Archive for January, 2023

2022 Review and 2023 Goals

Sunday, January 15th, 2023

You can find last year’s goals here

2022 was a good year and also a year of change for us.

I still haven’t caught Covid (unless I’ve had it asymptomaticly), and in fact I haven’t caught any kind of bad illness; so I guess my precautions are working. We even went to a conference in September in Croatia (between Covid waves + wore a mask on the plane), which was great!

Work-wise we’ve had a very good year. Lots of biz dev that I did early in 2022 ended up paying off and we’ve gained some breathing room for while so that we can finish Regency Solitaire II and work on what’s next without panicking about finances.

Also our youngest son went to University (he’s studying game development with programming) and our eldest son got a job as a C++ programmer. We are very proud and now we are getting using to having an “empty nest” (I like it after 21 years of parenting. It feels sort of like being on holiday!)

So how did I do with my goals?

2022 Work Goals

  1. Finish city builder prototype in Q1. (SUCCESS: Yes we did this, although I think it needs more work to turn it into a vertical slice suitable for pitching to publishers. I hope to return to this project later because it’s cool and has real potential to make good money.)
  2. Ship Shadowhand Solitaire in Q2. (FAILED: I did some more work on it but we ended up starting Regency Solitaire II in April instead. That’s fine though as I’ll return to it as soon as RS2 ships.)
  3. Ship Regency Solitaire II in Q3. (FAILED: Oops. For a variety of reasons it’s taking longer than planned, which shouldn’t really be a surprise to me. However, it’s turning out great and it is close to being done now. In December we launched the Steam page for it with a cool teaser trailer and some great-looking screenshots.)
  4. Start work on something else. (FAILED: Regency Solitaire II isn’t done yet and that’s our main focus until it ships.)
  5. Grey Alien Games’ revenue is over $100K. (SUCCESS: Numerous different revenue sources combined managed to make this possible. I’m not going to say what the exact number was, but it was satisfying.)

Success rate = 2/5 = 40%. This sounds bad but in reality we had a great year financially (see Stretch Goal below) and our main project has progressed well, so I’m fine with it. I would have liked to have shipped both games but it didn’t happen; pretty sure it will this year though!!

Stretch Goals:

  1. Make a platform deal for a back catalogue game. (SUCCESS: We actually made TWO platform deals and had a good year on Fanatical as well. This made a big difference to us. I hope that we can make more good deals in 2023!)

2022 Personal Goals

  1. Keep my weight below 66kg (FAILED: I almost immediately went up to about 66.5kg and stayed around that amount for most of the year. At least it hasn’t gone up drastically. I think that having the goal helped me to “stop the rot” as it were.)
  2. Have at least 6 weeks of “no work” vacation even if it’s a staycation. (SUCCESS: My goal was 30 days and I took off 29, so I’m calling this a success. In the end it was mostly a day off here and there except for a week in the summer and two weeks over the Christmas/New Year period. This is probably the most vacation I’ve had in years, or ever.)
  3. Keep my daily average distance walked at 3km or higher. (SUCCESS: Confession time: it was over 3km for most of the year but then I slacked in the bad weather we had recently and it dropped to 2.9km. But I’m allowing myself this one as I was only 3% off target! However, I’m not going to have this goal again in 2023 because I found it created too much pressure when I was busy with work or the weather was bad.)
  4. Spend more quality time with my youngest son. Specifically do 20 things, whatever those things may be. (SUCCESS: I printed out a little chart with suggestions on like gaming, watching a movie, playing music, discussing code, go out for a meal etc. and ticked them a lot more than 20 times in total.)
  5. Finish Cyberjam (FAILED: I didn’t touch it but I did have a great time looking at my old Amiga code instead, see the Bonus Points section below.)

Success rate = 3/5 = 60%. This is OK, but to be honest I think I succeeded at the really important things (relaxing, health, time with family) and substituted a hobby activity for another one, so that’s fine.

Stretch Goals:

  1. Make a mortgage lump sum overpayment at some point in the year. Minimum £3000. (PART SUCCESS: I didn’t specifically do this but early in 2022 before interest rates went up *a lot* I remortgaged for 5 years at a really low rate and I calculated that we’ll save at least £3000 in the long run – so it’s at least equivalent if not better.)
  2. Go on a holiday away from home. (SUCCESS: We went away twice! One was at a friend’s holiday cottage in Cornwall, which was very nice. And the other was a work holiday at Reboot Develop in Croatia. It was so nice that we are planning on going again this year.)

Bonus Points

  • As I mentioned at the start of this post, we have succesfully shepherded our sons through adolescence and sent them off to University and work (and, dear reader, it has not been plain sailing!) We also went to our eldest son’s graduation ceremony for his Maths and Physics degree, which was a proud moment. I am aware though, that parenting doesn’t stop when they leave home – it continues in many ways, just different.
  • I had a variety of medical tests for things that have been bugging me as I get older but luckily all of them proved to be fine. Generally things have been good, though I still get occasional flare ups of back, neck, shoulder problems, but I have strategies in places for dealing with those. I even got a split keyboard (R-Go) this year and switched to a vertical mouse (Logitech), which I like a lot!
  • I went to some very interesting Aikido courses including one in The Netherlands, and have made some new Aikido friends. I have a policy of only going on courses between waves of Covid to minimise risk. I also ran a successful Aikido weapons course for our specific organisation.
  • I got into retro computing in a big way. I joke that it’s my wholesome midlife crisis. I knew it was coming and have fully embraced it. First I bought a bunch of Mastertronic and Codemasters cassette tapes for C64 (a machine I had as a kid), and I really enjoying doing that. Then I bought an actual C64 and various old and modern add-ons – though it broke just before Christmas! However, I’m going to attempt a self-repair as I think I know what the problem is after watching tons of C64 repair videos.
  • I also dug out my Amiga 1200 and managed to image the 80Mb HDD onto my PC with WinUAE. I was then able to fully explore my old drive and compile/run the numerous games and demos that I coded in Assembly and Blitz Basic 2 back in the 1990s. I put some videos of these online and was even interviewed by, which was honestly really cool to me.
  • I did some enjoyable and interesting consultancy work last year and hope to do more this year. In fact I wish I’d done even more but various work priorities and life stuff meant it was hard to find the time.
  • I took up Yoga and have been enjoying it even though it’s actually pretty tough! My ham strings know about it for sure. It’s making me think about my posture more, which is good.
  • We got a new front door fitted. It was quite expensive but really keeps out the drafts and also lets in some nice light. We also got our corridor and kitchen decorated (by a pro-level decorator) and have made progress on smartening up the boys’ rooms.
  • I did some remote work experience for a local kid who was into game programming. I got him to do some tutorials and then make his own small-scoped game in Scratch and he really enjoyed it. I thinking of doing this again as it felt like a good thing to do.


  • I underestimated the time it would take to finish Regency Solitaire II. I ended up being a bit more perfectionist than planned about the art/UI, but to be fair, it is looking great! Also various real life things took up time and mental energy.
  • I also should have released Shadowhand Solitaire by now so that it could be providing a nice passive income stream, but other projects took priority. I’m determined to get it done this year though as it’s an asset just sitting there waiting to be finished and released.
  • I could have sold our TSLA holdings at a peak, and I nearly did but I mistimed the close of trading by 30 minutes, doh! Since then they’ve gone down a lot (along with the whole market), but I’m holding and waiting for the NASDAQ to recover generally even if it takes a couple of years.

2023 Work Goals

  1. Ship Regency Solitaire II in Q2. (I’ve done a projection with time estimates based on past experience and this should be doable but of course random stuff can happen. Worst case it *must* come out sometime this year and we can see if it does well enough to justify another one. I hope so!)
  2. Ship Shadowhand Solitaire. (It’s well overdue because it keeps getting put on the back-burner. I’m not specifying a target date, just by end of year. Again, this should be possible as long as we don’t have something higher priority come along.)
  3. Grey Alien Games’ revenue is over $100K. (We’ve done this before and can do it again. Perhaps I should set my sights higher, but I also know what we’ve got in the pipeline and without any special deals, this is realistic.)

Stretch Goals:

  1. Start work on something else. (We’ve got the city builder prototype to return to and even a possible third Regency Solitaire game. This depends so heavily on completing the main goals that I’m making it a stretch goal).
  2. Make some kind of platform/funding deal. (In recent years various funding deals (and tax relief) have really helped keep us going, and so I’d love to line up a great new deal of some kind. I won’t just be “hoping” this will happen, I’ll actively do biz dev to do my best to make it happen. Wish us luck!)

2023 Personal Goals

  1. Get my weight below 67kg by Christmas. (It’s currently a tiny bit over 67kg due to some winter fattening, but I think I can lose a bit through watching what I eat and exercise – the old classics.)
  2. Have at least 6 weeks of “no work” vacation even if it’s a staycation. (Ideally I’d like to increase this! But that feels too radical at the moment with the workload we’ve got, so I’ll stick to this standard UK employee amount for now.)
  3. Fix my C64. (I’m going to have to desolder at least one chip and install a hopefully working replacement in a socket. It could all go horribly wrong of course, but will hopefully be fun and a learning process.)
  4. Keep doing Yoga all year. (I’ve only done 6 lessons so far, but I’ve gone to every one that I could. When one starts something like this, I think it’s beneficial to try to commit to going regularly and for a certain amount of time to really give it a chance.)
  5. Sort out our attic. (It’s a mess of old boxes, stuff we no longer need, kids’ stuff etc. and it’s getting a bit grotty up there. So we need to tidy it all up, throw stuff out or give it away, and clean everything that remains! Not a pleasant job but it’s well overdue.)

Stretch Goals:

  1. Get a significant home improvement done. (We’ve got plans for things like solar panels, new windows, decorating the “game room”, sorting out the loft insulation etc. These are cost/availability/time-dependent, but we hope to get *something* done.)
  2. Go on a holiday away from home. Minimum of “a long weekend” but hopefully longer, and/or do several of those. (Covid is still a factor but I’m hoping that we can ship Regency Solitaire II before the summer and go somewhere nice during a safer period for travel.)