Interview with Jason Tuyen of Jason Tuyen Games
Tell us about yourself
I am an indie developer based in the UK but I also currently work during the weekends as a tutor teaching kids how to code.
Videogames were a huge part of my life while growing up and I always wanted to make my own. I studied Computer Science with Games Technology in university (where I learnt how to program in Java and C++ although since graduation I now currently use Unity and C#) and I originally worked as an Android developer in a small company for about 2 years until they unfortunately went under and I was let go as a result.
I became an indie almost entirely by accident when I started making my own full game during my spare time as a way to expand my portfolio whilst looking for a new job (prior to this I made my own games but mainly for game jams) and discovered that I enjoyed doing this so much, I eventually started spending more time working on the game itself.
Are you a Solo Dev or part of a team?
How do you keep yourself motivated and inspired working by yourself? Do you chat with other devs etc?
I try to dedicate at least one day purely for development and keep myself organised using a task management tool like Trello or HacknPlan. I’m also pretty active on social media and will try to post my progress when I can whilst adding various hashtags such as #gamedev, #indiedev and #indiedevhour to help spread the word.
I usually talk to other developers via Twitter and Discord but I also have a few on my personal Facebook and I’m also fortunate to have met some of these developers in real life as well. I also try and make time to attend various developer meetups in my area such as London GameDev Lunch and London Unity Usergroup when I can.
Tell us about the game you are currently working on
Balls is an endless arcade game for mobile devices where you must keep a colourful ball up in the air for as long as possible whilst avoiding dynamically generated obstacles using a unique one-touch control system.
The game also features an adaptive difficulty system that scales up and down depending on your skill, a daily survival mode designed for very experienced players, the option to customise the colour of your ball and trail and online high score leaderboards powered by GameSparks.
At the moment, the game is currently in soft launch for Android devices and is available to download right now on Google Play in the following countries (UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) by heading to onelink.to/balls but will be available in other countries as well as iOS soon (For anyone interested you can sign up for email updates on when Balls will be available for country/platform by going to the game’s official website at https://jasontuyengames.gitlab.io/balls/ and clicking on the link).
What inspired you to start this particular project?
As mentioned before, this started as a way to expand my portfolio while looking for a new job but the original concept came from a game I did for the Ludum Dare game jam a few years ago. Given the relative simplicity of the original game and how popular it was during feedback, I decided to try and adapt it for mobile devices but nothing in GameDev is ever simple and whilst some elements still remain, the final game looks and feels a lot different compared to the original game jam concept
What challenges have you faced during this project and how have you overcome them?
One particular problem I had during the early stages of development was trying to make sure the game looked and performed well on every Android device possible which is a pretty tall task given the sheer number of screen sizes and configurations available. Fortunately, Unity allows me to see what the game looks like in various screen sizes without having to shell out loads of money on lots of different physical devices and I was lucky enough to have a friend help test out early builds of the game and send me feedback/bugs/glitches etc.
What have you learned from this project that you will apply to your next?
Making games is hard especially on your own so for my next project (when I have a big enough budget), I might go and hire someone to do the art/music which are definitely my weak points since I’m primarily a coder.
What was your first gaming system?
My first gaming system was a Super Nintendo/SNES when I was about 4/5 years old but I got my first PC when I was around 11/12 years old.
What is your favourite game? (or games if that’s too difficult!)
I’m a huge fighting game fan and my favourite series of all time is Street Fighter.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other game developers?
Don’t give up