Conquering Apple’s App Store with Last Survivor by Jason Lai

Lindsay Schardon (Zenva)

November 1, 2017 in Success Stories

Welcome everyone! Today, we’ll be living it up in the aftermath of a deadly zombie virus infection — as a last man standing of sorts —  with Last Survivor! Without further ado, meet Jason Lai, a Zenva Academy student whose stunning title we are featuring today, Last Survivor (MacOS). 

Breeze through our interview with Jason, who completed one of Zenva’s Unity courses on creating a First-Person shooter, and see the experience he had developing a his zombie-style game for MacOS!

Hi Jason! We are ecstatic on having the chance to interview you over here on GameDev Academy! Additionally, congratulations on being both persistent and determined, with it having paid off in finally having Last Survivor published to the MacOS store! What is your game about, and what technologies was it built with?

Hi everyone! Just a quick introduction about myself — my name is Jason Lai, and I’m currently a high school senior at Culver Academies, IN.

Thank you for having me and featuring Last Survivor. The game is primarily a zombie FPS game, in which the player must use their weapon to destroy all deadly zombies within the town. The game itself is built with Unity3D, and the programming was done with the C# programming language.

Ammo Craft on school bus

Wow, that’s amazing Jason! You brought your game from start to finish all the while tending to your studies as a high school student. We’d like to know more about that! For now, why was MacOS chosen as the platform, as opposed to iOS or Windows?

Personally, I am a MacBook user. Because of that, I decided to develop the game for the MacOS platform since I’m already very familiar with the operating system.

In the future, I will definitely try to make my game compatible with the Windows operating system.

However, I might not develop for the iOS platform because the game does require a mouse and keyboard to play!

Last Survivor plane in game

Setting your starting point where you’re most comfortable is definitely a good way to get started, Jason. We’re curious to know — how did you manage your time to be able to complete and publish the game? Are there any tips or advice you’d suggest to other students on managing time and game publishing?

As a high school student that has school work, athletic practice, and college applications to complete, I consider efficient time management as a very important tool that helps me to complete and publish games.

Each time, before I start to work on my game, I write down a list of things on a piece of paper that is ordered from the most important item to the least important item.

From there, I try my best to accomplish it all within a given amount of time.

Generally, during the weekdays, I’d give myself about an hour or two for game development. Sometimes I may stay up until 2 in the morning simply trying to fix an audio problem. However, on the weekends I can spend as much time as possible working on my games.

The tip I’d give to any students reading this, is to not overspend time trying to solve a particularly puzzling problem. At times, you just need to take a break and relax — think about something else aside from the game. By the time you start to fix that same puzzling problem the next day, you’ll probably be able to find out the solution.

P.S. One time, I had spent 5 hours solving an issue regarding the weapon’s bullet, but eventually I found out that I forgot to capitalize a letter in a method’s name.

Last Survivor title screen

That’s incredibly insightful advice, Jason, and I’m sure anyone could benefit from it! Having published your game while being a high school student, it really is a testament that anyone can achieve the same, with the right determination and time management.

Speaking of puzzling problems, what was the biggest technical challenge you faced? And how did you overcome it?

I think, for me, that the biggest technical challenge was adding more features to the game.

By the time that I finished completing the course in Zenva, there was no map, no pause, no menu, background music, etc.

For a student like myself that did not have a lot of previous coding experience, I searched online for help a lot.

For example, I had visited Unity’s community page, the Apple Developer Forums, some game designer’s YouTube channel, and other coding websites for help.

Sometimes, a one place doesn’t hold all of the answers, but that’s great that you took the initiative to find the answers to your questions and implemented those additional features. One last question for you, how did our Zenva Academy courses help you in your game?

The course that I completed was the first person shooter course from the Unity Game Development Mini-Degree. This course was extremely beneficial to me as it not only taught me a lot of new knowledge regarding Unity and the C# programming language, but it also explained many basic game design concepts such as Object Pooling, Nav Mesh, Collision Detection, etc.

I strongly encourage students that like FPS games to take this course, as you might be able to make your own version of Counter-Strike in the future!!

Last Survivor zombies

And cut! That completes our interview with Jason, creator of the Last Survivor game for MacOS.  Little known secret that we’ll let you in on — it initially took a couple of tries for the game to be successfully approved by Apple due to a minor glitch in the initial submission.

However, Jason’s perseverance and determination paid off and he now has a published work in the Apple App Store.

Jason, we truly appreciate having you here to tell us about your journey in conquering Apple’s App Store, and bringing your game to fruition. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and college!

Interested in creating your own games? Check out the Unity Game Development Mini-Degree

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