Exclusive Interview: Jean-Nicolas – Developer of Porofessor App for League of Legends

League of Legends is a pretty well-known multiplayer online battle arena or MOBA developed and published by Riot Games. League of Legends or LOL was released back in 2009 and is based on the famous Dota game however it brings its own unique taste to the whole MOBA genre which is why the game is known as the world’s most iconic eSport title. Today, we have an exclusive interview with a developer who created an app specially designed for League of Legends called Porofessor and is an absolute favorite within the community of LOL. While we are on that, you can also check for some of the best supports for Vayne.

Porofessor is an app that provides detailed statistics for friends and foes, build recommendations and tags that improve players’ game in League of Legends. Jean-Nicolas, the creator of Porofessor, started coding when he was only eleven years old (his first creation was a parody game to “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” TV show) and now has built an in-game app with over 1.5M downloads and is a favorite of the Worlds-bound G2 Esports League of Legends team. The app has been downloaded over 1.5 million times since its release.

Interview Porofessor

GH: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who is Jean-Nicolas exactly?

JN: I’m a 32-year-old French guy. I’m the creator of Porofessor and Leagueofgraphs, two websites (and an app) for League of Legends players.

GH: Do you play League of Legends and to what extent? Would you call yourself a casual LoL gamer or do you play competitive as well?

JN: I play LoL, but very casually (I’m silver). I spend most of my time working on my app and websites, and I actually do prefer coding more than playing.

GH: Tell us about your app Porofessor.

JN: Porofessor is an app that provides detailed statistics for friends and foes, build recommendations, and tags that improve players’ game. It also analyses your game once it’s over, suggests replays from top players to watch, and a lot of other features to improve the game session.

GH: What was your main inspiration behind creating an app such as Porofessor?

JN: In December 2013, when the League of Legends API was released I built League of Graphs, a high-quality stats website that became one of the most successful websites for League players. Eventually, different League helpers appeared and LoLNexus inspired me to build a way for players to understand their match statistics, champion performance, and other key aspects of gameplay. It was around 2017 that Porofessor was born initially as a part of League of Graphs and then separately as its own domain and website. As far as transitioning to an in-game app, I realized the user experience I wanted to create was not technically possible from a website. Around this time, I came across Overwolf, a technology framework that allows third-party developers like myself to easily build gaming apps in HTML and JavaScript, and saw the value I could create by building an in-game app that players can use in-game and in real-time. It’s been quite the journey, but over the years we’ve made Porofessor more accessible and easier to use.

GH: What were your main challenges while developing Porofessor as a single developer?

JN: I enjoy being independent and doing everything myself, but being a lone-wolf creator has its advantages and disadvantages. Honestly, every single day is a challenge as there are new features to code and feedback from fans to integrate.

The hard parts of working as a single developer are the lack of coworkers and vacations. I used to work in a coworking space to meet new people, but COVID made this impossible. I work from home now but will go back to coworking spaces once the pandemic is over. I definitely miss small talks at the coffee machine. I’m also never really on vacation. I end up always checking if everything is working properly and responding to urgent emails and comments. I guess owning a company leads to that, even if you have coworkers/employees.

GH: How has the player feedback been ever since the release of the Porofessor app?

JN: I made Porofessor with the League of Legends fan in mind so I take all feedback seriously. I’m habitually checking the retention rate of the app because that number indicates if Porofessor is truly making a difference for fans. If that number is not 100%, it becomes a problem for me as I want to make sure Porofessor is adding value to the gaming experience.  I receive frequent DMs or emails from people thanking me for making the app and it always makes my day. I appreciate all feedback, but it’s really cool when positive responses come from very famous top-tier users as well.

GH: Now that Porofessor is in a pretty stable state, how much time do you still spend on making the app better and releasing updates for the app?

JN: I would say I now have “normal” working hours. For reference, I used to work ~12 hours a day in 2019, including weekends, and I’m now at 7-8 hours per day six days a week. Most of my working time is still spent making the app better, as new features are still coming every 1-2 weeks, and making sure that my servers are properly able to handle the load.

GH: Do you think that Porofessor makes it too easy for players to play the game since they are getting all the tips and tricks right inside the client?

JN: No. Porofessor gives you some knowledge and analysis about your gameplay, but it doesn’t give you the “skill.” Porofessor will tell you if your CSing is good/average/bad, but it’s up to you to CS correctly — which is the hardest part.

GH: Apart from League of Legends, do you play any other MOBA, and which MOBA is your favorite?

JN: I used to play DOTA when I was younger before LoL existed. But since I started playing LoL in 2011 when Leona was released), I never went back to DOTA.

GH: Are there any future plans for expanding the app?

JN: The plan is really simple and that is to make the app as good as possible. The app has to be a “must-have” addition to the gameplay experience. Well, it already is, but it now has to be a “must-must have.”

GH: If so, what new features do you have in mind?

JN: I don’t usually tell what features are coming next, because the features I have in mind now may never be released, as the prioritization changes weekly.

Sometimes, I implement a feature and then I realize it’s not actually useful for the user or too confusing. So, I just don’t publish it and/or rework it. Other times, I think about a feature, start working on it, and realize that it requires that another feature be implemented first.  Ultimately, I prefer to not announce a feature, because I don’t want to disappoint people when they realize it won’t be released soon.  However, every time a user suggests a decent feature, I write it down in a big list of features that I review every week, to see if I find an angle about how to implement the feature. For instance, the card swapping stuff I released last week has been in the backlog for at least six months.

GH: Is there any other game that you would like to make a similar app for?

JN: I guess I’ll answer the exact same thing as for Question #11: Wait and see 😉

GH: Since you have been coding from a very young age, what would you like to say to other young coders out there who would like to create their own video game apps in the future?

JN: Well, I would say three things:

    • Be pragmatic and don’t over-engineer your app. It’s the best way to never release anything.
    • Be unique and don’t copy-paste what your competitors did. Find a new way, a new approach.
    • Don’t make it for money, but make it for the users. Making an app for money will cause you to make bad choices feature-wise, and you will stagnate very quickly. I always think about a company who spent months fighting adblockers, instead of actually making their website better. They got a pretty great way to fight adblockers, which worked for a while, but most of their users were gone to their competitors by then.

If you play League of Legends whether casually or competitively, do check out Porofessor and let us know in the comments section below about how the app changed your game.

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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