In 2012, I basically had a breakdown. Stress at work reached a point where one day in April I just couldn’t make myself go. I then bounced around various mental health services and medications, and mostly sat around doing nothing and feeling horrible.
2013, however, is the year I finally got some control back in my life. Not complete control – I still find dealing with people outside of close family members difficult; I doubt I could handle employment; and I’m still on medication. However, I am working self-employed. I’ve seen my first Android project through to release. I’ve not given-up despite it being a failure commercially (though I do have plans for several improvements to it that may help).
I have found I struggle with uncertainty: if I know how the finished product should be, I can stick with it, but when it’s complete, I feel lost. Games are particularly tricky, as you cannot design one in advance and know if it will work. I’ve put a lot of time into two projects in particular this year, DropPix, last mentioned here; and Turn By Turn Racing. Both seemed good in theory, but didn’t work well in practice, and I found it very difficult to pull the plug on them. How could I know whether more polish would fix them?
As I go into 2014, I have several projects in need of completion. There’s a new Android app that’s been in my head since before Quick Quote. F!shing is in need of a structural rewrite to deal with some performance issues, but I’m otherwise pretty confident in it. I began work on a roguelike game in November for the Trial of Oryx contest, and though I missed the deadline, it’s very satisfying to work on, even if it’s not likely to make me rich. I have the beginning of a Goblin Fortress remake lying around too, though its fate has not yet been decided.
So, I’ve got lots to keep busy with. Hopefully in 2014 it will finally pay-off a little!
This past week I’ve been working on adding discounts to the paid version of Quick Quote. You can add an unlimited number of discounts to a quote, and these can be either a fixed amount, or a percentage of the total cost.
Quick Quote is an easy-to-use quotation and estimate calculator for Android phones and tablets. Enjoy the free version for as long as you want, with no limits on how many quotes you can store. The discount feature is only available in the paid-for version.
So, a couple of months ago I was given an idea for an Android app. As I’d not done native Android development before, I started with a small part of it, which involved calculating a quote by entering quantities for various items. At some point, it occurred to me that it made sense as a stand-alone application, and on the 28th of August I officially split it off into a new project, Quick Quote. (Still a work in progress, so there will be some slight differences in appearance in the released version.)
Quick Quote is an Android application that lets you quickly produce quotes, estimtes and invoices, and then save them for later or share them, such as via email. Create quotable items in advance, then when it’s time to calculate a quote, simply choose which items and how many. You can see more screenshots on the Quick Quote page.
Working on an application is very different from a game. In some ways it’s been refreshing – I can make a list of what needs to be done, and know that when that list is complete, so is the app. Games are much less certain, and something you work on for months can turn-out to be no good. There’s also the issue of competition; games all effectively compete with each other, whereas I could not find any other apps that already do what Quick Quote does, which feels more secure. In addition, apps seem to suffer less from the race-to-the-bottom and expectations of being free that mobile games do.
Overall, I’m pleased with what I’ve accomlished, and it’ very satisfying. I’m not fully decided on what I’ll work on next, as that will partly depend on how well this goes. There are a couple of extra features I’m considering adding (but am avoiding doing so until I know it’s worth the time.) As something that took a little over a month, it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t sell. It’s been a learning experience, at any rate.