Welcome back to our Meet the Devs segment! In this piece we take a little time to get to know the people who really make Android what it is today and that is the app developers. In this week’s developer interview, we are talking to Matthew Mario Negri of Minisaur.
Name: Mario Negri
Developer Name: Minisaur
Website: Official Facebook page
Social Media Profile/Page: Google+
How many people on your team? 3
About your company?
Minisaur is a small group of 3 really good friends. We are all from Milan (Italy) and have the same great passion for videogames. The 2 designers of the team both studied Design & Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan, where they got to know each other and discovered their common interest. The last year of their studies they decided to create their first game and asked me to be the key part of the team. :) Before working with Gianni and Riccardo I was a freelance software developer for many big italian and european companies and studios. Minisaur was my chance to finally focus on something I really love.
What level of experience do you have with coding and development?
I’ve worked for 6 years as a web developer and recently started to develop apps for Android. To develop Bruce Wheels and Java Android apps I use Eclipse. I have some experience with visual studio to develop .net applications, while for web I’ve been mainly using notepad++, ultraedit and sublime text.
What languages do you know? How and where did you learn them?
The first language I learned was Amiga Basic, thanks to my father’s lessons when I was only 12 years old :) To develop Bruce Wheels I used Java, which I first learned back in Highschool. I’m extremely well versed with python, asp 3.0, php and c# and familiar with visual basic 6 and c ansi. The book I recently really loved to read is “Pragmatic Programmer”, which really teached me the correct way to act and think as a programmer.
What level of experience do you have with design?
0, zero. All the design is done by my brother Riccardo and my friend Gianni :) They are awesome! They do their job using mainly Adobe Illustrator and Spine, a great program for 2d animations which we chose to support since its Kickstarter.
What apps have you made?
Bruce Wheels is our first big app. We put all our passion to develop and design it the way we wanted it to be. We strongly believe in this project, which took us way too much time :) We worked on it for 2 years in our little spare time between work, university and other annoying IRL stuff.
How do you monetize your apps?
For Bruce Wheels we chose a freemium model. The game is free to download, while the complete version without ads is unlocked with an in-app purchase. We want people to try our game before purchasing it and we thought that this was the best way to do it as a new indie company.
Do you consider yourself successful?
I created something I love, together with 2 of my best friends. Within the span of 2 years, we all acquired in depth technical knowledge in building and designing a great Android game. Yes we consider ourselves successful. :)
How difficult is it to make money as a developer?
As an indie developer it is really difficult. With the Android market beeing flooded with all kinds of trash apps coming out every second, games developed with passion and love are simply not noticed without marketing and advertisement.
What can Android do to improve?
Android is used on so many devices, it is really difficult to get a game running well on all of them. There could also be a spotlight on a choice of new indie releases in their main page on the Google Play Store.
Why did you choose Android? Do you develop for other platforms? What are the differences between them?
We picked Android mainly for one reason: it was the type of device we all had when we started. We have never been the biggest Apple fans and love Android becouse it is open source and costumizable. I’ve never tried to develop anything for iOS or Windows Phone yet, but I may do an iOS version of Bruce Wheels soon™.
What do you think of the Android design guidelines?
Early on, there weren’t any guidelines and it was really hard to design a consistent user experience without the help of good UI designers. Now they are really well designed and simple but there’s not that much yet that could be applied to games.
What are your favorite apps?
What has been your experience been like working with Google?
Google is really fast to solve problems and to give feedback to opened tickets. The play console once had a problem with my app and they were really kind to immediately contact me and get it fixed.
What tips do you have for aspiring developers?
Be passionate about what you do. Passion drives creativity. It is passion that keeps you working on something you love for hours on end. It’s what eats away at your nights and weekends, completely destroying your social life.
Developer interview wrap up
We want to thank Mario for chatting with us in this week’s developer interview! If you’re a developer and this looks like something you’d like to do, check out our Meet the Devs form! We look forward to hearing from you!