Archive for January, 2024

2023 Review and 2024 Goals

Sunday, January 7th, 2024

You can find last year’s goals here.

Well straight away I’ll confess that I failed to achieve most of my 2023 goals but it’s not a disaster as I’ve had a pretty good year and 2024 should be good too. Ideally I’d have acheived my goals but it’s OK for them to be targets so that I’ve got something to focus on, which I did.

So how did I do with my goals?

2023 Work Goals

  1. Ship Regency Solitaire II in Q2. (FAILED: It’s still not done, however it really is *nearly* done. We even made a 1 hour (4 chapter) demo in December that we sent to the casual portals to get the conversation started about them distributing the game and a couple of them have already agreed to take it.)
  2. Ship Shadowhand Solitaire. (FAILED: We haven’t touched this because Regency Solitaire II is the priority, but we’ll be getting back to this soon.)
  3. Grey Alien Games’ revenue is over $100K. (FAILED: We didn’t quite reach this mainly because we didn’t ship any new games! But 2022 was pretty good so we were OK financially for most of 2023.)

Success rate = 0/3 = 0%. Wow, that’s the first time that’s happened with my goals. We made good progress on our game, continued to publish 3rd party games on Steam and did some consultancy and writing work. Combined with our residual income from previous games things were fine-ish but we are running on fumes now and must ship soon. Also we did succeed on both of the stretch goals, so that’s something.

Stretch Goals:

  1. Start work on something else. (SUCCESS: During the summer we hired our son as an intern for a month. He’s a University student studying Game Development and he made a prototype of a game called Dead Man’s Mine for us in Unity which we shipped on This isn’t quite the same as us starting a new IP ourselves, but I’ll take it as a win.)
  2. Make some kind of platform/funding deal. (SUCCESS: We made a free game deal with GOG, and also a key bundle deal with Fanatical, which brought in a bit of extra income.)

2023 Personal Goals

  1. Get my weight below 67kg by Christmas. (FAILED: It actually went below 67kg in the autumn when I got Covid (not recommended for weight loss), but when I got better I put on some weight in the run up to Christmas and now it’s 67.4kg today. Still, it’s not a huge gain, and my BMI is in the normal range, so I’m OK with that.)
  2. Have at least 6 weeks of “no work” vacation even if it’s a staycation. (FAILED: I took 23 days out of 30. I did want to take more time off but with Regency Solitaire II being late I didn’t feel I could justify it. At least it was more than 20 days.)
  3. Fix my C64. (FAILED: I have got some more tools that I’ll need to do this but it’s been on the backburner for some reason. Well actually I got a bit distracted because someone gave me a Spectrum +2 and some games which I cleaned up and tested out.)
  4. Keep doing Yoga all year. (SUCCESS: Though I haven’t been in December due to the class changing time and us prioritising work. I’ll get back to it this coming week though. Also we went on a Yoga Retreat in Crete in the autumn.)
  5. Sort out our attic. (FAILED: We did a little bit but it’s still not finished, but we also did a bunch of home improvements and repairs this year, (see stretch goals below), which was good.)

Success rate = 1/5 = 20%. Well, it’s better than 0%! These goals weren’t super-important, just nice things to do, so I’m OK with it. Lots of other stuff happened meanwhile and we completed both of our stretch goals!

Stretch Goals:

  1. Get a significant home improvement done. (SUCCESS: In fact we got TWO things done. We got new windows and patio doors, which was needed because the old ones were not in great shape and were leaking heat and letting in noise and drafts. We also got both of our home offices decorated along with the master bedroom, two bathrooms and the living room! Furthermore, the decorator spotted a problem with some roof tiles that was causing some water ingress, so we got that fixed.)
  2. Go on a holiday away from home. (SUCCESS: We went on a yoga retreat in Crete. Earlier in the year we also went to Reboot Develop in Croatia which is a work thing, but we stayed on a few extra days to chill by the pool and also went on a fab boat trip to an island with some friends.)

Bonus Points

  • I went back to the The Netherlands with my son (who now has a job as a C++ programmer) to do some Aikido, and I did a couple of very interesting Internal Power courses. I also taught half of one of our organisation’s courses to show some of the new stuff that I’ve learned, which went well.
  • As mentioned above, someone from Twitter (who I’d never met before but was friends with) gave me a working Spectrum+2 and a bunch of games! I always wanted a grey one because I think they look great, so it’s fabulous to have that in my retro collection.
  • I did more enjoyable and interesting consultancy work last year and hope to do more this year. Once again I wish I’d done even more but various work priorities and life stuff meant it was hard to find the time. I’ve also picked up a new client in Canada that I’ll be doing some cool stuff for.
  • My wife finished decorating one of the boy’s bedrooms (he’s at Uni now) and turned it into a guest room. The other boy’s bedroom is now her craft room! I have a retro room (we converted part of the garage a few years ago) and she has a craft room, which is nice 🙂
  • I had good fun during the Christmas break making almost 50 videos of me playing vertical scrolling shoot ’em ups on the C64 (well in an emulator anyway). I aim to make more this year as well.
  • Our eldest son finally passed his driving test and we gave him our old car (Vauxhall Vectra) for Christmas. It’s not posh, probably worth about £800, but it’s functional and it means he has a lot more options now that just relying on the defunct and overpriced British railway system.
  • I’m sure there’s more but that’ll do for now.


  • For the second year running I can say “I underestimated the time it would take to finish Regency Solitaire II.” Oops. However, it’s nearly done and it’s pretty great. In order to make it pay for itself, it would be wise to make a 3rd game in the franchise more quickly, and we already have plans afoot for that!
  • We haven’t really had an opportunity to sell our TSLA stock at a profit, though probably could have sold it once or twice at breakeven. This meant that we nearly ran out of company cash in December (and wouldn’t have been able to pay our salaries) but luckily I did a last minute platform deal and some invoicing and we got through OK. I think we’ll be fine for Jan/Feb (but it’ll be tight) so we need to ship Regency Solitaire II ASAP to fix our cash flow. Plus I want to get rid of the stock as soon as it’s viable this year because it’s too risky and we may need it for salaries and/or for art for a new game.
  • Unfortunately I got Covid for the first time this autumn due to lowering our guard on a trip (or more specifically me, as I’m usually the paranoid one). My wife got ill first but by the time we realised she had it, she must have passed it onto me. It hit me pretty hard especially as in the UK people our age haven’t been able to get an updated vaccine since 2022! I was pretty ill for two weeks with a full list of symptoms inc. loss of smell/taste, dizziness, breathlessness, headaches etc. And then I had some after effects that lasted another month. It was no joke, and it cost me a good chunk of work time. Anyway, I’ve been avoiding social engagements this winter because Covid and Flu are everywhere and I can’t afford to get ill again at the moment.
  • Somehow after a patch of good health I’ve done something to my lower back, but I don’t know how. I think it may have been due to working too many hours without a break on Regency Solitaire II levels. Normally I set timers and take breaks and also use my standing desk, but I got too absorbed in work for several weeks and maybe that caused it. It’s a good reminder at my advancing age to keep varying my posture and to take work breaks. Many people don’t have this sort of problem (yet) but it’s definitely a thing for me, which is kind of annoying because my brain wants to do more work than my body can manage!

2024 Work Goals

These goals are basically the same as last year because they were not complete and they are good goals.

  1. Ship Regency Solitaire II in Q1. (It’s really close. All the art/sound is done, all the levels are done, and all the main code is done. It just need balancing, an intro movie, the Collector’s Edition UI coding, and testing. We are planning to take part in the upcoming Steam demo fest thing to get more wishlists, and launch shortly afterwards.)
  2. Ship Shadowhand Solitaire. (In theory we should do this in Q2 but I want to leave this open in case we take a break or something else crops up. But it’s kinda a no-brainer to finish it as it won’t take long and should generate some good income.)
  3. Grey Alien Games’ revenue is over $100K. (This should be doable providing we ship the things we have planned to ship!)

Stretch Goals:

  1. Start work on something else. (We’ve got several things planned including a collaboration with someone else and we should be able to start something new in the second half of 2024, if not sooner.)
  2. Make some kind of platform deal for Regency Solitaire II or III. (I’ve been specific with this goal as I’d really like to get some extra income by doing something special with the franchise. It might be a long shot though due to it being a casual game franchise, we’ll see.)

2024 Personal Goals

These are also the same goals as last year because I don’t need big/crazy personal goals, I’m happy to have realistic fun goals that support me having a good life.

  1. Get my weight below 67kg by Christmas. (Same goal as last year. I need to do some more walking this year which should be possible if I’m feeling less work pressure.)
  2. Have at least 6 weeks of “no work” vacation even if it’s a staycation. (We got close to it last year but I think we can do it this year if Regency Solitaire II does well and gives us some breathing room. I’d love to switch to a 4-day work week but currently that’s just not viable for us.)
  3. Fix my C64. (This is an overdue loose end and I think I’ll enjoy it.)
  4. Keep doing Yoga all year. (This was a very positive thing for me in 2023 and there’s no reason to stop. Maybe I’ll even go on a special weekend yoga course!)
  5. Sort out our attic. (This is so overdue it’s a joke. The problem is, unless we tackle it consistently in small parts, we need to take a week off work to get it done probably.)

Stretch Goals:

  1. Get solar panels fitted. (This has been on our todo for years but we either haven’t had the spare cash in a lump sum or have had more urgent things (e.g. repairs/maintenance) that needed doing. Once we have got them then we’ll start saving up for a secondhand electric car.)
  2. Go on a holiday to Scotland! (My wife has been wanting a holiday there for ages plus we’ll do some research for a future game there at the same time. We can only do this if Regency Solitaire II ships and sells enough though.)