Make a Promotional Video for your Mobile Game

One of the best ways to get noticed on the App Store (any one) is to have a video that markets your games best assets. We recently did one for NumBlocks which has, in all honesty, been struggling to make an impact on the Play Store. The game is elegantly simple and looks great. It has a good mechanic and is easy to learn and play. We built it as a platform to test our ability to publish something and to work through the hurdles of getting a game finished. In that respect it is perfect!

Have a go of NumBlocks and let us know what you think? (click image to Play)

Not having a huge budget for marketing we wanted to make it ourselves. Were not audio visual newbies and weren’t looking for anything too complex. Plus the game is free so there is really no point paying someone to effectively polish a lump of coal in the diamond that we know it is.

Here is the finished product (click to Play!):

We used the OpenShot Video Editor.  Here at ZuluOneZero we support open source community driven projects as our default posture when looking for software to work with.  OpenShot Video Editor is crafted with love and open-source.  It’s under the free & open-source license forever (GPL version 3.0).

It’s very good and worked perfectly for our project. It has a simple but powerful interface and comes with a very nice set of built in transitions and other features.

We started off with a straight image of our NumBlocks logo. I really like the glowing internal light of this logo and the straightforward “Play” on the front. We did this icon in Gimp and imported it into the editor.

Check it out:

Next we got crafty. I asked the team (read ‘my brain’) for a flashing run through of the numbers in sequence to build tension and to lead in to the game play. We tried doing this manually in the editor but it was too fiddly lining up 40+ images with the right timing. So we came up with a novel solution and ended up opening all the number icon jpegs directly from the operating system folder onto the system picture viewer.  We then used the built in Game Bar that comes with Windows 10 to record a screen capture of the viewer. I manually scrolled through the number icons with the arrow keys on the keyboard at the tempo I wanted and sped up to a crescendo at the end.

We used the record feature of the game bar again to record the game play sequences. This time we ran the app on a mobile emulator on the desktop. The only issue I had with the final outcome of this was that the mouse pointer has to be used and looks a bit derpy. Next time I’ll download a pointy finger mouse icon to use so it looks more like a mobile game.  We edited the footage down to key sequences and game play.

Next I used the OpenShot speed manipulation tools to speed up a section of the game play footage to make it look more exciting and to showcase the game.

Next we stripped the audio from the existing clips and laid down some original music from the game.  You can listed to the music here on SoundCloud.

P.S. If you want to be notified when I post please sign up and subscribe using the form at the lower right of the page.

Do NOT Restart Unity After a Crash!

It all started when my laptop went into sleep mode.
I was doing some play testing of my Dog Run game and had to take a work call.
I know I know “real” work getting in the way of my real life.

Something happened and the laptop stopped responding. Wouldn’t come out of sleep mode and had to be restarted.

Now normally Unity is pretty stable. I actually can’t remember any time when it caused a crash or stopped responding or has died on me but I guess being in run mode while the laptop was asleep may have been a contributing factor.

When I restarted my machine and opened my Game again in Unity the editor barfed and gave me an error in the console like:

GetPathNameExtension(path) == “unity”
GetPathNameExtension(path) == “unity”
GetPathNameExtension(path) == “unity”
Unknown error occurred while loading ‘/Scenes/MainScene.unity’.

Then it asked if I would like to open the default scene which I promptly took to be My default scene. But sadly it wasn’t. It was the Unity default scene that you see when you open up a new project.

All of my assets and settings were gone. All those hours of tweaking objects’ positions and rotations getting things just right were wiped off the board like an angry chess master.


This is the big lesson of today.

If the Unity Editor or your operating system crashes do NOT start Unity again without making a backup!

I know there are a few other lessons here like: 1. Always backup your project, and 2. Use source control, and 3. Backup your project again, and 4. Save your project regularly during your workflow and 5. Save the scene and the project BEFORE hitting Play when you are testing your game.

But I want to say it again because opening your project up after a crash in Unity is a really easy thing to do and seems like the right thing to do and is normal and natural and good. But it’s NOT!


Not without first backing up your project folders.

Now I know backup is a whole subject in itself and I’m going to make an entry on that soon but there are some simple ways to save the day here.

When you hit the Play button in Unity the scene and all the running elements are saved in the project’s Temp directory.

If you have a crash and want to restore your scene file, you cannot re-launch the Unity Editor after the crash.
If you do it will blow away the Temp directory and you will lose the last saved scene and all your progress with it!

Inside your Project directory folder there should be a Temp/__Backupscenes directory. If you are lucky in here you will find a file called either 0.backup or “__EditModeScene” (depending on Unity version) which is your saved scene file.

First! Make a backup of your Project directory. Take the whole thing. Easiest quickest way is to copy the whole project folder to another directory.

Then all you have to do is to copy this file back into you project and replace the broken scene file with the copy. Set the file extension to .unity in order to make this file recognizable as Unity scene file.

Please backup your project folder before making the change.

When you Run Unity and open the Scene you just moved from the Temp folder hopefully all or at least most, of your changes are there and the scene is restored.

So Unity is saving your scene every time when you hit the play button, but not over the original scene file, instead it is saved in the project’s Temp directory.

But be careful. You cannot start the Unity editor after the crash. This is by nature a Temp directory whose content is created dynamically when working in Unity.
If you restart you will lose the scene file and all the progress with it.

Once you have done this start using a new workflow.
Take regular backups.
Use source control.
Hit Save regularly while working in Unity.
Hit Save before you hit Play when testing in Unity.