Ever wondered how to get your game to rank? Complete Unity Developer student, Rafael, shares his experience of taking his first game from nowhere to third in the Google Play store listing (for the term “ragdoll physics”).
My name is Rafael Rivera, I’m a 38 year old advertisement bachelor from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and I’m an Indie Game developer. Since I can remember, I was always playing video games. I’m the type of gamer that enjoys every kind of game – from 8-bits to flash games, mobile, Xbox or PC. If it’s fun then I will play it!
I always wanted to work with games, but it was not an easy option back then… before the internet. Yeah, I’m from that time. Since I decided to start my Gamedev journey with Unity, about eight months ago, I searched online for courses and found Udemy. I clicked on their ‘best-rated Unity courses’ and found “Complete Unity Developer – Learn To Code By Making Games” with instructor Ben Tristem and team.
I learnt everything I needed for my first game: animations, level managers, buttons, sounds, physics, coding in C# and more. Ben Tristem is a great teacher. The course made the game possible.
After lots of hours watching the course and working with Unity, I started to go through Ragdoll Physics which I’d always liked. I came up with the idea of this simple game, a Ragdoll Monster Shooter game. And then… I never worked so hard in my life. And it’s have been the best job I ever had.
After five months of hard work, it launched. I now have more than a thousand downloads, a good placement in App stores and I’m very happy with my new career.
Rafael’s Top 3 Tips (and what to avoid):
Think about ads, reward videos and IAP at the same time as you start to plan your game. This is because these features has to work in the same scripts and same concepts of your game. An example would be: in a car game, a rewarded video ad gives the player a faster car at a specific level. This gives a better response than making banners that get in the way of the player. The player gets a faster car, the advertiser gets an ad view (or app download) and you get paid too. Win-win-win.
Analytics is key. If you can see data about players, levels that they give up, where they are from and so on… then you can do some changes and get big results. We changed some pretty hard levels that were getting users to give up and retained way more players by doing that. Other example: We found out that players from India loved our game so we did some ads there and there were great outcome, way better than other countries.
Store listing is a really big deal. Here is what happens: Your game must be discoverable by users, then users will see if they like your game or not through screenshots and video. Guess what? You have work to do: make a compelling video it is no easy task. Screenshots need to be compelling too. There are more than what meets the eye here. You can study ASO (App Store Optimization). If you invest in store listing it will pay off for sure.
What was a waste of time? I would say that studying on YouTube with weak teachers that will me bad practices. I would tell new Gamedevs to look for courses from great well-known sources like Udemy, Unity, Gamedev.tv and so on. Study every single day. Make this a habit. Unity and programming are really hard to understand. But with the right teachers and hard work you can do anything.
My background in marketing was very useful when the game was done. If you’re a rookie, I’ll tell you this: half the job is getting the game done! The other half is marketing it, using analytics to improve it and research the player’s behaviour.
The GameDev.TV community is a great way to show your game in early stages and get feedback. They have a chat that is always on, with a community that likes to share knowledge.
Last thing I want to say: I’ve been to college, got an MBA and studied for three masters degree exams, and making this game (from scratch to marketing) is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is just plain hard work – hours studying, making and marketing the game. That’s how I did it. I hope this helps you get going.
Never forget: It’s hard work but it’s awesome!
You can find Rafael’s game on the Google Play store. He’s also on Facebook and you can follow him on Twitter.
Take the course that made it all possible (with a special discount) and start your GameDev journey now!