2014 in Review

So, we’re coming to the end of 2014, which is a good opportunity to look back at the past year, and forward to the next one.

I’m trying not to let this post be too down, but looking back, I can’t help but feel disappointed about this year. I’ve worked hard, and improved at motivating myself and being more productive, but I’ve actually released very little, and with similarly little success.

The biggest thing this year was releasing my first commercial game, F!shing. I learned a lot from it, but also made some really dumb mistakes. At some point I might do a full post-mortem on it, but a key things is that when it didn’t sell, I kept obsessively working on it, hoping that the next update would convince people to buy it. I still feel that way! I still think that it would do really well as a local multiplayer game, but I really need to move on.

I’ve also found myself working on Quick Quote some more, even though I’d told myself before (multiple times) that it was done. It’s done pretty well for my very low standards – 149 current users counting both free and paid, out of over 550 total, and those numbers do continue to go up. I’m hoping that this next, and absolute last, feature update will help convert some more free users to paying customers, but even if it makes no difference, I’ll be able to say it’s the best I can do. In some ways that’s more important than the money.

With both of these, I’ve struggled to move on when they were unsuccessful. I feel like I can’t have all the work I put into them go to waste, even though I’m wasting more time continuing on them. I should hardly expect my first attempts to be well received, but I keep telling myself that a little more effort and they’ll take off.

In contrast, I’ve been far more pleased with the handful of jam games I’ve made this year. Procedural Death Racing is very rough, and I doubt I’ll ever expand on it, but I stretched myself with it. SWAN QWOP is pretty terrible, but it kind of works! OK, these first two are bad examples. K!cking was fun to work on and turned-out alright, even though I didn’t manage what I was hoping. Lorries In SPAAAAACE! made me realise how good Unity is for prototyping, and it was pretty well received. Snowman Sumo, though, feels really polished to me. There are a couple of things that would need adjusting for a proper release – such as some proper music – but I’m so pleased with it. Ludum Dare judging finishes at the end of this week, so I’ll soon know how well it does, but the feedback I’ve had for it has been really positive. A nice thing to end the year on!

So, perhaps my goal for 2015 should be to make more, smaller things. Simple things, self-contained, and if they don’t work I force myself to move on. I attempted One Game A Month before, and it didn’t really work for me, but maybe I need to try it again, or something else along those lines. Maybe even devote a day a week to side projects. I’ll have a good think about it. 🙂 In the mean time, I’ll probably put out a small K!cking update, mostly to fix some bugs that I never got around to, but maybe some polish too.

I also need to sort this website out. It looks a little horrendous, and I’ve not kept things like the games page updated. I was really pleased with how the Quick Quote site turned-out, so hopefully I’ll have something better here soon.