Claudia on 5/26/2020

Self-publishing your own mobile game… with Valentin

In the name of our studio philosophy "Push Things Forward", we would love to share fresh highlights from the (previously hidden) talents and endeavors of our colleagues from time to time. 

This time we talked to Creative Technologist and Illustration genius Valentin, who created a little game called Social DisDancing during Corona remotely. Inspired by missing toilet paper and social distancing values... Enjoy.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your work

From time to time I suddenly get a rush of creative energy and want to do a project. A lot of different ideas swirl around in my head for when that time comes, some of them are based on a game mechanic, some on a certain aesthetic or atmosphere. One of those vague ideas involves some sort of group dynamics, like simulating group behavior with lots of entities. My game didn't end up there at all but that idea was the starting point. Combining that impulse with the current situation, I wrote a little prototype with lots of entities approaching the player who has to dodge them. Since that game mechanic was already fun I started polishing it.

I limited the scope of the project beforehand because I have developed a casual game before and know how long it takes to finish and release something for multiple platforms and resolutions.

The limitations I set myself were:

- Only mobile
- Only portrait mode
- Only one game mode, not multiple levels, just something that gets continually harder

Also, I thought of things I wanted to learn with this opportunity:

- Improve my 3D modeling and texturing skills in Blender
- Bake Lightmaps and export them to Unity
- Animate things in Unity
- Include Ads into my app

Another fun part of this project was the collaboration with friends. One made the background music and another one came up with the idea of 'what to do' ideas at the end of each run, a third one contributed to those short and fun sentences.

But mostly I really enjoyed the process of creating stuff exactly the way I want to at my own pace. When I can do every part of the project by myself, then I don't have to wait for anyone and thus can work like a maniac until 5 am. The quarantine situation kind of made it easier for me to really get into the creative tunnel without having the feeling of missing something in the outside world.

Were there any challenges or key learnings?

Everything went quite smoothly actually. I had a lot of things to learn about efficient and clean modeling in Blender and how to get that stuff into Unity without messing anything up in the process. Baking Lightmaps in Blender also took a bit of time to learn. For every question I had, there was a resource available, usually a Youtube video on 1,5 speed to transfer the missing information into my brain.

All in all, I think it's truly amazing that there are free professional tools and infinite knowledge out there, available to everyone. This is something the quarantine time made very clear to me. Everyone with an internet connection and some time on their hands can learn pretty much whatever they want. I don't get used to that, it's really amazing!

Any valuable (or completely random) advice for the readers?

- Apple refused to put my game in their App Store, because they don't allow any games related to Corona.
- Ads are only profitable if you get hundreds of thousands or millions of downloads. So far I earned an impressive amount of 12 cents with ~700 fully watched ads, which are pretty long (30 seconds). So it's only annoying to everyone who plays my game and I will probably switch to another monetization model with my next game.
- The high score at the moment is 4543 meters, it blows my mind how much better than me people became at this game 
- I used the following creative tools: Unity3D, Blender, Photoshop, Unity Ads.

Thanks, Valentin! 

(follow him on Instagram - it's worth it):