How I've published my first Unity Asset
So recently my first asset went live on Unity's Asset Store. And achieving this turned out to be not as easy and straightforward as I was expecting. Maybe my experience will help those who want to try publishing on Asset Store.
In the end of 2016 I've started to work on this mobile game that looks like pong but with circles. Here's a GIF from early version of this game taken in Unity (it's buggy and has some debug info but you get the idea):
I was really proud of those circular paddles! They are procedurally generated meshes, meaning I've written a script that builds those arcs vertice by vertice, triangle by triangle, every time they change. By the way, thanks a lot to author of this video for teaching me how to do procedural meshes.
When I was writing that script I didn't find anything similar online so I've decided that my script must be pretty unique. I also decided that it must be pretty valuable since drawing circles and arcs must be a very common thing in games. So I've created a new project, copied my script in there, registered at the Asset Store, didn't read the submission guidelines, got Asset Store Tools, created all the images and a video (videos are important!), set the price to $4 and submitted my package for approval. If you're reading carefully, you've probably already noticed what I did wrong.
But I didn't. I waited about two weeks and my package got declined. I've got an email telling me that it's "too simple" (I don't remember exact wording). I didn't get upset though and took it as a chance to make my script more flexible. So I've worked on it more until I ended up with something like this (minus grain):
I didn't read the submission guidelines and re-uploaded it once again and it got declined on the next day.
Note: it looks like only initial review takes as long as few weeks. All following reviews usually take one or two days. At least in my experience.
After that decline I started to doubt uniqueness and usefulness of my script. I thought that probably I shouldn't ask money for such a simple script so I've submitted it again for free. And it got declined again. At that point I didn't knew what can I do. I didn't read the submission guidelines again and decided to just publish my asset on Itch.io for free instead.
If you don't already know, Itch.io is a store for all kind of games, game-tools and game-assets with no pre-moderation. You can publish whatever you want on it, it will go live right away. It's not really popular with Unity developers though. Looks like most people there develop in GameMaker. Before my script was declined by Asset Store I thought that I would also sell it on Itch.io. But now I just wanted to get it out there so I've published it for free.
Some time after that I've posted about it in few gamedev subreddits, Facebook groups and tweeted GIFs of it on Twitter with various gamedev-related hashtags. This was a very simple marketing campaign for a free asset. It created a spike in views, downloads and even purchases. I didn't expect people to buy something that can be downloaded for free. So those purchases actually caught me off guard. It was first time someone payed money for a videogame-related thing I've made. It looks like my script was extremely helpful for few Facebook and Reddit users out there.
In about two month of working on other stuff I've decided to return back to that asset and finally get it published. Some article somewhere reminded me that Unity Forums exists so I went there, asked for help, and people told me to read the submission guidelines. Which I did.
To put it short, my asset was lacking in few areas. First: it wasn't structured well, it was just a script and a prefab in root of the project. Second: there was zero documentation. Third: there was no demo scene. I've also learned that you should never use JPEGs in your asset (not relevant to my script but still). So I've put every file in its own folder, added a simple readme file with short instructions on how to use the script, added demo scene. I've also made some improvements to the coding because I've learned some new tricks in those two months. I've set the price to $5 and uploaded it again. And it got published!
Well not from the first try. There was a part when I submitted new package from Unity 5.6 and the old one was submitted from 5.5 and the Asset Store kept both packages since it allows having multiple versions of the asset for multiple versions of Unity. I've got a decline once more with no clear reason given and it took me a while to figure out what should I fix but then I've fixed it and it got published!
Since I've already spammed all the subreddits and Facebook groups with posts about my free asset, I've decided to not change anything and kept the older version free on Itch.io. I probably won't try to market the new one but I have few more ideas for more assets and hopefully I'll get it right next time. In the end of the day, that was pretty dumb mistake. I should've just read submission guidelines.
That's it for now. Meanwhile you can follow me on Twitter to see more GIFs taken in Unity and keep track of my future assets and games. I actually didn't publish that pong game from earlier yet and I plan to do it soon.