Everybody likes an idea of making easy money by creating a simple mobile game and placing ads and in-app purchases in it. There is many of them out there that took minimum time to develop and now generate ridiculous amount of profit. For example – Toon Blast is a game available on many platforms, including Android and iOS. Even though they have a team of developers, not a single person, the game is pretty straightforward and its concept is fairly simple – match the same colors to win. According to the portal ThinkGaming.com, the game earns more than $300.000 daily. Mobile game development sounds like a dream job right now, huh?
Because I also planned to achieve such success, and failed horribly, I decided to give all of you some personal tips on how to start with cross platform mobile game development and piece of advice that should help you figure out if you are capable of doing such thing. Let’s start.
1. Get your idea straight
It’s great that you want to be productive and make profit by doing something you like. But you have to keep in mind that there is plenty of games out there and there is a possibility that someone already invented what you’re about to invent. If you spend weeks by creating a game and then find out that such game already exists (and probably failed, otherwise you would have heard of it), it’s just a waste of your time. Be creative, make concepts, draw your ideas on paper, browse through existing games and game forums on the internet.
2. … or borrow ideas from others
Are you not creative enough to come up with concept of a game that everyone would love? Don’t worry just yet. Open Games on Google Play and enter “2048” in the search field on top of the page. Browse through the games in the result. Do you see any difference?
There is many people out there who simply didn’t like one or more features of some game and decided to make their own. You can do the same thing. Do you not like the interface and physics in DoodleJump? Go ahead and make one yourself – the one that you (and hopefully other people too) will like.
Although, be aware. If you make a modified copy of something that already exists, you will have more competitors and it will be harder for you to achieve success.
This is probably the most important part of this article. Toon Blast makes a lot of money, but their marketing team had to spend a lot of money for advertisements. General rule is, the more money you spend on marketing, the more money your app will earn. If you want to earn $40.000 a year, you will have to spend 20-40% of that amount for advertisements, shout-outs, articles on popular websites, etc. Be ready for this, because 200 bucks a month for marketing will not bring your app any success.
If you have the funds and you’re ready to be a millionaire, come up with some special form of advertising. For many of us, marketing is simply about ads. Ads, ads and more ads, placed on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so one. But it doesn’t stop there. There is so many ways how you can make your product more attractive than the others. Did you notice guys in Toon Blast paid Ryan Raynolds to be their guy for video commercials?
4. What cross-platform mobile game development is about
So you have an idea, good marketing plan and some budget to work with. Are you also a skilled developer? How good are you with graphics, 3D modelling, animations and stuff like that?
If you think that cross-platform game development is mostly about writing code, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Of course, coding is a backbone of development, and there surely will be some space for coding. Nevertheless, to speed up the process of development, you will probably choose one of the freely available cross-platform platforms (see thetool.io for inspiration). These platforms will take care of most of the code you’d have to otherwise write yourself – and instead give you the responsibility for creating UI, scenes, sprites, animations and more. So before you start, you should probably get yourself familiar with these elements.
5. Find platform that suits you the best
As far as I know, most of the cross platform tools use Lua, C# or C++ for development. This decision should be easy for you – if you know C# or C++, you can go with Unity. Otherwise, you will have to learn Lua. Lua is a scripting language that is very easy to learn. Go to its home website to learn more.
6. Estimate time
Learning new stuff, working with graphics, but also development itself takes a lot of time and nerves. You will find yourself quitting many times during the development process. if you don’t plan your timeframe. Account for risks, complications, bug fixing, so you do not get to the point where you feel like you’re 2 months behind on schedule. Getting into stressful situations is not what the point of game dev is.
There is many factors you will have to account. One of them is the release process. The development platform will not do everything for you automatically. You will still have to tweak some small stuff yourself on every different platform (Android, iOS, Windows, …). Generating signed packages is also a painful process, especially on multiple platforms at once. For shop listings, you will have to create banners, descriptions, etc.
Think about everything that may come in your way along the process of development. Write it down, come up with realistic estimations and prepare an expected timeframe.
I hope that you got past all the steps and I will be able to play your game one day. The last advice I have for you is: Be patient. Cross platform mobile game development is not easy and you have to be prepared for a lot of situations. Good luck to every one of you!