“Sometimes, I call myself a creative monster because I go all out for my work. I’m quite relentless in achieving a set goal even if I have to ask for help or go sleepless to make things happen.”Edu Shola
You may have heard the famous Marc Anthony quote, “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. But does this mean that following your passion is all smooth road and no speed bumps? Definitely not.
This episode of The Big Showcase covers the professional life of Edu Shola, a creative with a fun but equally challenging job – game development.
Who is Edu Shola?
Edu Shola started his creative career as a child who loved drawing stick-man characters and moulding things. His childhood fascination with cartoons, games and art eventually influenced his venture into graphics design, 3D animation, and game development. In 2013, Edu Shola registered his company, Deluxe Creations Studio. A year later, he built his first game, App Rush, to spread awareness about malware influx from dangerous apps.
With over a decade of staking a claim in the fun yet serious world of game development, Edu Shola has explored different creative niches, including short animation film production, TV commercials, pre-visualisation and visual effects (VFX) for movies. Read on as Edu Shola takes us through the exciting yet challenging animation and game development world.
Why Game Development and Deluxe Creation Studios?
Whether your profession mostly requires physical labour or mental investment, there’s a motivation behind your chosen work. Edu Shola gives us a background about his career.
“I am artistic, and it’s hard to separate my creative part from my everyday person. I love what I do, and that’s basically who I am. Even as a child, I was an artist because I loved drawing and moulding figures, and to date, if I’m not working on my computer, I sketch or sculpt with clay or wires. So, the depth of my creativity on and off work was the initial passion for choosing a career as a game developer. My whole life revolves around what I do for a living. So I’m constantly motivated by my daily ideas and how to achieve them. Achieving one goal motivates me to pursue and succeed with the next idea, and I always enjoy the process.”
On why he established Deluxe Creation Studios, Edu Shola highlights the company’s progress from inception until now.
“I started Deluxe Creation Studios to provide people with fun and entertainment through animated films. Over time, I started offering my services to others because I could create digital solutions for many brands. After a while, I shifted my focus to my dream career; making video games. Although Deluxe Creation Studios still does animation, an essential part of our gaming productions, the business mostly focuses on developing mobile and video games in-house and for external clients.”
The Connection Between Animation and Gaming
Edu Shola shares the connection between animation and gaming.
“The huge connection between animation and gaming can be likened to the bricks, steel rods, stones and other components that make up a building. Different game types, such as board games, do not require animation. However, most games I build are incomplete without animation and design. The connection between animation and game development ends after production. The focus then shifts to promoting the game, and animation just falls into the background.”
He continues with why he decided to focus on game development.
“A few years after I started Deluxe Creation Studios as an animation studio, I asked myself what I wanted to do in the next ten years. I decided that I wanted to build games. So my animation and design journey was the buildup to my career’s apex, which is to develop games and interactive entertainment. Video games, especially those I like to develop, involve animation and give users a movie-like experience. Developing a game that makes people feel like they’re following a storyline has always been the peak I want to reach with my career and business. Animation is a key part of that process.”
Is Game Development all Fun?
Games are fun, but becoming excellent at developing them can be difficult. Edu Shola highlights the challenges and rewards that come with the profession.
“I don’t think anything is hard to master because mastery is a process, but you can master any craft within six months and above. For example, I didn’t attend any formal school to learn animation, design or game development. I practically learned everything I know on Youtube. However, I pursued knowledge and mastery relentlessly, so I gave it my all. Also, at the beginning of my career, I slept in different people’s houses to download tutorials and courses overnight. I didn’t even have a laptop when I started, so I borrowed multiple laptops or went to cafes to learn something new. Again, becoming a master in your area depends on your dedication because other things besides a lack of resources can distract you from your goal. If you’re focused on your target, you’ll achieve it.”
Edu Shola buttresses his point with the fact that game development is like most creative careers – never static but constantly evolving.
“Game development is an ever-evolving profession; it is both an art and technology development form that requires different skill sets. For instance, the technology and process behind the development of ‘Candy Crush’ differ from that of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ or my own ‘Adventures of Chike’. As a result, you might not master the entire interactive entertainment profession, but you can master the skill set required for building a complete game if you’re focused.”
Edu Shola gives us a deeper insight into what it feels like to be a game developer.
“The idea behind my first ever project, App Rush, was to enlighten and create public awareness about digital viruses in a fun and interactive way. So I created a game that simulated the process of using apps or sites on the internet at the risk of downloading a virus. In the game, users see different social media apps and other digital tools flying around the app universe. There’s a rush to click on those apps but also the risk of hitting viruses mixed up in the universe. Building App Rush gave me a great sense of accomplishment that I started and finished something.”
Furthermore, Edu Shola shares his ongoing projects, which draw from recent technological and digital developments such as the metaverse and esports entertainment.
“While App Rush is an app-like interactive game, future projects will focus on building interactive and fun games, not apps in general. I have made short animated films in the past, and there’s a high chance that I will work with filmmakers on longer animated film projects in the future too. In addition, I am currently working on some projects, including Urban Fury, in collaboration with David Kimekwe, who had the original idea of developing an esports-worthy game. The game requires many steps, but we just passed the beta stage and are polishing it before it’s properly launched. The second game in progress is Chike Lost in Metaverse, a 3D platform set in the metaverse and an offshoot of Adventures of Chike.”
The best products emerge from brainstorming sessions with like minds. Edu Shola describes how he gets forward-thinking game ideas like Urban Fury.
“I remember speaking to Kunmi Adenipebi, the co-founder of Gamr, and asking, why can’t we create made-in-Africa esports games? A similar conversation with the talented David Kimekwe led to my collaboration with him on the Urban Fury project.”
Key Takeaway for New Game Developers
“I don’t have a dream workspace setup for Deluxe Creation Studios or myself yet, and my taste in workspace setup seems to change each day with my exposure to different inspirations, but we’ll get there.”
It’s common to hear people say that they cannot start a business or career because they need vital tools or resources; beginner game developers aren’t exempted from this group. Edu Shola debunks this myth.
“Many people go into the game design or animation profession with the mindset of having all their tools or worrying that their workspace needs to be sorted out. I didn’t start like that. Even now, I can sit anywhere and get my work done. Sometimes, I have different workspaces because different locations inspire creativity and determine how fast I can finish designing a game.”
He further advises new gamers:
“As a new game developer, you don’t need to be comfortable or have complete tools to start. The most important thing is to challenge yourself, start small and put yourself out there. I mentioned earlier how I’d go around borrowing gadgets just to create. I also remember that I could not afford a mouse but had to use a trackpad to design. You can imagine how inconvenient it is to develop complex projects with a trackpad, but I didn’t let that slow me down. So if you want it so badly, you won’t care about comfort or having everything you need — you’ll start regardless.”
Edu Shola has proven that starting small is profitable, and we’re anticipating other groundbreaking projects from him, but what do you think? Does this piece of advice apply to other professions? Share your opinion below.