When forming NCS on 1 July 2016, I was well aware that as a part-time indie relatively new to game dev I wasn’t likely to immediately set the world afire with my games. My expectations were that I would dabble and learn for a period – to see if I maintained the interest, to build my skills, and to zero in on the projects that worked for me and my commitments.
2016 income: $0.
Actually, given Unity licensing, Apple Developer Program, Google Play Developer Program, AWS hosting, Adobe Creative Cloud and other expenses NCS made a not inconsiderable, but not unexpected, loss.
Fortunately my day job is able to continue to fund the studio with an expectation of revenue in 2017, and the dabbling and learning has paid off. I feel much more like a capable Unity dev now; thanks in no small part to the excellent instruction from Ben Tristem and the community he and his team have built.
Unfortunately, my day job also put enormous demands on me in Q4. Anyone who works in software services understands the 70 hour weeks that come in peaks and troughs, and Q4 certainly had a few of those.
My goal of releasing an Android game to the store in 2016 was thus not achieved, and that is a key priority for me in Q1. Enter Freezo Run – an endless runner based on another of the key characters from the Dragon Friends podcast (yes, there’s a theme developing here). More to come on that very soon.
In the spirit of the True Valhalla blog, I will try to produce monthly reports for y’all; both as a way of forcing myself to own up to progress on a regular basis, and to help others following in my footsteps on the road to being a successful indie. I don’t quite have his level of stats yet (nor his level of success!), but I’m working on it.
December 2016 Studio Report
What I did in December 2016
Studio wise, little in terms of progress but much in terms of effort.
I’ve moved off evaluation versions of Maya and 3dsMax, forcing myself instead to learn Blender. Maybe one day when the studio can support it I’ll go back to Max (I have a professional background in it) but for now, free is the right price point.
I have the endless runner engine in place for Freezo Run and need shortly to work on art and the menu system.
Progress on this was hampered somewhat by two simultaneous RAID failures on my media servers and a scare with the bitlocker trojan, which has given me a long list of tasks to harden my network against the risks of two pre-teen kids starting to venture onto the internet. Backups including offsite to Glacier, migration of code to BitBucket, a consolidation of three servers down to one with about 11TB of storage, and there goes the next couple of weeks (given I only have time in the evenings and weekends).
My media server is based on Open Media Vault, which is a brilliant Linux NAS distro. Much recommend. Wow.
Expect more here in future, but for now:
I had 66 visitors to the site in December, one third of which were new visitors.
- Mailing list subscribers: 5 (hi, how was the first email campaign for you?)
- Twitter followers: 4, likes: 3
- Facebook likes: 0 (just enabled the page today)
Gaming-wise, I’ve been hitting Overwatch in my spare time, sometimes with my son who is a ridiculously good Pharah. Eve Online has taken a back seat since the war in early 2016, and I dropped to 2 accounts with long skill queues, which haven’t logged in for over 6 months now.
I also had a brief but intense fling with freestyle racing drones. Now that it’s built, I’m settled into a much less intense relationship with that whole scene.
My favourite movie last month was Rogue One, and I really enjoyed this video on building depth in game dev rather than betting on a hit.
Freezo Run. Expect significant progress in January 2017. See you in a month for the update!