Interview with the team behind Profi Developers
A chat with Asset Store publisher Profi Developers
Daniel Sklar (CTO): We primarily prepare 3D environment assets, such as cities, nature, and industrial or military buildings and vehicles. We also produce helpful tools, such as scripts for camera control, simple photo galleries on mobile devices and even a little sound bank. Over the two-year history, we have created over 120 packages. The major opportunities we see in the future are in Unity packages with content for smart devices.
Why do you make the products you do?
Daniel Sklar: After many years in game development, we’ve gained a lot of experience which we like to pass on. It’s in this spirit that we provide assets that are well optimized and can serve as learning material for aspiring artists, or as a great set of assets for game designers which allow them to create a rich environment for their gameplay mechanics.
Tomas Moucka (Unity Asset Store Project Leader): We aim to make the work easier for any Unity user, especially novice designers and developers. We try to optimize our products to be usable on different platforms, not only on PC but also for mobile devices.
Do you have any advice for developers who might use your tools?
Tomas Moucka: The main advice: if you can buy something, it’s always the fastest and cheapest development solution. Don’t be afraid to buy an asset, it will definitely save you a lot of time, trouble and ultimately money in the development process.
Daniel Sklar: As I mentioned, sometimes it happens that a customer who bought our asset needs help with its use and application in Unity. In this case, we will gladly help and advise them. On our site you’ll find a form through which you can contact us. Feel free to ask us anything!
Daniel Sklar: I’ve been working with 3D graphics since 1997. In 2000 I worked at Plastic Reality Technologies (PRT) where I met Tomas. I eventually became a Lead Artist there. I’ve worked on titles like El Matador and Korea: Forgotten Conflict (for the latter, I even had the good fortune to appear in the photo collage on the game’s box). After that I was at Illusion Softworks (which later became 2K Czech) where I worked on the AAA title Mafia 2. I worked in many positions over three and a half years, from Technology Artist to Data Manager to Lead Technology Artist on mission locations in the city.
To produce and play games is my job, hobby and passion. It is a discipline that has almost limitless possibilities and in which, in addition to the ever-shifting technological options, you are constantly learning new things.
Tomas Moucka: I’ve worked in graphics for 12 years. I started at Plastic Reality Technologies (PRT). PRT brought together an amazing group of people and, for a small team, managed to make great games. It eventually closed in 2006, after the game El Matador. I then joined Illusion Softworks as Senior Graphic Designer and started work on the environment for Mafia 2. In 2008, I became the lead of the ten member team creating the city for the game. In 2010, Mafia 2 was successfully published.
In 2011 Daniel, who had already left 2K Czech, offered me a position at Profi Developers and so I joined the team. For me, creating graphics is a joy and what could be better than having a job which is also your hobby?
What role does the Asset Store play in your life as a middleware developer and game designer?
Daniel Sklar: It’s a great platform for the dissemination of Unity creations and a great place to begin development. If you want to make a game, you can find a similar concept on the Asset Store, which you can study or simply use in your game.
For me it‘s very interesting and encouraging that our assets are successfully being used all over the world. It’s a great feeling especially when I know how much effort it took to build it all. We strive to maintain a constant quality in the production of all components, whether it’s textures, polygons, sounds or annotated scripts. We go to great lengths to communicate with users when problems arise, to resolve them and to satisfy all. It is our daily bread.
What can Unity developers look towards in the future from your company?
Ondrej Homola (CEO): We are thinking hard about what the real pain points are for developers. In particular, we see indie developers have a huge issue getting sales traction on web and mobile platforms such as the App Store, Google Play, Facebook and the Windows Store.
We’ve already been asked several times by developers to also help with publishing. Who knows, maybe we’ll start to serve developers as a publisher as well.
Tomas Moucka: We are constantly working on new assets. Currently, we’ve been focusing mainly on industrial buildings, vehicles and a larger package of skyboxes.
Daniel Sklar: Overall, we want to prepare high-quality assets that will help you produce great titles! We’re also considering auxiliary superstructures for the Windows RT and Windows Phone platforms, which would be a simple way to help with some aspects of development. For now, I don’t want to reveal any more!
What is your vision for the future of game development?
Tomas Moucka: The driving force in development will now be a new generation of consoles which, thanks to their enormous power, will allow developers to push all aspects of their games forward, especially in terms of visual experience. But there is also a huge market for mobile phones and tablets, as their power grows. Their marketability is growing every day by incredible leaps! For small teams just starting up, the mobile and tablet platforms are absolutely perfect. With the help of the Unity Asset Store, they can create amazing projects and games. It is exactly for these devices that we are also trying to optimize our assets.
Ondrej Homola: I believe that the whole industry will be driven by mobile platforms. What I expect to see is that most games will transform into free to play models with very limited direct monetization. Mainly, we will see advertising as the key monetization element.
I think there will be some niche markets where customers will be ready to pay. I also suspect that we will see stronger traction on Facebook as a platform soon.
Daniel Sklar: After a long drought, new devices are arriving which allow you to move the player experience to the next level next. I’m referring to devices like Google Glass, Oculus Rift, etc. Sometimes I worry where it is all leading to. However it’s a tremendously great opportunity for innovative people and I think we will see a lot of interesting things.