To say that Aqualotl has been keeping himself busy is an understatement. Better known as the creator of the popular hide-and-seek game Blox Hunt, Aqualotl took his passion for programming and made it into a career. He now works full-time as a Roblox game developer all while attending university for computer science. In this interview, he talks about the importance of community and how developers like him are leveraging Android and Google Play to amass hundreds of millions of visits from players across the world…
Tell us about yourself. What brought you to the Roblox platform?
Aqualotl: A friend of mine from middle school introduced me to Roblox in 2009. I loved the variety of games it had to offer, and we had a lot of fun playing them together. About a year later I discovered I could build my own games on Roblox, and that’s when my interest in the platform really started to take off. My passion for computer programming, combined with the simplicity of creating games on Roblox, has inspired me to continue on and grow as a game developer. I’m now studying computer science at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee while working full-time as a game developer on Roblox.
What skills have you acquired as a Roblox developer?
Aqualotl: A lot! Thanks to Roblox, I’ve built a solid foundation to learn more programming languages and platforms in the future. It uses Lua scripting, which is simple enough for most beginners to learn and jump into other languages outside of the platform. Personally, I’ve learned many new programming languages as a result of my experience coding with Lua, which has really helped me through college. Another thing I’ve learned is that you need a plan when working on a team. I use organization websites like Trello to help keep things on track and ensure they’re completed thoroughly. Each person needs to work on a different aspect of the game to prevent conflict within the code and world building. And lastly, I’ve also learned that the community is everything on Roblox. It’s very important to understand your audience and try your best to make something that they will enjoy.
What do your friends and family think about Roblox?
Aqualotl: My parents had their doubts about Roblox when I first started. They thought I spent too much time on it. I believe their opinions really started to change once Roblox launched the Developer Exchange (DevEx) program and I started making money off of my games. Now they’re amazed that the website I used to spend all my time on has turned into my full-time job. They’re very proud of the things I’ve accomplished and the opportunities I’ve come across. My brother and I have even created our own development group, Silver Fin Studios, and we plan to release a couple of games together as a team. I do tend to develop on my own, however; I like the challenge of completing things by myself.
What opportunities have you come across as a result of being a Roblox developer?
Aqualotl: I’ve been fortunate to receive many opportunities as a Roblox developer. I’ve worked with companies I never thought I’d be able to work with. I’ve also become good friends with developers I’ve worked with over the years. I personally love that the Roblox developer community is so close-knit. Everyone’s very helpful and supportive. It’s always nice to have Roblox staff members helping you along the way as well, providing feedback and support you may not be able to receive elsewhere.
How have Android and Google Play helped contribute to the success of Blox Hunt?
Aqualotl: My goal is to make games that appeal to players of all languages, ages, and devices. Getting my games playable on Android devices was a huge plus for me. Not only did it help increase my overall player count, but it also meant that anyone could enjoy my game on the go.
Has Roblox changed your life outside of gaming?
Aqualotl: Roblox has made a big difference in my life. I went from working at a part-time job for the past three years to a full-time business owner focusing completely on my game development career. With my Roblox earnings, I’ve been able to fully pay off my car and purchase my new best friend, a Labrador named Ember. I’m currently living in my own house and paying for my college tuition. I’m even looking into starting my own studio that I plan to register as an LLC. Roblox will most likely forever remain a part of my life, as it was the start of my future.
Do you have any advice for people who are interested in creating games on Roblox?
Aqualotl: Starting off may be tough, but in the end, the skills you learn are worth it! If you ever get confused, feel free to check in with the community and find some help through there. Roblox also provides tutorials and examples on their Developer Hub, which is something I refer to all the time.
Thanks for sharing your story, Aqualotl! It’s always awesome to hear when aspiring developers continue to pursue a career in computer science based on their love for creating games on Roblox. Be sure to check out all of Aqualotl’s upcoming projects by following him on Roblox or @Aqualotl on Twitter.