It’s been a while…

I haven’t spent much time on my personal blog lately. Mostly I’ve been writing on The Lords of Midnight Blog.

I’ve managed to release two games in the last 18 months, something I need to be mindful of. I have to remind myself that that is no small feat in itself, even if the financial rewards don’t back it up, the personal satisfaction does. Although, it can become quite frustrating when you are a single developer and in direct contact with your customers. Every negative comment cuts like a knife. Every problem is amplified. I find myself rushing around trying to release fixes and updates.

I’m also working about four different contracts. That can be difficult when you are juggling your time. I spend a lot of time with my laptop in hotel lobbies, bars, and restaurants, so much of my evenings are filled with work and not pleasure.

When both worlds collide you get a perfect storm, and I end up mentally exhausted and lost.

If I was writing a Novel or a Film, I would say it is difficult to find the scenes that drive the plot forward, but some of them do in an ever so small way. Maybe I just have to question the plot. I miss the family terribly. And even though I know that I wouldn’t spend that much more time with them if I was at home, their social lives being what they are, and me still being busy, but still, that fleeting amount of contact makes a big difference.

As I transition away from The Lords of Midnight and Doomdark’s Revenge, I am trying to move over to working on my Novel, The Lily Wood Trail. I spent some time working on it ┬álast night, and realised that my writing is now so rusty that I think I might need to get a Tetanus jab. I’ve committed myself to getting a first draft written by the end of the year to realease it with personal injury lawyer in Dublin so I need to get myself up to speed very quickly. It could just be that if it’s tedious to write, then it is likely boring to read…

It’s also difficult to not think about new game ideas, but I really must try hard to park them. I have Timbles to finish first…

 

 

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A moment to reflect…

Well, this will be the first personal post on this site for a while…

I’ve been so consumed with Lords of Midnight, that most other things have taken a back seat. Now that I have moved LoM to its own blog, I thought I’d post something personal here, and take a moment to reflect.

Last New Year’s Eve, I set myself two goals. I don’t normally make resolutions, but I did last year. The first became known as ‘Piss or get off the pot’. This was directed at Lords of Midnight. I made the decision that I had to finish the game, or at least have made enough progress on it by the end of the year, to warrant continuing. If I hadn’t, I had to step away from the project for good.

So firstly then, I shall reflect on LoM, and I shall do it backwards…

The last two weeks have been manic. I had an intended release scheduled for the 21st Dec 2012 which didn’t quite go to plan. Due to Apple closing down iTunes connect, their service used to push out Apps to iTunes, I had to release LoM early. I chose the 19th, hoping that a) it would give me a little time to fixup any issues that might occur during the release, and b) no one would notice. The problem was a) there were no issues, and b) people noticed. So ill prepared, I found myself in the middle of the release storm, a couple of days early, and from that point on, it’s been go go go, all the way.

I have to say that I am very happy with how LoM has been received. From a sales point of view, it’s shifted just over 2000 units to date. As numbers go, it’s nothing to write home about, it won’t make anyone rich, and in fact for me, I chose to split the royalties after Apple and the VAT man took their cut, and therefore absorbing my costs out of my earnings. So, if I really analysed it to detail, and depending on what cost I want to attribute to LoM, I probably haven’t broken even on everything I’ve spent over the last few years, getting to this point. But then, it was never about the cost, and I have spent that money anyway. For sales, moving forward, it is now about stimulating the market, and getting out the releases for Android, Windows Mobile, and desktop.

Midwinter’s day was bitter-sweet. It was great to finally, albeit in a different way, to have shipped the product that I have been working on for the last 2 years. In another way of looking at it, I have finally commercialised something that I started working on over 20 years ago; in some way that legitimises the work. However, I’m painfully aware that it only happened because of Mike’s death, and that he was not there to see the release. That aside, I had a great pick-me-up on the day when Julian, Mike’s son, called me to talk about the release.

The game has been pretty much universally accepted well by the press and the public. The reviews I have had so far have all been positive. And although the game will never be the one that Mike and I intended to release, I feel justified with the decision I made just over two months ago.

The Christmas break proved a much needed rest, even though I must qualify rest based on the previous 6 weeks, which meant I was still working hard, just not quite has hard as before. Either way, I was able to recharge some of my batteries! It was also great to spend a bit more time with my family!

The 6 weeks prior to release were just hectic. I managed to cram in during that time, so much work that I had been unable to do over the previous two years! I was working on LoM until 2am most days, and then getting up in the morning to do the day job; home from work, start on LoM. It was so much a relief when the game shipped even if it didn’t relieve the work load.

The two weeks prior to that were a little numbing. Mike’s death knocked me a little more than I expected. Mike was a friend, and although I only met him a few times over the last 20 years, and I wouldn’t have considered him a friend in the same way I would friends I went to school with who I am still in contact with, or friends that I work with, or friends that I see more regularly and go for a drink with. He was a friend I spoke to very regularly, some times many times a day, every day. So, if we analyse friends based on how much we have talked, he would be up there near the top. Add in how much he, and his work, has influenced me over the years, and that we were collaborating closely on a project, it really is no surprise that his passing had such an affect. I think what happened was, I realised that he was more of a ‘friend’ than I had ever considered.

The second goal that I set for myself back at the dawn of 2012, was to lose weight. I won’t go into any detail here about that, other than to say that I lost 3 stone/ 36lbs / 16.6kg over the year. My shirts are now slimline, my t-shirts are now large not extra large, I just bought two coats that were medium, and my waist size went from 38 to 32. Overall I feel that I changed my lifestyle without sacrificing much or excessively exercising, so on the whole, I am very very happy with the result.

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Listening

Sometimes, all you need to do is close your mind to the white noise of doubt that clusters your thoughts, and listen to the silence, listen to the words, listen to the music. Accept the brief moments of calm that will allow you to shelter in the pleasant safety of the knowledge that; what you think is worth following!

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