TGC: 008- Sean Mann- Lead Developer at Napland Games

 tile_sisIntroduction

The Lead developer and co-founder of Napland games shares with us what its like to start a videogame company from scratch.  He has a great and unusual path for how he got his start in the industry.

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What Are The Questions?

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

  • He is the lead developer and co-founder. 
  • Its a 2 person team.  His wife is the marketer

2. Leap of faith into the gaming industry, how is that going?

  • Lived in a small town, it took  a great leap of faith to move and start a new career. 
  • They asked the question, “why are we waiting for?  Lets do it now.
  • He put out his first game to work through the experience. Build his first game to work out the process, so he knew he could finish something.
  • Started making connections in the gaming industry.
  • Started making connections with the platform software he is working with.
  • Started writing tutorials for this platform which helped make connections.

3. If your first game was designed to get through the process, what was the second project like?

  • This was a game called Wordspionage, and was his first actual “release”
  • This game was MUCH harder.  He had to figure out networking, push notifications, etc… It was a much more complicated system.
  • He had a very steep and ongoing learning curve with this game.  It gets much more complicated working on multiple platforms.
  • He is looking forward to solving some of the scaling challenges as game gets more popular.
  • Took 7-8 months at 70+ hours a week complete.
  • It really takes the passion to pull you through.

4. Are you the entire QA department for all your games as well?

  • He does the first pass.  
  • Then he gives the alpha build to his wife and several friends.
  • Then he gives a Beta build to as many people as he can find.

5. How do you manage the Beta distributions process?

  • Focused mainly on Google Play, and some on iOS when possible.  Google really shines with the ability to handle Beta Testing.  iOS is more complicated.  There are more steps needed, and some complications.
  • Testflightapp.com – is a Beta testing service to help navigate the iOS process.
  • iOS also limits your BETA to 100 devices per year.  This runs out very quickly if you make several apps per year.

6. What advice do you have for someone that wants to quite their “cubicle” job and starting a gaming career?

  • Manage your expectations (don’t aim too high to start).
  • Put away as much money as you can.
  • Get the support (emotional or financial) from your family.
  • Use all your free time to practice making games before you try to do it professionally. 
  • Think about the MARKETING aspect of the game.  Programmers don’t tend to think about this aspect of game making.
  • Be prepared for the emotional roller coaster… Its a wild ride!

7. What is the secret recipe for building a platform/audience?

  • There is NO secret recipe.  You just have to get out there and keep trying.  Practice, and get better.
  • Having a critical mass of Apps helps people get to know your brand (around 12).

8.Can you tell us about your most recent game?

  • Sodoku in Space- on iOS, Andriod, Windows, and Mac
  • Not a lot of port problems when working with AGK platform

9. Expanded conversation about Sodoku in space features and coolness.

Resources

http://unity3d.com/

http://www.appgamekit.com/

https://www.testflightapp.com/

http://www.blender.org/

 

Find out more about Sean:

http://naplandgames.com/

https://www.facebook.com/naplandgames

https://twitter.com/NaplandGames

How to get Soduku In Space:

Google Store

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.naplandgames.sudokuinspace

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sudoku-in-space/id902000374?ls=1&mt=8

 

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About the Author

Steve Ruduski is a business and career coach that has helped dozens of people start their business and successfully find their fit in the gaming industry.