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Celebration!

Do you know the scene in the Simpsons where Lisa buys a book named "Sane Planning, Sensible Tomorrow"? (Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a youtube video of the whole scene.) The author, Al Gore, immediately gets notifed about this:

"Mr. Vice President! Someone finally bought a copy of your book, Sir!"

and Al Gore starts a short 'celebration'. Well, this whole scene feels a bit like everytime someone buys a copy of my book, as I just got the quartly report that a few people again bought it. :)



Sales details of a small indie RPG: Darkness Springs

As blogged before, I just made the my role playing game Darkness Springs free. Not free-to-play, but free as in beer. And as promised, here are the details about its sales and other stats, before it was made free:

Income

All in all, the game wasn't financially very successful. Which was no surprise, since I was the only developer behind it: I created all client and server code, all graphics, sounds and even the music on my own. Since I'm a better programmer than artist, this resulted in a probably a bit deterrent game :)
In total, only a bit less than 1000 people bought the game over a period of 4 1/2 years. The premium account for the game costed about 9.90 euro, so I earned around 9000 euro with it. Additionally, I earned a bit from the Google Ads running on the games website, but there were also the server costs, so those basically cancelled each other out.

Free Players vs Premium Account

Darkness Springs had about 200.000 'real' players until now. That is, players who played the game that far, so they created an account to save their character(s) and continue playing later. That means only about 0.5% of all players ever bought a premium account. I don't think this is a good value, so I think either the game was too boring for them, or not worth purchasing. Maybe also it was played by people not interested in paying for games at all. Not sure about that.

Sales Graph

Although I tried various different marketing techniques during the last years, sales steadily declined over time, but I think this is a natural process. Here is a graph showing this:


Summary

I invested about 3 months of fulltime development into the game. I learned a lot while writing code, rendering 3d graphics, creating the website and the php server scripts. For a european developer, and judging by the time invested, the income the game made was ok after 4 1/2 years, but definitely not very exciting. Should I start creating a game again, I would definitely choose one with much simpler mechanics. An RPG really is a bit complicated to do for one single person :)

If you haven't yet, you can play the full game here.



Update to gamedevnews

So the game development news website I launched about one month ago is going nicely. There are unfortunately not as much news to report about as I initially thought, but currently, it's about 3 interesting news items each week. People are visiting the website frequently, and gamedevnewsnet even has 19 followers on twitter already! :)

It probably will take a bit of time until the site grows, but it is a nice start. If you want to help, it would of course be nice to follow the gamedevnews account on twitter, retweet stuff you like from time to time, or better: If you developed some game development software or found out about some news, submit it. I'll definately keep the site updated.



AbstractFactoryClassInstanceWorkflowSetter

I'm currently working again a bit in Java, primarily because I'm currently testing out how to implement a neat extension also in the Android App target of CopperCube. And it is always frustrating when working with new Java APIs. Not sure why, but Java API developers seem to want to put as many Interfaces, Classes and Factories into there, to make their library look fancy. And they seem to forget that the documenting and example writing part is usually the most important part when creating a library to be used by others. If your library is there for doing one thing, then don't create 50 packages and 250 classes for it, without telling me how the hell I'm going to use that. I now tried 5 different ways to achieve what I wanted to, but it seems that it still doesn't work. Sometimes, the simpler the interface to a library is, the better it is.



Darkness Springs is now Free

Do you remember, about 5 years ago, when I developed this Flash role playing game? I made a lot of blog posts about it here. Since then, a lot has happened. People were playing the game, and some even purchased it (yay!). I added an editor to it, to make it possible for players to create their own stories and quests, and had to close it down again after half a year because it was abused by Nazis and other strange people to spread their political statements and claims.

The game wasn't a very big success, but it made a bit money at least, and in bad months at least paid the server it was running on. :) A lot of people were playing that game (I can blog some details if you are interested), and were having much fun. I received a lot of "thanks for that great game" mails, and this was already a nice reward.

Anyway, yesterday, I decided that this has been enough now, and made the game free. Not free-to-play, really free. There is no premium account, no in-game purchases, nothing in that direction. You can play the full game without limitations to the end. Try and start Darkness Springs, if you like. And have much fun :)



Programmer? Back Pain? I might have a solution.

If you are a programmer, or in general: Doing 100% of your work in front of a computer screen, typing, then it's probable that you will suffer back pain sooner or later. The human body simply wasn't engineered to stay in this specific position for long times, and so it will start complaining some day. Not sure how many blog posts and tweets of fellow programmers with similar problems I came across already, but they were quite a lot. Last year, finally after about 15 years of fulltime programming, I also started suffering this problem, so I thought about trying out some counter measures.
And I think I found the perfect one for me:

No, I don't mean playing Crysis 3. I'm talking about Archery. Shooting bows. I'm not sure what the specific medical background is why it helps, and if it actually is a good way to fight back pain by practicing archery, but it helped me for sure. And not only that: It is an ideal supplement for programming: Sit for 4 hours in front of the computer, go shoot some arrows for half an hour, and return back to programming for an additional 4 hours. I'm much more productive this way now: Concentrating the second 4 hours feels much more easier after hitting the target a few dozen times with a bow.
And additionally, it is fun:

What you see above is the target I am using, I built if myself from a few hard wall isolation bricks. My shooting skill has improved a lot recently, and I think I need to build myself a new target soon :) It is quite entertaining shooting arrows once you've mastered it, so you probably have to accept this wearout. :)
Should you consider trying this, you can choose today from a wide range of bows and even types of them. That Crysis 3 style compound bow is probably a bit expensive, but you can get neat recurve bows at about 100 euros already. Totally worth the price if you suffer pack pain.