As I wake up to another New Year’s Eve I find myself reflecting on the events of 2017. For me personally it has been a very busy but also rewarding year. My son started grade 1 my wife started a new job and I decided to focus full time on making games. As a result of this I was able to complete even more high quality updates to the majority of my games.
As a result millions of new players enjoyed my games, and on average my game ratings went up. I now have thousands of new followers providing me valuable feedback through 3583 Byte’s Facebook & Twitter accounts which provides a great feedback mechanism to my work.
So once I again before rushing to next year’s goals I want to take the time and review all the amazing things that we did in 2017.
Train Sim had the busiest year out of all my games with 8 updates featuring many of the most requested features. This year I really focused on addressing many of the comments sent to me via Social Media & Reviews to ensure that I responded to as many requests as I could. Here are some highlights:
Updated Ports of Call Scene with New Train Yard
New Rain Effect & Windshield Wipers added to all Trains
New Break Sparks on all Trains & Cars
New User Interface
New Achievement System
New Train Decoupling/Coupling & Improved Track Switching
New Custom Environments (build your own train levels)
5 New Trains including:
Santa Fe EMC E1
Class 66 train
LB&SCR E2 Class Tank Engine
New Train Cars including Double Stack & Grain Cars
New Airport Level
New Train Drivers
There were also lots of small bug fixes & improvements I can’t remember but one thing is for sure that Train Sim had the busiest year ever with major improvements in all areas thanks to your feedback.
One of my major goals for 2017 was to improve the overall experience of Flight Sim. In 2017 I did a major overhaul of all the environments, improving their quality & realism. I also improved many of the features such as maps, missions and fixing bugs. I think I can do more in 2018 but this years updates got me a long way to a game I think can be enjoyed by many players.
Dinosaur Sim still features very high ratings and popularity with almost 1 million players who enjoyed it so far. This year I also focused on addressing some of the feedback I received through social media and reviews. The updates this year brought players a new Flying Quetzalcoatlus, New Winter & Jungle Levels as well as a much requested Hunger & Thirst Indicator.
3 Jewels had only 1 major requests from players which was more levels. This year I doubled the amount of challenge levels to 200! I think we can all agree that it could use another 100 in 2018 🙂
Kids Train Sim
Kids Train Sim received a complete overhaul to match its features with its parent Train Sim. This was a large undertaking with took over a month but I think we can agree that the result was positive. Here are some of the new features added to Kids Train Sim this year:
New City Level
Train Coupling & Decoupling
Custom Environment (Build your own Train Environments)
Kids Car Racers received a new Alternate Reality Level where you can race your cars in your living room (or wherever you are)
Aquarium Sim received an update that allows users to build their own Aquariums
This year I laughed 2 new games. A new Match 3 Game which is a sequel to 3 Jewels with 300 new challenge levels.
Jigsaw Puzzle X which allows players to complete Jigsaw Puzzles with up to 500 pieces. Great for those long flights.
As always I encourage you to try these games and give me some constructive feedback. I nice rating is also very much appreciated as it is very difficult to launch a new game in 2017 🙂
On top of all this work that is visible by players allot goes into managing a Game Development Company, such as:
Working with 3D Artists & Practicum Students
Replying to emails & social media posts,
Porting games to different platforms such as iOS & Windows Store
Testing new screenshots and icons
And lots more
For every update you see lots of work goes into getting the game into a place where it could be enjoyed by millions of users.
In conclusion it has been a great 2017! Thank you for playing our games and all your reviews. I apreciate it. I look forward to an awesome 2018! Most Importantly:
Train Sim update is now live for Android, iOS & Amazon. This update features a New EMD GP9 Engine, New Grain Cars improved Car Shunting on train yards and a new Started Track for the Custom Environment feature.
Also it looks that the train drivers inhave put up a Christmas Tree to celebrate the Holidays. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays Everyone!
Although I had the Acela Express model ready for a while, I did not get a chance to ad it to Train Sim in the last update . Adding the Indian Scene was already a huge story and I wanted to make sure I limit the amount of changes in a single release.
So over the last 2 weeks I focused on adding the Acela Express & the Southern Pacific 4449. to Train Sim. I think you will agree that the quality of these Trains is really awesome!
I also spend some time improving the Main Menu for Train Sim. The important change here is that the scenes are now represented by text and picture, making it far more kid friendly. (This has been on my backlog for a long time.)
These changes are now live on Android & Amazon, and waiting for review on iOS. I should have the Windows Store & Phone version live within the next week or two.
There are many frameworks for managing tasks for large teams, such as Kanban, Agile & Scrum and there are excellent tools managing these frameworks. However these tools can be overkill for developers like me, working alone.
In theory you don’t need allot, after all how much does a single developer need to remember. For a while I simply used a word processor on a 1985 Macintosh Plus. (Because I wanted a reason to turn it on)
This however had a disadvantage of not fitting in my pocket so I could not add things on the go. I needed an app.
Since I am a developer I could make that app, one that fits my exact requirements based on standards that I learned during my work on large software development teams, but tailored to the needs of a single Indie Developer.
The finished product is Indie Tasks, an app for recording and managing tasks for 1 Indie Game or App developer. Now available for iPhone & Android. An app made by and Indie Developer for Indie Developers. Tested & used daily by myself.
In Indie tasks you will find standard familiar terms & processes from Scrum & Agile such as:
– Assigning Effort by using Points to Stories using a Fibonacci Sequence
– Calculated Velocity based on last 30 days of Done Tasks
– Statuses such as Doing, Done
– Ability to distinguish between Tasks, Ideas & Bugs
– Backlog Reports and Views
– Twitter Share
I Indie Tasks daily in my workflow and will continue improving it based on user feedback as well as my own experiences.