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Learning the Ropes with the Digimon Links Guide

Digimon Links Guide
By | April 21st, 2019 | Categories: Interviews

What separates great apps from so-so ones is their ability to make the games they were intended for so much simpler. Simply put, simplicity works! When you sift through the clutter and simplify things, the user experience becomes so much more enjoyable.

That’s precisely what Shaheryar Mirza, a 28-year-old game/app developer based in Dubai, was aiming for when he created the Digimon Links Guide. By our estimation, he hit the proverbial bullseye with his app as it makes learning the game’s rudiments a much easier prospect. Digimon aficionados can download the app.

(1) Tell us about yourself (name/nickname, hometown, age, occupation, favorite games that you play and what platform(s) you play)?

My name is Shaheryar Mirza, but you can refer to me as Sherry since that is my nickname. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan. This year I will be 28 years old in June, meaning I was born in 1991. I am currently working as a Product Manager in Dubai as a Junior Game Developer for the past 6 months. As for games, I prefer RPGs over any other genre, but this doesn’t mean I don’t take the time to play non-RPG games. At the moment, I have a huge backlog of games which just keeps growing since most of my time is spent playing Overwatch with online friends. I prefer to play on console and handhelds only because they have grown on me from a young age. My first personal handheld was a Game Boy Color in which I sunk easily more than 24 hours playing Pokémon Yellow. As of now, I am a proud owner of a PlayStation 4 Pro, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita and New Nintendo 3DS XL.

(2) Do you work independently or in a team? If in a team, how big is it?

I am an independent worker and I prefer to keep it that way. The only reason behind this is that I find it easier to implement all the ideas that I have in my head and work them to fruition. Working in a team brings its own share of distractions and time management issues. It also means that you need to take the ideas and visions of your teammates into account, and hence get completely sidetracked from what you set out to do in the first place. By this, I do not mean to say that others’ inputs are invaluable, but that the idea or dream you wanted to turn into realization gets altered and re-fabricated along the way—be it good or bad.

In the end, let me point out that if you plan to work independently, you will get more hands-on experience with the technicality of other people’s work, making you quite learned in those areas as well.

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(3) What inspired you to create an app specifically for this game? When did it cross your mind to create your app?

I started playing Digimon Links since the time it launched. I used to play it every day just to get those sweet daily rewards, which in turn helped me progress through the game faster. At that moment, I had just begun my indie career of creating games as well. I thought to myself that making a sort of app for this game will surely help people out in terms of understanding the mechanics of Digimon Links while also helping me understand the software on which I was developing it. It was too good of a chance for me to throw away – developing a guide for a game that I already enjoyed playing.

(4) What programming language or tool did you use to create this app? Do you have any favorite PLs or tools in particular?

Honestly, there is no programming language that I would regard as my favorite, but I find it easy to write C# scripts because I have studied the language well. I developed my app on Unity, since I was already using the software to develop games. Apart from Unity, I have worked on Unreal Engine 4, RPG Maker MV, Construct 2, and Buildbox. Out of all the ones I mentioned, I lean towards working on Unreal Engine and Unity because of their capabilities and scaling of projects.

(5) When it comes to designing the user experience/UX of the app, what motivated you or what influences did you have?

The user experience of the app was definitely something that could not have been disregarded as an area that would not have an impact on my app. I wanted to create the app as user-friendly as I could, because if navigating through it became arduous for users, then I would have failed in my mission. Only if users understand what button takes them where in the app, then only will they be able to find the pages they are searching for.

In order to make the app easy to navigate for users, I put all the important pages they would be searching for in the home screen. I applied just about the right font and button size so that users could read the content on all phone screens. I used blue as my primary color since it is easy on the eyes, while also using specific music in the background that calms them. I would not want users to see blood-red colors in the app while listening to death-rock music since it does not relate to the game I am making the guide for in any way.

(6) From the developer’s and gamer’s perspective, how do you think the app affects the overall experience of the game?

My app does not, at all, make or break the game in any way. It is basically a type of instruction manual that gamers should go through if they wish to understand the game and are willing to spend their time on it. The overall experience of the Digimon Links solely depends on the game itself, and how the company wishes to retain and acquire users.

One thing I would like to point out is that Digimon Links does a horrendous job in teaching players the ropes. I, myself, had to ask people on YouTube certain features that I never understood. If players wish to save themselves the headache of asking for help online on different forums, they should just install my app and go through it.

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(7) Is there any margin of error when it comes to the app’s performance and provided information?

At the time of the app’s development, there were no errors whatsoever related to its performance and information provided. However, my app can be a bit outdated when compared with the current progress of Digimon Links. The game could have gone through some major updates which might have affected the information I have provided in my app.

(8) What were your biggest challenges for this project? How did you overcome them?

The only challenge I faced with this app was the design. The content was not a problem since all of it was from my personal knowledge. The design underwent slight changes before it was finalized, and so it took a while to create and edit. I wanted to develop something that felt close to the design of the game. Although my design is not a replica of the game’s UI, it somehow sets in perfectly.

(9) Are you expecting the game’s expansions to change your app’s dynamics and performance? Is it something that you’ve already prepared to tackle?

Digimon Links has received quite the number of updates and expansions since the time I last updated my guide. Honestly, I am not thinking of going back and updating it to be on par with the game’s progress, but I would definitely think of doing it if I receive support from players who are currently playing the game.

The only way I will be updating my app will be by diving back into Digimon Links and understanding what major changes have taken place since the last time I played the game. For me, it is going to be way more fun than strenuous to comprehend the new content released for the game and experimenting with it.

(10) Are there any exciting new developments for your app that you would care to share?

As of right now, there are no updates coming to the app. However, as I mentioned earlier, if there are players out there who need assistance with the game, then I shall indeed dive back into action and help out as much as I can. Personally, I have no interest in the game whatsoever now but will try it again someday just for the sake of my love for Digimon.

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(11) Could you share a few quick tips to new players of the game?

The game is, without a doubt, difficult to grasp if you are new to it. I, myself, was having trouble understanding the ropes for more than 2-3 months. It is only after I started watching videos on YouTube that my knowledge grew of the game, and I became better at it. I would advise the players to go through my guide, along with tutorial videos on YouTube. If there still is some confusion, let me know and I will help by updating the app.

(12) Any advice you’d like to share to aspiring game app or web developers?

I only dove into the realm of game/app development because I adore it. It gives me the ability to develop anything I want without holding back. Whatever crazy ideas I have in my head, I can turn them into reality. I consider game/app development a sort of realm where I can create anything I want, however, I want. This power is what makes me feel alive whenever I start developing either a game or an app.

My advice for the up-and-coming game app and web developers would be that if they have the passion for it, then they should definitely pursue it. And although holding heads due to frustration will become a norm, the feeling of achieving what they set out to would be indescribable compared to it.

In the end, people can always contact me on my website (www.karismaticgamer.com) if they have any questions regarding either Digimon Links or game/app development.

Keeping Things Simple

The quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line. By keeping his app as simple and user-friendly as possible, Sherry achieved perfection. Understanding the game is easy with the Digimon Links Guide. Both bonafide newbies and seasoned veterans of Digimon Links will themselves a favor when they check out the app and what it can offer.

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