2016 is coming … A look back and forward
2015 was exciting and a bit crazy near the end. You can check my 2014 post here: http://www.over00.com/index.php/archives/2677
Human Extinction Simulator was released
I had great hopes for HES. Well, modest hopes I should say but looking back it was maybe a bit too much to ask of it. In 2014 I was hoping to sell 1,000 copies of it at full price and I’m forced to admit I’m really far from it. I didn’t even sold 1,000 copies unless you count the only bundle the game was part of.
I did say that 2015 would be the year of my first successful game and when I compile all revenue this game made this year, even if I didn’t hit my objective I can say it was successful all things considered. Not enough for me to make a salary but enough to say I now have money I must manage. The game cost me $200 to make and so far I made a 7,000% return on investment. That’s something few can say so I’m putting this in the successful category.
I was anxious to pass Steam Greenlight at that time last year and the whole thing ended in a confusing mess. Turns out they just greenlit anything these days and Bret Airborne was even greenlit a few hours before HES. That was a lot of emotions for not much …
Start and complete 80% of my next game?
Hmm … Releasing a game is a roller coaster of emotions and when you know 24 hours after its release that you won’t make your objective of 1,000 copies at full price the fatigue is even worse. I had some plans for strategy games, maybe even work on a DLC for HES but the heart just wasn’t there. I threw all my plans out the window and started to learn Unity working on some 3D shooter. It took me a very long time to get to this concept but it’s probably for the best. This project is now on the backburner and might remain there for a very long time.
As much as it’s easy to make a 3D game with Unity it’s easy to make a bad 3D game. The plan was to use assets from the Unity store and it could have gotten me up to a point but when you step in the 3D world you’re compared to other 3D titles and there’s no way I could have reached the proper level of detail for this particular title. I was really decided to complete this game but then …
I lost my job and it brought a new project to the table
After 14 years working at the same place this was a slap in the face but now I’ve put this behind me. Needless to say it completed screwed my plans (why do I keep making those …) but also opened the door to new ones. New plans I’m not ready to discuss in length yet but I can say that I’m working on a game full-time, I’m not alone and it’s a much more realistic project. No 3D, better concept, smaller and more appropriate scope and less risky overall (well, it feels like it but since we’re all clueless about the game industry who knows).
Indiepocalypse or something like this
It’s weird that as people are now starting to be scared of making less money this is also the first year I make decent money with a game. Maybe it could have make more in a better context, maybe not, I don’t know. I just like the irony here.
We’ve seen all kind of analysis using Steamspy stats (like this one https://medium.com/steam-spy/on-some-changes-in-games-on-steam-97d098b54921#.209oup278) and each time the conclusion seems to be the same: “nobody knows anything”.
It’s a hit business and sometimes good games don’t get anywhere and sometimes silly games like Shower with your dad simulator sold for $0.99 make more money than an interesting strategy game (if you believe steamspy stats it shouldn’t be far from $100,000 …). Some say the best strategy is to come up with unique concepts but then some indie devs are doing just fine by iterating over the same concept over and over. There are many ways to go at it and the number of people pretending to make predictions is slowly decreasing each day. That’s probably for the best as games are not made by posting on Gamasutra.
Objective: Not look for another day job
That’s a big objective but it’s really the only thing I’d like to achieve this year. I’m fortunate to be able to work on a game right now even if HES didn’t make enough money to sustain it so it gives me hope that there are other ways to work on games instead of releasing a smashing hit and then slowly burning through your money until you’re able to do the same again.
As more people are making games there are also more people looking to spread the risk of being an indie dev by supporting other projects they don’t have the time to develop themselves. This is exactly how I’m able to work on a game full-time right now and I know a few others following this path. You can’t just throw $100,000 at a project hoping to double your investment so sometimes it’s better to spread that money on multiple projects that are less risky just to secure your position and keep you going.
So right now I’m trying to enjoy my time working on this new project as much as I can without thinking too much of the worse case scenario. I’m really fortunate to be able to live this right now so let’s not spoil this with negative thoughts
Happy new year everyone and I hope to be able to reveal some details about my project really soon!