Bytesize Adventures
Crafting bite-sized digital worlds

A review of 2011 and plans for 2012

This blog has been going for well over 2 years now. Its purpose is to chronicle my game development efforts and hopefully to share some insights with you. 2009 and 2010 were both productive years. Now, with 2011 officially over, its time to take a look at what I achieved in 2011 and what I plan to achieve in 2012.

First up, as is tradition (and by tradition I mean I’ve done it twice), a bit about the site.

One of my goals for 2011 was to revamp my website again (the fruits of which you are looking at now). Its important to me that the website reflects who I am and I’m fairly happy with it for the time being.

Stats-wise continues to go from strength to strength. Here are the visitor numbers for the whole of 2011…

28,604 visits from 18,669 unique visitors – both up 30% on last year.
48,773 pageviews – again, up 30% on last year.
368 visitors in a single day (at its highest point). This was 23rd September and coincided with my post “From Idea to App store in 6 months“.

Just to indulge myself and reflect upon that for a moment, over 18,000 individuals have visited this site in 2011. To me that’s incredible and acts as huge encouragement.

The 5 most popular posts of 2011 were as follows.

  1. iPhone game development toolkit (An old post but still popular apparently)
  2. 10 don’ts of iPhone game development
  3. A beginners guide to iPhone game development
  4. App development: The Testing
  5. App development: The Wireframes

Honorable mention: From idea to App Store in 6 months (contains some of the most popular posts this year, bound to be favourites of 2012).

Moving on from website stats, I said I would do a lot of things in 2011. I anticipated more updates for Astro Noughts, 2 new games, and a new version of Brainwave. I’m not going to lie, you got none of that :)

Here’s what actually went down!

1) Coffee Cellar

My big project for 2011. Loads of words, loads of code, and loads of coffee!

Coffee Cellar was all about taking something I’m passionate about and producing a slick App from a simple idea. You can read about it in much more detail here.

Coffee Cellar has been my most successful iPhone App to date. Its hasn’t done amazingly well financially (I’m only about one sixth of the way towards that new espresso machine). However, Coffee Cellar has been mentioned in The Guardian’s App Rush feature, It’s been T3’s App of the day, Its also given me my first ever print magazine review in Tap! Magazine.

Not to mention some really nice coffee community coverage from the likes of coffee works, tasteologie, coffee-rock-thought, and mentions from coffee peeps on twitter.

I’ve already released 4 updates in 2011 (including the most recent Christmas update) and I have plans for further updates throughout 2012.

2) Rocket Santa Remix

In a last ditch attempt to produce something else in 2011, I totally re-wrote Rocket Santa from the ground up – adding game center integration, fancy particles effects, revamped gameplay, and totally new sound effects and music.

Rocket Santa Remix launched as free game on 5th December. It’s not intended to light the mobile games world on fire, its just a fun distraction that I like having around :)

Over Christmas its had a few hundred downloads.

3) Astro Noughts

Astro Noughts was my first iPad game and launched at the end of 2010. In 2011, I updated it with a new difficulty system as well as some improvements to the planetarium.

After playing around with a free promotion early in the year, I ultimately decided to make it permanently free late last year.

The Postmortem I wrote was featured on Gamasutra which was nice.

I don’t intend to keep updating Astro Noughts. It was a fun project and I’m happy with the game but it doesn’t hold any interest for me any more and its unlikely to ever be successful financially.

4) Attended a conference

In January I attended an indie game development conference called “World of Love 2”. Overall it was an interesting experience and one that I’d definitely repeat. Off the back of that conference I started One Eyed Cafe with a friend.

I take full responsibility for not producing anything worthwhile from that endeavour. Ultimately, I’m not quite ready for working on a joint game project – there are too many facets that I’m eager to learn for myself. One Eyed Cafe isn’t disbanded, it’s just parked for the time being.

5) Removed Rocket Santa and Star Fusion from sale

As I mentioned above, Rocket Santa was replaced with a revamped version. Star Fusion was my first attempt at iOS development. It was well past its prime, no longer worked correctly, and, at over 2 years old, I don’t want the upkeep.

Essentially I’m tweaking/housekeeping my iOS line-up. I now have 3 products – Coffee Cellar, Rocket Santa Remix, and Astro Noughts.


2011 has taught me a lot. Its taught me about what I can achieve in a year. Its taught me even more about the App store and what its becoming. Its also made me re-evaluate what it is I want from this (this currently being a hobby). As a result, here are my plans for 2012.

1) Release one new game.

2) Continue updating Coffee Cellar.

That’s it!

That is my realistic, streamlined plan for 2012. I’m in this to write games because I like writing games. The time has come to produce something that’s a little more ambitious than my previous efforts. I’m putting aside the pressures of trying to turn a profit to instead focus on producing a game that I can be proud of. This means I need time. Joyfully, 2012 has popped up and looks like an ideal amount of time for such an endeavour.

Oh yeh, I’m getting married in 2012 too – its going to be an awesome year!