Welcome back everyone! This time, we have game developer tycoon Tony Jelić, who made a diamond of a game in Mining Co. Tycoon.
Hi Tony, thanks so much for joining us for an interview! So, how did you get into game development – was it something that you always wanted to do, or did something really kick off your passion for creating games?
Game development was always something I liked doing, but I’ve always dreamed of being a big boss of a large company. After trying my luck at that and not getting far, I came across a guy who was quite big in the HTML5 games industry and has his own business. It was then that it hit me – I should be creating a business which offers products that I like creating. These products were, of course, video games. So I started planning my business and teaching myself all sorts of things that every entrepreneur should know. Oh, funny thing: I’ve also wanted to be a criminal inspector – it’s funny because entrepreneur game developer and criminal inspector are just two completely different professions.
It was fantastic to see your game Mining Co. Tycooon, and to hear that our courses helped you to build your game. Can you tell us a little about which Zenva courses gave you a hand, and how they helped you?
Of course! The course that taught the most was Zenva’s Phaser curriculum. It pretty much taught me everything I needed to know to start developing my own games, and I can really recommend this curriculum to anyone who is interested in creating HTML5 games with Phaser.
It’s great to hear that you used Phaser to create your game – were there any advantages to using this framework?
I used the Phaser framework since it’s extremely lightweight and very easy to use. I’m also a big fan of game frameworks and coding. I’ve used quite a lot of engines in my game dev career, and never really enjoyed any of them since most of them throw you these horrendous UIs that you need to learn before you even start creating something.
Additionally, most of them have some limits and are quite expensive. On the other hand, you have these free awesome frameworks that are basically libraries that you can use to create your own tools for your game, and they’re limitless! You can create anything you want with a framework, how cool is that?
Of course, frameworks are not for everybody, especially if you hate coding, but for me, frameworks are the best thing ever. I’m also quite a control freak, so they allow me to pretty much control every single part of the game, something that most engines can’t offer me.
Thanks, Tony, it’s great to hear how such flexibility can really be an asset to developers! Can you tell us a little more about your game development process? We know that in game, you can hire miners to keep things running smoothly, but out of game, developers aren’t always that lucky. Did you experience any challenges while working on your game? How did you deal with them?
Well, the biggest problems I encounter are usually loss of motivation, self-doubt, and procrastination. What I usually do to get back on track is, I take a day off, and go on a long walk or have some fun with family or friends, and I don’t think about work. This helps me a lot. If I can’t afford the day off I usually just change my environment. My current workplace is really dark and there aren’t really any windows around me.
Sometimes it just gets to the point where I’m disgusted with the place and can’t stand it, so when this happens I just go to a local internet cafe and work there for a couple of hours, and when I return my workplace seems less daunting. I don’t know why but this really helps me.
I’m sure that all developers have experienced similar problems at one time or another – it’s great to hear that when you got stuck between a rock and a hard place, you found creative ways to dig yourself out. Now that you’ve got some experience under your belt, are there any pearls of wisdom that you can offer us?
It’s tough out there. Game development isn’t just making games anymore – you’ll have to do all these things that you’ve never imagined doing. I’d say 50% of my time goes to marketing and finding deals, 20% goes to researching and planning, and then the rest of my time goes to creating the product.
If you go into this industry be prepared for a lot of failures. I’ve just recently started to make enough money to make this my job, and I’m 100% sure that you can do this too. It will take time, hard work and dedication but the most important part is to believe in yourself, even when no one else is there to support you. You have to be your biggest fan and cheerleader.
Also, if you are just starting your career as a game developer and haven’t released any games yet, I strongly suggest you that you don’t start with your dream project – instead, start with short little games that you can finish in a week. Create a couple of these to upgrade your skills – you will not only get the hang of things, but you’ll get to know your demographics, which is super important!
It’s fantastic to get such practical advice, I’m sure any new game devs who read this will find it useful! So now that your game is finished and the world is your diamond and ruby-encrusted oyster, what’s next? Do you have any new projects in the works?
Yes! I’m currently working on a couple of new games and my own video course! I am so excited about my future, and I am very confident about it too. Especially now since so many corporations are now investing in this market – it really shows that HTML5 games could be the future of mobile gaming. People can follow my journey on my website where I blog regularly.
A massive thanks again to Tony for such a detailed, insider’s perspective of the game development industry.
Have a go at becoming a Mining Co. Tycoon by accessing Tony’s game here.
Also, don’t forget to check out Tony’s blog.