Hydroneer creator and former BU student Max Hayon spoke at BU this month, sharing his experience and tips for launching a successful video game.
Many would imagine that all of today’s video games are developed by a Hollywood movie-style cast of thousands, but BU graduate Max Hayon told current Games students, “making a successful video game all by yourself is absolutely doable”.
After graduating from Bournemouth University with a Games Technology degree, Max wanted to develop his own game, setting himself a deadline to have a playable prototype in just one month.
This decision paid off as Max went on to develop the hugely successful game, Hydroneer. After its initial launch in 2020, Hydroneer quickly grew to over 500,000 paid sales, gaining an 87% review rating (from 13,800 reviews) in just a couple of years.
He admitted, “I had no idea how to sell a game, no art skills, no audience and no money”, before explaining to the students how he did it and what pitfalls they should look out for if they want to follow in his footsteps.
He explained how he grew his audience by getting people invested in the game, using YouTube to build his community. This growing group of people were happy to give feedback and share ideas to improve his game and it was through this YouTube community that the game really took hold.
His work schedule during the development phase leading up to the release date was intense and not everything went to plan – the launch of the multiplayer feature cost him a six-figure sum.
Max’s top tips to the students were, “always follow the fun, work on your own little projects and don’t change stuff when things are going well.”
It’s clear from Max’s story that sacrifice, continuous learning as well as taking some risks are key factors in his success. Being driven meant he was able to release his game, take on feedback, make the required changes and ultimately get his rewards.
When asked why he opted for the Games Technology course (now Games Design), he says: “I really wanted to continue my passion for making mods for video games. The course was the perfect fit for me as it let me develop these skills further to more of an industry standard level, as well as exploring different avenues in game development with a broad range of topics.”
The Department of Creative Technology at BU runs two undergraduate games courses, the BSc (Hons) Games Design and the BSc (Hons) Games Software Development and both courses come with a Foundation Year option too.