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Creator Spotlight - Niclas

By Björn Ritzl on Aug 03, 2020

Tagged as: Creator spotlightInterview

In the Creator Spotlight posts we invite Defold users to present themselves and share a bit of their background, their work and things that inspire them. It is an excellent opportunity for the community to come together, to recognise achievements and to share some of the great work done by Defold users.

In this second edition of the Creator Spotlight we invited Niclas (aka Totebo), the creator of Juump!, Rainbow Pop, Monkey Kick and several others, to tell us a little bit about himself and his current project.

What is your name?

Niclas Åberg, sometimes Totebo if I’m feeling mysterious.

What is your background (age, country, occupation or anything else you like to share)?

I moved from Sweden to London about 20 years ago. After a couple of years of web design I stumbled on the world of viral web games - In 2003 I made Monkey Lander, a game where you pilot Monkey in a spaceship. It became a surprise success and allowed me to start making games professionally.

When and how did you learn of Defold?

I had self published a few games in 2015 using Gideros, another Lua engine, when I first heard about Defold. At the time monetisation was too limited for it to be an option, but I kept an eye on the development. In 2019 I made my first game, Monkey Kick, in Defold. It was a Facebook Instant game which needed to load quickly, and at that time Gideros’ export size was a bit too big.

I’m not a fan of tutorials, so I very much appreciated the exhaustive API reference. That, and the ever-helpful forum, helped me get up to speed quickly.

What do you like the most about Defold?

The IDE. Having used Flash for years, I feel right at home with the way I can visually lay out content. The separate GUI system is phenomenal. The assets are also brilliant. To be able to add additional functionality with just a GitHub URL is genius.

What is your favourite game of all times?

Civilization, obvs. But I’m also a huge fan of the Zelda series and have sunk many hours into No Man’s Sky, too. And Wipeout. And Lemmings and Worms on the Amiga. And Sim City on the C64. And Mario World on the original GameBoy, that was a classic.

What are you working on right now?

A hyper casual game called Juump!, which was launched globally a few weeks ago. And a quite unique physics based game which is super-secret at this stage.

Which part of your current project are you most proud of?

Juump! is designed by Winkel, a startup with an amazing amount of in-house talent. I’m really proud of having been able to take their vision to a final product relatively quickly, despite all of us working remotely. Defold has made collaboration easy, with the artists actually downloading Defold and running the game themselves.

Technically I’m really happy with the procedural level generation, the screen transitions and the slimey paint particles. And the sound. And the localisation. And the analytics. And the IAP and ads. It’s a small game, but it’s using almost all of Defold’s features!

Tell us about your ugliest hack to get a job done!

Well, my first self published game on mobile was called No Brakes. After two weeks of modest downloads, Apple decided to feature it in the most prominent position of the app store. A few hundred downloads a day turned into hundreds of thousands overnight. At this point the game was pretty much a prototype and that showed in the code. I wanted to quickly add another game mode to increase retention. So, I took all the game world code, copied it, tacked the extra code for the new game mode on top and added a “choose game mode” screen to the main menu. After having to make adjustments in two places for a couple of days, I shipped the new game mode. It’s still live on the app store.

How can the community follow your progress (Twitter, blog, website etc)?

Thanks for including me in this creators’ spotlight. It’s been fun to answer the questions and look back at some of the work I’ve done. My website is www.totebo.com and twitter @niclastotebo. I’m not terribly active on social media, but that may change!