One of the best things about the Unity platform is that it makes the dream of working in the video game industry more accessible to creators around the globe. Even those who thought that game creation wasn’t a viable option found this professional pursuit possible with support from the Unity Asset Store. There, they leveraged an array of tools and packs to create with speed, at ease.
Whether you’re a 3D artist or programmer, the Asset Store shows that your skills are desirable to other creators. That’s the case for Ramiro Oliva, the founder of popular Asset Store publisher Kronnect.
Ramiro grew up around computers and had been programming them from a very young age. As the son of an inventor, building and making something new is in his blood. He spent more time exploring the world of computing and quickly discovered his passion for computer graphics. He even started building his own 3D gaming engine for character animation and rendering features.
But this was in the 90s, and the gaming world didn’t feel like a practical place to plan your career path. As Ramiro describes, “I grew up, got a degree followed by a master’s in computer engineering, and started my career in the enterprise world.” He found himself directing his talents toward business development and enterprise software, and although he had a great career, he wasn’t able to completely cast his love for games aside. “I had always kept graphics work and gaming as a hobby in my spare time.”
By 2014, Ramiro couldn’t ignore his creative and entrepreneurial instincts any longer. Armed with his deep knowledge and experience in graphics applications, he started to build his own data visualization product. To build this product, he needed a platform that could support high-quality graphics and work well with other platforms. That’s when he turned to Unity.
Little did he know, choosing Unity wouldn’t just enable his build – it would also lead him back to game development and bring him incredible success.
As Ramiro got to work on his product, he learned about all the tools available on the Unity Asset Store that were built by other skilled creators. Seeing their success gave him an idea: What if he divided components of his data visualization product suite, and sold them individually on the Asset Store? “That was the spark that got me to jump onto the Asset Store as a publisher,” reveals Ramiro.
He thought it was worth a shot and published his first asset, World Map Globe, in 2015. And though he had no idea whether the Unity community would be interested in it, Ramiro made his first sale just a few hours after releasing his product. In fact, the newcomer started to see sales every few days.
“The fact that this component, which wasn’t a traditional game component, sold so quickly was a shock and a game changer for me. Sometimes software takes months to sell, so I was surprised by what I was seeing. I became addicted to checking my sales in the Publisher Portal... I remember shouting ‘another Globe!’ whenever I saw someone buy the asset.”
Ramiro kept working on his product, building components, and soon enough, realized that the Asset Store was the solution he had been looking for all along.
Not having to worry about running a website, setting up a product page, or figuring out how to collect money and manage transactions allowed Ramiro to focus on his creative work. It almost made him feel like he had a business partner who handled all the other stuff.
“For independent creators or micro teams, the Asset Store is simply phenomenal. I'm a seasoned developer but selling is not my best skill,” shares Ramiro. Having the store already there made it easier to list products and get them in front of a large community of users. This meant far less time worrying about marketing and sales. “It was like a boost that let me focus on building.”
At that point, Ramiro fully embraced his joy for building tiny tools and appreciated the fact that they could be shipped faster than large projects. He was also excited about working with such a supportive and like-minded community.
“I was completely surprised by the size of this ecosystem,” says Ramiro. “Not only in terms of how many people want to play games, but how many people want to support others in creating those games. I quickly learned that building tools for other developers in Unity was my dream job.”
While gaining support from the Asset Store community and facilitating game creation for non-coders, Ramiro continued to put his background in graphics to work. He concentrated on building tools that could simplify developers’ lives. Soon, he released full-screen effect tools like Beautify, Volumetric Fog, and other well-known shaders to polish digital images, bring out crisp colors, and breathe life into diverse environments.
Today, Kronnect remains an established business on the Unity Asset Store, and offers close to 40 assets that let game developers add stunning visual effects to their projects. It’s no wonder that Kronnect was named as a finalist for Asset Store Publisher of the Year at the Unity Awards in 2020.
And now the team consists of creators beyond just Ramiro: “Thanks to the Asset Store, I’ve been able to hire additional team members.” More specifically, he hired Kostas, an artist and designer, to work on more complex solutions with 3D components, and Sorin, a community manager who also creates demo content.
Although Ramiro’s been on the Asset Store for almost seven years, he still releases new tools and packs. His advice for publishers getting started: “Focus on what you’re best at, and look for a problem you think you can solve. Don’t just build for the sake of building or developing a portfolio.”
Ramiro goes on to say, “Always strive to build the best asset in its category. If your solution is just okay, users will scroll right past it. Even if you’re the first to get there, keep quality in mind from day one.” He believes that if you follow this principle, present your asset well, and provide excellent support to users, you can certainly succeed on the Asset Store.
Looking back on his own journey, Ramiro jokes that he’s “completed the circle.” The Kronnect team is now 100% committed to the Asset Store, offering tools that have been used by thousands of developers, including the creation of games like Praey for the Gods, and Unity’s own Gigaya which was announced at GDC 2022.
“Thinking that Beautify, Volumetric Fog, and other tools of ours are being used by thousands of users in so many cool projects is outstanding. I couldn’t have had this kind of global success if it wasn’t for the Asset Store.”