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Ammon Runger has been playing games on Roblox since he was 10. Then he started making games. And like many others who create games on the popular user-generated content platform, Runger wants to climb the ladder to make a living developing these games.
He’s part of what I call the leisure economy, where we get paid to play games (and develop them), and he’s already had a lot of experience for such a young person.
Now at the ripe old age of 16, the Washington native and high school student has more than 47,0o0 Twitter followers and 11,000 YouTube subscribers. He has been marketing director at Schwifty Studios for two years and has generated more than five million views with his trailers. He also heads the Creator Spotlight segment, which is published on Roblox’s official social media channels.
“What is fun about Roblox itself is just the variety of experiences that are available on the platform,” he said. “There are so many different games that are on it. One of my favorite things about Roblox itself is exactly the type of ecosystem we have. There are tons of people on those connected through Twitter or Instagram or Tiktok. And we all like a big family. One of the cool things I like about it is the freedom to be creative and just jump into the Roblox studio and do whatever you really want to do. “
Runger helped with that Schwifty StudiosMad City’s YouTube channel reached 95,000 subscribers. Mad City is a cops and robbers game that is the 14th most played game on Roblox with 1.7 billion visits. And he also works on the side for Backbone, which makes a handheld controller for the iPhone.
“This work helps me fund a lot of what I do with Roblox to make games,” Runger said in an interview with GamesBeat.
A great opportunity
But time is of the essence, so he’s working on his own game called Legends of Glucky. Runger sees many large teams getting involved to develop games on Roblox. Many of the top games are now created by teams of more than 10 people. And while getting started is still good, as a native Roblox game developer who grew up with the platform, Runger wants to try and make a hit game.
It’s a great opportunity. Roblox’s games have become so popular that people have played the best billions of times. In 2020, an average of 32.6 million people came to Roblox every day. For the year ended December 31, 2020, users spent 30.6 billion hours on the platform, an average of 2.6 hours per daily active user per day.
In April alone, the number of daily active users was 43.3 million, 37% more than in April last year and sequentially from 42.3 million in March 2021. In April, 3.2 billion have been sequentially unchanged since March 2021. Those numbers enabled Roblox to go public in March on a direct listing with a valuation of $ 41.9 billion.
Still, Runger said, young game developers should be aware that riches are not that easy to come by.
“My first advice would probably be that success doesn’t come overnight,” said Runger. “You can’t jump on Roblox and play a game overnight and expect it to be on the front page. Many games explode overnight. But I just want to help people who are interested in getting into Roblox development, knowing that it is not that easy. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of learning to develop a game that is at the level required for a successful game. “
When he was 10 years old
Runger grew up a fan of Doctor Who looking for simulators of things that were on the show. And usually someone had made a version of the Doctor Who gadgets on Roblox. So he downloaded the game and checked it out.
“I just fell in love,” he said.
He spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos to understand how to make games on Roblox. He learned scripting and programming, and watched tutorials from a YouTuber named AlvinBlox, who posted videos on how to build a car, how to make sounds, how to open doors, and other things for Roblox games.
Runger’s games weren’t successful, but they taught him a lot. His parents were a little skeptical about interacting online with people they didn’t know, but they let him indulge his passion.
“I can tell you for sure that he’s been working on Roblox for a while and has created some pretty amazing things,” his mother Michelle Runger said in an email to GamesBeat.
The way to become a professional
He made a title called Mighty Skek Minigames, a collection of mini-games dedicated to a YouTuber named Skek who has 3.9 million subscribers. Skek had created his own avatar and Runger built a 3D model based on it as a kind of homage. The game received nearly 100,000 visits. When you add up all the work, Runger makes good money at Roblox. His goal is to get college paid.
“I’ve done about 75% of the way,” he said.
Runger’s situation is not unique. More than 1.25 million creators have made money from Roblox. But making a hit game is his ambition. He has two other friends – Raymond (referred to as Mac) and Owen (Aerecura) – on Team Clucky who are working on the Legends of Clucky game, and he’s trying to make it a more elaborate production than he did before Has.
“We’re pretty much friends, we do a lot of things together,” he said.
The game puts players in a building where they are trapped. There are terminals around the building that you need to hack. You’ll gain super powers like x-ray vision, collect totems, activate them and avoid Glucky, the game’s big boss.
Runger’s command is to do everything possible to keep Roblox for the kids.
Game developer for companies
Professional game development studios shape Roblox. Toya Studio and Zag Games said their Roblox game Miraculous RP: Quests of Ladybug & Cat Noir had played 100 million times in just seven weeks. Runger agrees with this, but he also believes local game developers – the kids who grew up with Roblox – have an edge when it comes to creativity.
“Companies do a lot of advertising and pay people to sponsor, and it just doesn’t work with Roblox,” he said. “That’s not how children decide to play games. Businesses can thrive on Roblox, but there is a hurdle of having a passion for Roblox that they must overcome. If you get paid to make a game and you tell him what to do, you lose a passion or creativity. “
Runger added, “The move towards studios with teams of people is definitely true. But my personal reaction to that is that I hope the people who started the original games keep the drive they had to make games and keep their personality in the games. If you make a game with a whole team, it can lose some of its charm and other corporate things creep in. I hope the people who originally developed the game keep their creativity in some way or another. “
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