Archive for January, 2022

2021 Review and 2022 Goals

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

You can find last year’s goals here


Well I made it to the end of 2021 alive, which was actually one of my goals (see below). It’s definitely been another strange year but once again I feel lucky that we were already set up to work from home and have managed to keep focused on getting work done, and it’s been a good year actually!

I’ve barely been anywhere or met anyone though. I think I slept in my own bed every night all year long! We met a few people at outdoor things in the summer and had a couple of meals indoors when we felt it was safe enough to do so, but that’s about it. However, I’ve continued to interact with people online via social media and zoom (or equivalent app), so that’s been good.

Workwise: we’ve had a successful year even though it might not look like it purely based on goals achieved.

In terms of personal goals: I kept healthy and met some other goals too, so I’m pleased with how that went.

OK let’s look at the goals, how did I do?

2021 Work Goals

  1. Release secret project in Q1. (PART SUCCESS: This was Regency Solitaire for Nintendo Switch! However, it didn’t come out in Q1, it launched in Q4. So I’ll award myself half a point. It turned out well and people like it, and because it’s in Unity we have the possibility to reuse that engine again.)
  2. Release Shadowhand Solitaire in Q2. (FAILED: We did some more work on this but then had to switch over to a completely new and unexpected thing for Q4, more on this below in the Bonus Points section.)
  3. Support the forthcoming release of the funded project I completed in 2020. (SUCCESS: This was T-Minus 30 and it launched in August. People seemed to really like it (it’s currently 94% positive on Steam). Also it was pretty much bug-free, so I just made a couple of small updates to it.)
  4. Release Regency Solitaire 2. (FAILED: We’ve made progress on this both in terms of pre-production and funding (woo!), but it has not shipped yet.)
  5. Stay alive and stay in business. (SUCCESS! I am still alive despite having an operation (gallbladder removal) in April, and despite ongoing Covid stuff. Our son even caught Covid at Christmas but we managed to avoid getting it from him (he’s OK btw). And of course we are still in business and increased sales revenue as well as sourced some new funding.)

Success rate = 2.5/5 = 50%. That doesn’t sound that great but two games came out that I worked on, and we changed plans in Q4 to something cool, as well as got in some new funding. So overall it’s been a successful year.

2021 Personal Goals

  1. Keep my weight below 68kg. (SUCCESS! I managed to get as low as 64kg by the end of the summer due to lots of walking, but it crept up to 66kg at Christmas. That’s fine though as I think I can slim down a bit this year.)
  2. Have at least 4 weeks of “no work” vacation even if it’s a staycation. (SUCCESS: Yep, we took 2 weeks off in the summer and 2 weeks off over Christmas, though the second break did admittedly straddle Dec/Jan with a week in each month. Also I did a little bit of work during the Christmas break to compile our annual revenue numbers but I wanted to do that so I’m still calling it valid!)
  3. Increase my daily average distance walked from 2.4km in 2020 to over 3km in 2021. (SUCCESS! Managed a daily average of 3.2km. This was quite tough to do due to weather, work, and having an operation! But I did it and enjoyed it.)
  4. Spend more quality time with my youngest son. (SUCCESS: I made a list of possible activities and exceeded my target of 20 things. I still feel like I could have done more but he has a girlfriend and is round there more than he’s at home, so it’s a bit tricky.)
  5. Make a gamejam game. (SUCCESS! I made Where’s My Computer Gone? in Pico-8 over a long weekend just before I had my operation. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and had great fun doing it.)

Success rate = 5/5 = 100%. Wow! I did it. I’m glad I managed to prioritise and fit in these personal goals along with my work goals. Hopefully I can repeat this, or get close, in 2022.

Stretch Goals:

  1. Make a mortgage lump sum overpayment at some point in the year. Minimum £1000. (SUCCESS! We actually managed to make a £2000 overpayment. We’ve still got a reasonable chunk of mortgage remaining but if feels good to keep chipping away at it like this if possible.)

Bonus Points

  • At the start of the year I had a brainwave about a city builder I could make with a unique hook. I told some friends (also sim devs) and they were very positive about it. Then in the summer I put together a basic proof of concept and pitched it to UK Games Fund and was successful! They funded us to make a prototype for 5 months with the aim of pitching it to a publisher this year! So that’s what we ended up doing instead of shipping Shadowhand Solitaire.
  • We sought some funding for Regency Solitaire II in December and ended up in a crazy situation where we had four separate offers! In the end we picked the best deal and will be working on it later this year.
  • I’ve continued to improve my C# and Unity skills and have really enjoyed that journey. It’s been fun asking for advice on Twitter and seeing all the different approaches that people have.
  • I finally got notified that I could have my gallbladder removed (I was on a waiting list). Obviously the operation and recovery wasn’t a “walk in park” but it has gone well and I don’t get hideous pains any more. I was able to get back to walking regularly pretty quickly afterwards too.
  • I’ve continued to teach my Aikido class for most of the year when we were not in lockdown. We are still learning and practicing various weapon techniques that we can do “socially distanced”, and it’s been great fun and really interesting! Though I’m hoping we can also get back to on the mat training together this year when it’s safe to do so.
  • I’ve continued to do lots of walking in the local area and have got to see some new places as well as enjoy familiar places. I’ve also done a few walks with some friends, which was good. I’d like to branch a bit more in 2022 and see some new areas.
  • I finally did a bit of stock trading in 2021 but initially lost some money (this almost ended up in the mistakes section!) However, I learned some things and eventually made back the losses and made small profit. I’ll continue to cautiously invest in 2022. Our main holdings are in Tesla at present.


  • The 3rd party Nintendo Switch port of Regency Solitaire took way longer than we had originally planned. We wanted to make sure it was really polished and stable and, because we constantly had other projects going on which involved 3rd party funding, that meant it often had to take a back seat for a while before we could get back to testing and fixing/polishing stuff. But I did learn more Unity in the process, so that was good. I also am familiar with Nintendo’s numerous back end systems now that we’ve finally shipped on their platform.
  • Shadowhand Solitaire still didn’t come out. If I had pushed myself at various times I think maybe we could have got it done and shipped, but in the end it got delayed again whilst we work on our funded city builder prototype. That’s OK though as we’ll get back to it this year (see 2022 goals below.)
  • Not sure if this is a mistake or not but we didn’t go anywhere or do much because of Covid. There might have been a few opportunities to travel a bit in the UK during safer periods, though I recall looking for accomodation at one point and it was all booked up. So we just ended up staying at home and working or chilling out, which I was mostly fine with tbh. I guess we could have done more day trips though.

2022 Work Goals

  1. Finish city builder prototype in Q1. (This should be pretty easy tbh as it’s in progress now and there are no obvious blockers.)
  2. Ship Shadowhand Solitaire in Q2. (This should happen shortly after the city builder prototype is done and I think we’ve allocated enough time to do it because there’s not much work left to do now.)
  3. Ship Regency Solitaire 2 in Q3 unless we have a really good reason to delay it. (This is our main project at the moment for 2022 and we are committed to making it happen. We’ve got a good plan and it is achievable.)
  4. Start work on something else. (We’ve got several potential things planned but haven’t finalised what will work on next yet because we need to see how all of the above things go first.)
  5. Grey Alien Games’ revenue is over $100K. (This is just about doable if we maintain existing revenue streams and also launch the two titles mentioned above. If we get funding for anything else, that will be bonus money. Possibly this should be a stretch goal but I’ll keep it as a main goal as a challenge.)

Stretch Goals:

  1. Make a platform deal for a back catalogue game. (In 2021 we had success in getting Ancient Enemy onto Epic Games Store, GOG and Humble Store, and we put our games onto Fanatical. Though what I’d really like to do is make a sweet platform deal of some kind where we get a bunch of money for putting our game(s) on some kind of new or existing platform e.g. Epic free games, Humble Choice, etc. We’ll see if anything crops up. I’m always keeping my ear to the ground for such opportunities. If you know of any, please let me know!)

2022 Personal Goals

  1. Keep my weight below 66kg (it’s 66kg now and I can definitely get it lower in the coming months by walking and watching what I eat. But then I mustn’t put (all of) it back on at Christmas!)
  2. Have at least 6 weeks of “no work” vacation even if it’s a staycation. (This is a pretty radical sounding goal but we basically always end up working on bank holidays and the UK is due 9 days of those in 2022. Most other employees take bank holidays off and so I thought I’d try to take them off in sequence instead of piecemeal, seeing as I’m my own boss. Those 9 days add up to approx. 2 weeks of vacation which we’ll take on top of the normal 4 weeks amount.)
  3. Keep my daily average distance walked at 3km or higher. (I found this doable but tricky in 2021, and I want to keep the habit going because I had many benefits from it.)
  4. Spend more quality time with my youngest son. Specifically do 20 things, whatever those things may be. (He’s got just under 1 year at home before he heads off to University.)
  5. Finish Cyberjam (This is a gamejam game I started ages ago that I made some good progress on in 2021 and I really want to get it done and shipped on this year.)

Stretch Goals:

  1. Make a mortgage lump sum overpayment at some point in the year. Minimum £3000. (We managed £2000 in 2020 and 2021 so I’m upping the ante this year!)
  2. Go on a holiday away from home. Minimum of “a long weekend” but hopefully longer, and/or do several of those. This is a bit dependent on Covid and availability of places to stay