Shelly Alon is a part-time independent developer and college student in Hamburg, Germany. He’s been studying communication design and its various fields from analogue photography and traditional painting to animation and type design. One day he just had a vision: he could use these skills to create games. He started with a PC/Mac game called Olav and the Lute, which he formed with two friends. He won an iPad in a contest, which was his first iOS device. From there, he turned his attention to iOS apps. He taught himself C# and Unity. His first app, Partyrs, wasn’t a huge financial success, but it got some good press and was an encouraging start. Partyrs is a premium puzzle game where you organize and host a party with funny characters, using logic to keep all of your guests entertained.
His second game, Sputnik Eyes, was a bigger success. Our own Christine Chan gave it a glowing review. He learned and grew from his experience with Partyrs. There is always an element of luck, but this time around he planned his release better and was able to get more press. The game was featured in Best New Games by the App Store. In fact, he earned enough money in the first two weeks after Sputnik Eyes’ release that he decided to donate the rest of his earnings from the game to refugees in need. He felt that since he is not a full-time developer, he doesn’t need to make a living off of this somewhat successful game. So, he prefers that his profits go to people who need it.
When I asked him about obstacles he faces as a one-man operation, he told me that every obstacle is a lesson, and he tries to face each one and overcome it with joy. When asked about the future of iOS, Shelly told me he hopes that casual gamers go beyond the Candy Crush clones and look at small, funny games like the ones that he and other independent developers release. He hopes that the market will continue to be able to support indies whose games aren’t necessarily set up to generate large amounts of revenue. Quality is and always will be important.
Shelly’s iPhone use isn’t as frequent as you might think. He always buys older second-hand iPhones, to save money and reduce electronic waste. His most-used apps are probably Wunderlist for tracking tasks and Twitter. Here are his home screen and second screen:
You can find Shelly on his website and Twitter @shellyalon.