The student and the Asset Store extension
Not every publisher sets out with a clear plan to make an Asset Store product. If you have a half-finished extension lying around, or some code or models you think others could benefit from using, consider doing what Copenhagen student Lasse Knudsen did: Polish and publish to the Asset Store.
Programmer Lasse first became familiar with Unity four years ago as part of his Mediaology studies at Aalborg University. “It was the standard game engine they used out there, and, of course, back then, there wasn’t an Asset Store.”
Later, after transferring to IT University of Copenhagen, Lasse wanted to write a pathfinding extension for his own use, and just to challenge himself generally. At the time, Navmesh was a Unity Pro feature, and Lasse wanted the functionality for a commercial project (meaning he couldn’t take advantage of Unity’s discounted educational licenses). So he set out to write his own pathfinding system, initially just as a coursework project.
“It worked pretty well, but I wasn’t really satisfied. So, after the course, I extended it to make it better, and I got it to a state where I was actually pretty happy with it. So I thought: ‘Hey, maybe other people will like it too.’”
And so the Simply A* pathfinding Asset Store tool was born. Lasse’s original plan was to make the extension available free of charge, but, by this time he’d invested a lot of time and effort in it. So, he decided to charge a small amount. A week after it was submitted to the Asset Store, Simply A* was on sale.
“I didn’t really expect people to buy it, but they started to very quickly. What with support requests and added functionalities I suddenly found myself pretty busy. Soon I was making so much money that I didn’t need to take a job to support my studies.”
Fast forward to the present, and Lasse’s working on two games: Gunjitsu which he and five student colleagues are aiming to publish as an early access Steam release in December, and some contract work for a retail client. Plus, he still has his studies to keep him busy.
“Now I’m busy with school and other game projects, so a month ago I made Simply A* available free of charge, with a reduced commitment to support it. The source code is there, so, obviously, people can fix things themselves if they want to.”
“It was a great way to improve my skills, do something I liked and make money. It helped me when it came to making editor extensions for my own use, and it helped me understand other assets on the Asset Store. That’s important because I use a lot of assets!”