 1 month. I did everything inside the game (art, programme, game design).. The development was 2-3 weeks and then i had 1 week for testing and fixing bugs.
Raphael: And finally a question that a lot of people sent me: How do you do the marketing for your games?
Martin: That is a really good question! Sadly, to make a campaign and reach a lot of people you need money, if you want something serious (us$1000 or more in campaigns). BUT! There are several ways to let the people know your game.
First things: Mom, Dad, sister, Friends! Spread this link everywhere!!
Then, if you can, put social things in your game, like facebook and twitter to post things with the link of your game.
Other thing called “Cross Promotion” consist on putting ads of other games, the network will not pay you but you will appear in another game ad, so what you get there are new users.
You can go to Android or Ios forums and post your game there and something else, perhaps important to know, Google Play and App Store are not the only markets, it’s Amazon Store, Samsung Store, AppEggs, AppBrain and much more markets where you can distribute your game too!
Raphael: What projects are you working on nowadays? Can we expect a new game soon?
Martin: A new casual game will be arriving at June-July, it’s about a sheep! and running! 😛 I’m working with my girlfriend, she is doing the art and i will code it. Hope you can play it!
Raphael: That was awesome, thanks a lot for this interview Martin! I am sure people enjoyed this interview and will download your games right away! Any final consideration or tip for those seeking to thrive in the game development career?
Martin: Well, thanks again for this interview, and thanks to all readers. Hope this really helps and motivate them to start or continue projects. One tip: If you love videogames, do them with passion, you will enjoy it a lot. Doing videogames is a beautiful experience, and nowadays ANYBODY can do a game. 🙂
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