I’m a bit disappointed with 2012. I have far too many cancelled and half-finished projects sitting in my “Current Projects” folder. In fact, an all of 2012, I managed to push only 1 game for sponsorship through FGL, sell a few secondary licenses from my backlog of games, and promise way more than I delivered. I am determined to not let 2012 happen again.
I’m not going to call these “New Year’s Resolutions” because that word has a way of making tasks impossible. How often does anyone complete the resolutions they’ve set? Instead, this is just a list of goals or milestones I’d like to achieve during this trip around the sun. I apologize in advance for the lack of visual stimuli in this post – I don’t have many screenshots from the future.
One Game A Month, Twice
Call me crazy, but I didn’t feel like One Game A Month was enough of a stretch for me, so I officially entered twice – once on my normal @ThatBlacksmith account, and once on my upcoming MMO’s account, @2DHeroes. I haven’t quite decided how to divvy up the games, but I think I’ll focus on things I can use in my MMO with the 2D Heroes account. I plan to earn a perfect score (100% achievement completion rating) on one of these accounts, if not both.
Time spent without a game up for sale on FGL (or other markets) is time wasted. At least, that’s what we’re going to go with for 2013. I plan to not go a single day without a game up for sale. In other words, I plan to have a game up for sale at all times, including January 1st. I just uploaded Jungle Falls Alpha on FGL, and it’s been approved (and already has a bid!) – so far, so good.
FGL, Level Up
I’ve been Market Level 6 on FGL for way too long. So long, in fact, that even though I’m ML6, I’ve dropped off of the Top 100 list. This year I plan to reclaim my spot in the top 40 (ML7), or maybe even top 20 (ML8). This will be challenging because it’s not just about me succeeding. For me to climb the ranks I’ll have to succeed to a higher degree than the other developers, who’ve already proven themselves to be quite skilled at success. As of this post I’m ranked #110, but I plan to change that very soon.
Some of you may remember a ridiculously ambitious survival game I started making in the middle of 2012. After 7 months of saying absolutely nothing about it, I’d like to officially announce that it’s back on. Right after the last video I made, I lost sight of where I wanted the game to go. It was all tech demo and no gameplay. Recently I sat down and planned a new direction for the title, and now I think I can continue it with confidence. I’m not sure when I’ll get to it, but I plan to start posting videos of its progress again sometime in Q1 2013.
2D Heroes, Hero-ing Up
The fabled MMO that never seems to exist. I’ve been starting and stopping this project for an entire year now. I always manage to find some lame excuse for why I can’t work on it, be it the framework I’m using, the fact that it won’t earn any money for awhile, or a shiny new game mechanic that I’m distracted by. No more! This year will see the launch of 2D Heroes in some form or another (probably another), probably with a closed beta of some sort showing up in Q2 2013.
I have a dangerous tendency to only monetize as much as I need. All of my excess money goes either to consumables (spell scrolls, potions, etc.) or Steam games. Apparently I’ve never heard of earning more than I need and saving. Because of this, it’s easy to fall into the assumption that independent development isn’t capable of earning a decent salary. This year I’d like to debunk that myth for myself. I’d like to see exactly how much I can earn in a year if I really push myself. For that reason, I’m shooting for $50,000 USD in 2013. I did some research and this seems to be a solid respectable amount for salary workers, and about 4 times what I’ll need to cover bills for a year. This will probably be the hardest goal for me, however. It’s far too easy to release a game and then mess around with hobby projects from 3 months, especially if I don’t need the money.
I’m going to completely redesign this website, damnit. I’m really not happy with it being just a blog, as most of my traffic comes from people who clicked a link in one of my games. I want to polish up my navigation so that people looking for more games can easily find what else I’ve made and so that those interested in licensing my games can easily do so. I also intend to adhere more strictly to this weekly posting schedule that I’ve recently been working at.
In addition to the already-copious amount of work I’m going to have to do to meet these goals, I’m going to start drawing daily in an effort to improve my artistic abilities. A few of my friends have been doing this recently, and there’s no doubt that to get better at something, you have to do it – a lot. I also plan on learning a total of 3000 or so Kanji to improve my Japanese. If all goes well, I’d like to take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) each year until I pass them all, starting in 2013. I’ve been studying the Japanese language off and on for quite a while, but I waste so much time relearning what I lost during my breaks. I’ll never get better if I don’t push myself out of this groove I’ve fallen into.
Assuming I don’t fail terribly on my financial goals, traveling more frequently is definitely a must-do. There are quite a few different events that I’d like to start attending on a regular basis including FGS, GDC and PAX. I’d also like to finally visit Japan, since I’ve been saying “I’m going to Japan next year” for the last 10 years or so.
I’d really like to finally get a game up on a marketplace such as Steam or Desura. I’ve been planning (“planning”) to branch out and establish additional revenue streams so that, if anything happens to the web sponsorship model, I won’t be completely devastated. I may even port a game or two to mobile, assuming the game is the type to play well with just mouse/touch input (I usually develop keyboard-/controller-based games, which would require a lot of additional work to make a mobile version work).
That’s about all I can think of right now. I’m sure I promised myself I’d do a vast number of other things for 2013, but as these things usually go, they must have slipped my mind. Let this post serve as a personal reminder of all the things I want to get done, so that 2012 will never, ever happen again.