Today is officially the first day of 2011, so Happy New Year!
Today also marks my return to iDevBlogADay – a great way to start the new year. I was fortunate to participate in iDevBlogADay from day 1 but gave up my slot to focus on completing Astro Noughts this year. If you’d like, you can read my previous iDevBlogADay entries here.
You’ll have to excuse me if this is slightly self-indulgent but for this post I want to review 2010 and set some goals for 2011.
First up I want to share some website statistics with you. Bytesizeadventures was setup in June 2009. I wrote a post detailing its progress at the end of 2009. 2010 has been amazing for the growth of the site. In the space of 12 months, the site has had…
21,266 visits from 14,165 unique visitors
209 visitors in a single day (at its highest point)
The 5 most popular posts of 2010 were as follows…
- iPhone game development toolkit
- 10 don’ts of iPhone game development
- A beginners guide to iPhone game development
- my iPhone game graveyard
- the harsh reality of indie iphone game development
A huge thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit this site in 2010. I hope you’ll continue to read in 2011.
A look back at 2010
Moving on from website statistics, here’s what I achieved (and in some cases didn’t) in 2010.
Rocket Santa bombed
Way back at the start of the year, Rocket Santa’s troubled development and rushed release resulted in the game achieving only a fraction of its potential. I wasn’t too disheartened since I only released the game in order to test the Christmas market. My conclusion is that Christmas games simply do not work. Adding Christmas content to an existing game is probably a much better option (but even then I’d be weary).
This website received a redesign
I completely redesigned Bytesize Adventures to create a design more in keeping with my iPhone development goals. This website is basically the epicentre for my game development and therefore its important to me that it feels right and represents who I am and what I’m trying to achieve.
This represented the largest portion of my time in 2010 so its a little sad that it was pretty much a total failure. I conceptualised the game at the start of the year. This was to be my next big project, much more ambitious than anything I had done before it. The game started out as a relatively simple, single screen puzzle game but quickly became something larger, centred around exploration and random events. It took me 6 months of development to realise that things were going wrong and I eventually canned the project. You can read more about it here.
I consider this a tough lesson in scope and planning. Ideas come thick and fast throughout the development of a game and its up to you to keep them in check. This isn’t a mistake I’ll make again.
During the development of Explorer, I was struggling with the project management tools that were available. They’re all pretty much useless if you don’t connect with the workflow they offer. To remedy this I developed BrainWave. A simple tool to manage all of the ideas I have when developing a game and convert them into tasks to complete. BrainWave has been really successful for me, getting my projects under control and helping to drive me to ship them. The development of Astro Noughts was managed entirely through this tool. You can read more about BrainWave here and here.
Star Fusion and Rocket Santa free forever
In the latter half of the year, I was getting fed up of seeing 0 sales for Star Fusion and Rocket Santa each and every day so I decided to make them both free permanently. The result has been a handful of downloads for each of them every day. Not necessarily any better but at least I don’t have to look at zeros every day.
I still don’t know where I stand with this one. I’m still very much learning when it comes to game design and development so I want as many people as possible to play my games. On the other hand, I have ambitions to support myself by developing games for a living. Its a difficult dilemma and one that I know others share.
Thankfully 2010 ended on a high with the release of Astro Noughts for iPad. Astro Noughts has been an odd project really. Originally an iPad reworking of Star Fusion that I expected to take no more than 2 months, this quickly turned into a 6 month development and a different game entirely. It shares some common themes with Star Fusion but ultimately stands on its own (hence the new name).
It went from this…
I have a post mortem planned for Astro Noughts so I won’t talk about it too much other than to say that I’m currently struggling with marketing it correctly. I’m not ready to give up on it yet though and have some updates planned for 2011. On that note, if you have any contacts or know of any sites who you think may be interested in reviewing Astro Noughts, let me know.
Goals for 2011
With 2010 being a bit of a mixed bag, what with wasted development time and failed projects, I’m really eager to make some decent headway into being successfull in the App Store in 2011. Here are my goals for 2011…
Astro Noughts updates
As I mentioned above, despite floundering with the marketing (and target demographic) I’m not done with Astro Noughts yet. I’d like to get this game to the point where it can bring in a trickle of sales on a monthly basis. As a result, I currently have 2 free updates planned.
Update 1 will focus on bug fixes (there aren’t many) and graphical refinements, a new game mode, and a difficulty customisation system (which will no doubt also be one of my iDevBlogADay topics).
Update 2 will focus on another, more ambitious game mode and possibly Game Center integration.
New game #1
Obviously its through new games that I stand the best chance of realising my ambitions. My first new game of 2011 is currently in pre-production and is a collaboration with my favourite pixel art designer ClintonMc (who created the artwork for Rocket Santa). I can’t wait to get my teeth into this one.
New game #2
This will be another solo project for me. Currently a blank canvas.
v0.5 of BrainWave
I want to keep pushing BrainWave towards its v1.0 status. The next release will see a fair number of changes but I’ll save details of these for a future post.
A new design for this site
This is pretty much an annual thing for me. I want to create a tighter, slightly more interactive experience. I’ll mainly be focussing on structure and showcasing my games.
And thats it. 2010 in a nutshell along with my goals for 2011. My goals may not seem terribly lofty, but I can assure you that when you have a full time job to hold down, progress is slow. As always, I’d love to hear your comments below. Thanks for reading.