Archive for December, 2009

I have sold 100,000 units online, woo!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Since starting Grey Alien Games I have sold over 100,000 units online. I’m very proud of that figure. When you see an number like that it’s: a) a good indicator that you are successful at what you do, and b) fairly easy to imagine it being 1,000,000 instead. 😉

The sales are from the 6 games that I programmed and the Grey Alien BlitzMax Framework that I made, so 7 products in total (I cannot be more specific about which product sold what quantity due to contractual obligations). Most of the sales came from portals such as Big Fish Games, Oberon, and Reflexive, but I have also received a small amount of direct sales. I don’t really do any marketing for my site so any direct sales at all are a bonus.

The total revenue (after processing fees) from those sales is over £110,000 and it’s nearly 100% profit (97.6%), I’ve only spent a tiny amount on tools and game assets. The average earnings per hour is £34.88 (I kept detailed time logs of time spent making my products). Three games have earned me over £40 per hour.

The good thing about selling games online is that the figures above are not final! They will keep going up month after month, albeit dwindling over time.

Hopefully I’m proof that being successful as an Indie casual game developer is possible. You can do it too!

Happy New Year! Have a great 2010.

2009 Review and 2010 Goals

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Now is a good time to review the goals I set for 2009 and think about my goals for 2010, so here goes…

2009 Review

Here’s what happened to my 2009 goals:

1) Release my next game mid-late Jan. (Almost. Unwell Mel was released mid-Feb and got to no.2 on BFG.)

2) Develop 2 hit games for BFG that will hit no.1 and gross at least $1,000,000 each. One of these may be a new genre… (Didn’t happen (yet). Unwell Mel took a while to localize into 4 languages inc. Japanese. Current game is taking quite a while but is looking damn good.)

3) Start an Indie/Casual Game scene in Vancouver. (Had a few small meetups and one big one but have not started a scene.)

4) Meet some really interesting people. (For sure. Developers, new agers, fun friends.)

5) Play more games at home. (Did this mainly on the XBox 360.)

6) Start an Aikido club in Vancouver. (Succeeded in September.)

7) Get married. (Had an engagement party in the UK when we went back there for a holiday but the wedding will most likely be in the spring now.)

Generally most goals were met, so I’m pretty happy with that.

Other achievements include:

– Joined Toastmasters and did my Icebreaker speech.
– Did several professional speeches and a workshop.
– Learned Actionscript 3
– Bought a car (Subaru Impreza Wagon)
– Bought a bike and did lots of cycling to work.
– Gave up alcohol all year.
– Had an awesome summer.

2010 Goals

So then, here are my 2010 goals:

1) Finish recently started secret BFG project and watch it make tons of money.
2) Release a top 10 download title (in progress).
3) Get married (in Spring or Summer)
4) Complete 9 more toastmasters speeches so I get the competent communicator award.
5) Get a Canadian driving license (my partner drives the car because my UK license is not valid here!)
6) Build up my Aikido club, get some decent mats, and become profitable as a club.
7) Build up my health and fitness more.
8 ) Improve life work balance.
9) Sort out my looming tax situation. (It’s complicated having to do tax returns in two countries.)

That’ll do for now. In reality I have tons of goals (some are more like outstanding tasks), almost too many, but it’s probably best just to focus on a few so as not to get overwhelmed. As I complete some goals I can choose new ones, and I’m sure that new ones will crop up anyway as the year progresses.

2009 Mistakes

And now the time for honesty; what mistakes did I make in 2009?

– I crunched really hard to finish Unwell Mel and didn’t see my family for about 6 weeks at a time when they really needed me (we had just moved continent). I wish I could have gone about this differently somehow but I had just started a new job and my boss set a tight launch date for the game…Really I should have got more of the game done in England before I moved, but moving continent takes a lot of time to organise.

– I had some trouble adjusting to being an employee in a company with a tight (but normal) anti-compete clause (I was an independent developer used to running my own company before). This lead me to to feel frustrated and have some probably not very “tactical” conversations with my boss.

– I lost a $1000 a month income stream (which I really needed) and fighting over it probably caused problems in the long run too. Can’t really talk about this one much…

– I got off to a slow start with my new game. Partly this was due to the learning curve of making sure that my team had enough stuff to do each day and, because they were new to making games, they needed a lot of guidance. This meant that I spent too little time doing what I was supposed to be doing (designing and making prototypes). Also because I tried to do things the “proper” old-fashioned way and made a giant design doc before starting coding in earnest, there wasn’t much visible progress to show. In future I don’t want to have a team until I have made prototypes and thrashed out the design so that I can focus and be productive.

– I waited too long to set up an Aikido club. I was searching for the perfect venue when in reality it didn’t exist. When I finally realised this, I found something that would work and just started the club. Now I need to refine things, but at least I’ve been teaching since September.

– I’ve hardly played the guitar, or made any music. Also haven’t done many hobbies except play games. Need to fix that, but need more of that illusive “free time”.

– Haven’t explored Canada much or gone skiing or snowboarding. We didn’t have a car until fairly recently due to our tight financial situation (it costs a lot of money for a family of 4 to live in a nice location in Vancouver). We now have a car and our finances are a bit better and, in the words of the Beatles, “getting better all the time”, and so we should be able to explore more and do cool stuff now.

– Haven’t eaten that healthily and I’m less fit than in 2008. I’m doing less Aikido (and the Aikido I’m doing is less intense) so I’ve lost fitness although cycling in the summer helped. Now the winter has set in, and I recently had swine flu, I’ve lost some fitness which I have started to reclaim. Also it’s very easy to eat unhealthily here, and the office has lots of “candy” and “soda” in it, which is nice, but oh too tempting. These things can, and will be, easily improved in 2010.

– We rented a house that was too expensive for 10 months, and although our current house costs less, it’s still too expensive really. They are both great houses in a great location but our finances have felt very tight all year, lots of juggling going on, and not much of a feeling of financial freedom. One good thing is that since attending the Millionaire Mind seminar in the spring we set up a “jars” system that is working very well for us and we now have some savings and contingency money and money in other jars (bank accounts), and I even have a pension, gasp!

There are probably tons more, but those are the biggies.

So what about your goals for 2010, and your successes and mistakes in 2009? Please let me know!