Bi-Weekly update 15

Manage the Universe

Another two weeks of progress have been made on ‘Manage the Universe’. Still working on very rough concepts. But I have some nice screenshots to spice it up!

World surface generator

Most of the work went into the tile generator. This system will generate the surface of the world where your character can walk upon. The world consists of regions where each region is a hexagon that is filled with smaller hexagon tiles. A few screenshots of the work in progress:

Decisions

There are a few things that I had to decide upon. How big is the world? How detailed is this world? Is it generated or hand crafted? How close by is the camera on the player, and how good does it have to look when being that close?

I choose the world to consist of regions in hexagonal shapes, with that being the smallest ‘thing’ in the game. You specify if a region has housing, mines, units, etc. Then the region is split up into smaller hexagon tiles, with the content of these tiles being generated from the region ‘master data’. These tiles leverage the benefits of a generated terrain while still being able to model specific tiles. This way I can still create interesting tiles with specific features to it.

Here is a screenshot of me work out another aspect of the design: how ‘rough’ these terrain tiles will be and what the max height can be while still look believable.

To get an idea of sizes: the screenshot is a mountain tile composition I made. This mountain consists of 7 tiles. This is the highest I can get a mountain to be without taking more tiles as a base, or else it will look ‘off’. The capsules are the size of a human avatar, for size comparison. Each tile is roughly 40 by 40 meters, the region 400 by 500 meters.

There are still some things to experiment with: take the mountain for instance, it is very low poly. I don’t know my poly budget yet but I think it doesn’t look that well even if you take in consideration there will be props on the mountain slopes. So I think I have to go with LOD profiles on my tiles to get a better looking world, especially since the cam will be more close by than the screenshot currently shows.

Next

There is still a lot to do to get even a minimal working version.

Working on the game gets easier by the week. I had a lot of difficulties determining where to work on when all was unclear, but it is a lot more fun now I am heading in a specific direction.

Fingers crossed if I can have some gameplay ready in 2 months from here…

Bi-Weekly update 14

Manage the Universe

Two weeks of hard work have gone into ‘Manage the Universe’. I wanted to get a visual stimulating progress to show to you my readers… but instead I ended up creating a lot of code and doing a few sessions on game design.

I’m getting an idea of what I want with the visual side of the game. Creating this on my own isn’t in my set of ability so I have called in on the mighty power of the internet to assist me… in getting some nice things from the asset store!

These assets will be used in the alpha I plan on releasing November this year. I don’t know if they will be in the end product: that will depend on how well it works.

Another interesting thing I did was asking Reddit about my game design. I got a lot of useful responses. The main issue pointed out was that there is no ‘core game mechanic’.

So I did a lot of thinking and rework on the game design. And I decided to get the scope of the game smaller to be able to deliver something worthwhile end 2020.

While working on the design I realized a lot of the game’s pacing is depended on progression. So my main focus currently is to get an interesting tech tree that will allow for a gradual pacing but at the same time get that sci-fi vibe of endless exploration and endless possibilities.

One thing I learned while getting a tech tree together is that I needed to work backwards: In a game a tech unlocks an ability, but as a designer I have to think about the pacing I want to achieve and then work backwards what that implies for the available techs.

An idea of where I am currently at with the early stage gameplay:

‘Manage the Universe’ early game progression on draw.io

And that is it for this update! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and know a bit more about what it takes to make a game.

Bi-Weekly update 13

New content

As a solo game developer I have to make stuff happen across a broad range of expertise’s. That is not easy as a specialist. And I think a lot of small (starting) business have these issues. So that is why I want to share my practices.

I did some website analyzing past 2 weeks. This article came out of that: Your website, worth the effort? If you have a small website and try to reach out to your customers, please give it a read and comment how it was helpful to you or how I can improve articles like this in the future.

A picture from the article displaying real traffic data from 2020

I created something else last week. A tutorial ‘Azure DevOps Unity3D pipeline‘ about using CI/CD for Unity3D game development, using the Microsoft stack. I tried using Jenkins in January this year to achieve the same, but that didn’t work out. So that is why I created one using Azure DevOps and I’m quite satisfied with the results.

The tutorial video from the article

In the future I will give you more insight in my toolings used. But I need some time to accumulate positive and negative experience’s so I can give a balanced insight in my game dev related development tools and practices.

Birthdays

August is a special month for my family: my wife, 1 child and I celebrate our birthday that month.

Due to COVID-19 we had to spread the ‘load’ so we had a full week of eating cake each day.

Not much else

Beside creating the content for the website and attending to birthday parties there was not much time left.

I did some code optimizations on Manage the Universe and added a few background-computing things but that was all. Nothing visual to show…

Next update I promise I share some nice early gameplay!

Azure DevOps Unity3D pipeline

This is an article to accompany my video about setting up an Azure DevOps pipeline for a local build agent with Unity3D.

For those who want the files: https://gamefeelings.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/helper-files-for-azure-devops-unity-build-2.zip

And here the links to a few other resources:

Why Azure DevOps

I did a video on a Jenkins setup this year. In that video I show how to setup a local build system for Unity3D with Jenkins.

Doing DevOps was already kind-of a practice in game dev. It was often called a pipeline and revolved around getting newly build stuff integrated in the existing code base. So the current move of automating and streamlining more stuff into pipelines is only an evolution of this old practice. You only have to pay attention on what to automate and how stringent you are, but other that that it is a worthwhile exercise. See a good YouTube about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9HRzE7_2Xc.

So why Azure DevOps? Well, I’m a Microsoft developer from when I grew up and have used their tools for over decades now. I do find that over time I like their approach to empowering the developer with good working tools, I tried a few other tools but always got back to them having the better maintained and better thought-out philosophy.

I tried Jenkins but found it to be outdated and non intuitive. So yeah, I do have a few (payed) Microsoft accounts already so for me Azure DevOps is the better choice.

Helper files

If you follow the tutorial you see me using a batch file, a setup, and a specific pipeline.

You can download the content in a zip over here, or copy it from the source code paragraphs below.

The pipeline yaml file:

# Starter pipeline
# Start with a minimal pipeline that you can customize to build and deploy your code.
# Add steps that build, run tests, deploy, and more:
# https://aka.ms/yaml

trigger:
- master

pool:
  name: Default
  demands: 
    Unity_2019.3.2f1

steps:
#cleanup for unity build
- task: DeleteFiles@1
  inputs:
    SourceFolder: '$(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)'
    Contents: '**/*'

#get the previously secured library (if any) for performance reasons
- task: DeleteFiles@1
  inputs:
    SourceFolder: '$(Build.Repository.LocalPath)\Unity Source\Manage the Universe\Library'
    Contents: '**/*'
- task: CmdLine@2
  inputs:
    script: 'if EXIST "$(Build.BinariesDirectory)\Library\" move "$(Build.BinariesDirectory)\Library" "$(Build.Repository.LocalPath)\Unity Source\Manage the Universe\Library"'

#unity PC build
- task: UnityBuildTask@3
  inputs:
    buildTarget: 'Win64'
    unityProjectPath: 'Unity Source\Manage the Universe'
    outputPath: '$(Build.BinariesDirectory)\Build'
    outputFileName: 'ManageTheUniverse'

#create the installer
- task: BatchScript@1
  inputs:
    filename: 'Installer/createsetup.bat'
    arguments: '"$(Build.BinariesDirectory)\Build\*" "$(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)\SetupCreation" "0.1.$(Build.BuildNumber)"'
    workingFolder: '$(Build.Repository.LocalPath)\Installer'

#upload artifact
- task: PublishBuildArtifacts@1
  inputs:
    PathtoPublish: '$(Build.ArtifactStagingDirectory)\SetupCreation'
    ArtifactName: 'drop'
    publishLocation: 'Container'

#secure the library for performance reasons
- task: DeleteFiles@1
  inputs:
    SourceFolder: '$(Build.BinariesDirectory)\Library'
    Contents: '**/*'
- task: CmdLine@2
  inputs:
    script: 'move "$(Build.Repository.LocalPath)\Unity Source\Manage the Universe\Library" "$(Build.BinariesDirectory)\Library"'

The setup batch file:

set arg1=%~1
set arg2=%~2
set arg3=%~3

"Inno Setup 6\ISCC.exe" "/DBuildSource=%arg1%" "/DBuildTarget=%arg2%" "/DMyAppVersion=%arg3%" setup.iss

The Inno setup 6 file:

; Script generated by the Inno Setup Script Wizard.
; SEE THE DOCUMENTATION FOR DETAILS ON CREATING INNO SETUP SCRIPT FILES!

#define MyAppName "ManageTheUniverse"
#define MyAppPublisher "GameFeelings"
#define MyAppURL "https://gamefeelings.com/"
#define MyAppExeName "managetheuniverse.exe"

[Setup]
; NOTE: The value of AppId uniquely identifies this application. Do not use the same AppId value in installers for other applications.
; (To generate a new GUID, click Tools | Generate GUID inside the IDE.)
AppId={{A3C19EB9-57D2-4DCD-870D-9A8A0CCCBFB2}
AppName={#MyAppName}
AppVersion={#MyAppVersion}
;AppVerName={#MyAppName} {#MyAppVersion}
AppPublisher={#MyAppPublisher}
AppPublisherURL={#MyAppURL}
AppSupportURL={#MyAppURL}
AppUpdatesURL={#MyAppURL}
DefaultDirName={autopf}\{#MyAppName}
DisableProgramGroupPage=yes
; Remove the following line to run in administrative install mode (install for all users.)
PrivilegesRequired=lowest
OutputDir={#BuildTarget}
OutputBaseFilename=SetupPc
Compression=lzma
SolidCompression=yes
WizardStyle=modern

[Languages]
Name: "english"; MessagesFile: "compiler:Default.isl"

[Tasks]
Name: "desktopicon"; Description: "{cm:CreateDesktopIcon}"; GroupDescription: "{cm:AdditionalIcons}"; Flags: unchecked

[Files]
Source: "{#BuildSource}"; DestDir: "{app}"; Flags: ignoreversion recursesubdirs createallsubdirs
; NOTE: Don't use "Flags: ignoreversion" on any shared system files

[Icons]
Name: "{autoprograms}\{#MyAppName}"; Filename: "{app}\{#MyAppExeName}"
Name: "{autodesktop}\{#MyAppName}"; Filename: "{app}\{#MyAppExeName}"; Tasks: desktopicon

[Run]
Filename: "{app}\{#MyAppExeName}"; Description: "{cm:LaunchProgram,{#StringChange(MyAppName, '&', '&&')}}"; Flags: nowait postinstall skipifsilent

Admin Access

You need to have a high access level in your Azure DevOps organizations to pull this off. So in an existing organization with a DevOps account already in use you probably need to work with the admins to get everything going.

However if you have your own (free) account you by default have the admin role.

Azure DevOps plan limitations

Depending on your DevOps account plan you have limitations to the amount of running agents. And you have limited build minutes a month.

If you are on a free version you probably are limited to 1 local build agent, and have 1800 free build minutes a month (and for more you pay).

Even with a local build agent a few things still count for build minutes like uploading your artifacts or coordinating stuff.

Your website, worth the effort?

I have my websites erikderoos.nl for over 5 years now and gamefeelings.com for almost 3 years. What did it bring me? Was it worth the effort?

My website philosophy

I like to create stuff and share the product or the experience with others. This can be to help others, or to get money to feed my family, or just for selfish (very human) reasons like boosting my ego.

The thing is that the current world is fragmented over specialized websites: your portfolio on LinkedIn, your personal story on Facebook, your game on Steam, a game dev blog on Indie DB and a thought about game dev on Gamasutra.

I’m not in control of this data. Nor do these sites create a good picture of me or my capabilities. And if I ever want to add something to this that doesn’t fit in their specialization, like selling game stuff on my own, I then have to start from rock bottom.

So my philosophy is to create 1 website for my personal experience and 1 website for my business. And then to get interested souls to find my content.

Link building

To be discoverable by these interested souls I have to make myself known to the search engines.

Being known to these search engines is just the start. If you know this stuff just read ahead, but for those who don’t know about link building or SEO (Search Engine Optimization):

The Google and kinds have a system in place, it is called ‘ranking’. They will rank your website’s relevance depending on keywords, actuality, writing quality, ability to deliver on your promise (of information), your authority and many more parameters.

The main thing here are keywords and authority.
Keywords are relevant to know when to show you when people search on a subject. Not all keywords are equal because some are so overcrowded with websites that want a slice, others are so specific nobody searches on them.
Authority is build with links from external websites to your websites content. The better the external websites rating, the more relevant the link, and the longer people stay on your website after the link, the higher your authority gets.

Websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and Steam are massive platforms with massive credibility. However the search engines know that there is a low entry to get a link on this platforms to your website.
But if just a lot of people follow a link from this platform to your website, you still must be doing something right.

And that is when the rank of your website starts to increase. On the given keywords.

I utilize the specific platforms to maximize their gain too. A good YouTube video will get more people to view it, YouTube will value stuff of my creation more and show it to more people, thus showing links to my website to more people.

Getting people to know you is in the end just a numbers game.

Time intensive content

I keep track of my time invested in activities. So I know how much time I spend creating content for my website or just keep it up to date.

Time tracking in Excel

I did spend 100 hours in 2020 on content. That is 14 hour / month. In that time I maintained 2 websites, created 29 posts, created 1 YouTube video, attended 2 conferences and had a presence on Twitter/Facebook/Reddit.

Results (personal website)

My personal website erikderoos.nl was a failure from the start. I did 4 blog posts on it in 2 years time on a very specialized subject. Further more I have a glorified portfolio on there to give more background to my LinkedIn profile.

erikderoos.nl visitor/views per year

In 2018 I got 110 visitors with 2.4 views, in 2019 I got 174 visitors with 2.4 views and for now in 2020 I got 178 visitors with 2.9 views.

No one ever referenced visiting my personal website during my time as a software consultant when doing interviews on new projects. Because this was my main goal this website didn’t work out.
But not all is lost, there are some solid visitor numbers. And it seems that 50% of the visitors follow personal links, probably to get a better idea of who I am. Maybe this helps people to better judge me and my online activities.

Lets forget this website and focus on my game dev website where I intent to make money off.

Results (business website)

My website gamefeelings.com is a much more alive site where I blog about my game dev endeavors. I currently have 50 posts in total. I also use YouTube to host support video’s for my content, and I have a few games on external game portals that link back to this website.

gamefeelings.com visitor/views per year

In 2018 I got 109 visitors with 2.9 views, in 2019 I got 78 visitors with 1.5 views and for now in 2020 I got 343 visitors with 2.1 views.
Furthermore I added a mailing list in 2020 and got 6 natural non family/friends subscriptions in the last 2 months.

Referrers in 2020

What I find interesting from my referrers, is that from the 343 visitors in 2020 there were 70 from following a link on (only) 1 YouTube video I made.

I never did any marketing, aside from a review request in 2018 with the launch of my game Find the Gnome. Nor did I ever post content that wasn’t something of my own or was click bait.
With me putting more effort in creating better content more people gradually find my website but I haven’t hit the jackpot either.

Views per page in 2020

With 100 hours put into the website and the content on the website, I attracted roughly 3 people per hour spend.
However If I look into the YouTube video I did, it took me 9 hours to make it and I got 82 people to my website with it (so far). So that is 11 people attracted per hour spend.

It seems that over time my content posted on socials is the best way to get people to my website. The number 2 and 3 are Facebook and YouTube with both 70 people attracted.
Funny is that the nr 1 is search engines: 47 people got to me through Google, and 42 got to me trough Baidu, with 91 attracted people in total.

I have one last thing about my website’s efficiency: I got 2 freelance game dev jobs in May 2020. One was a jobpost from Facebook, the other contacted me by LinkedIn. They both mentioned visiting my website. These were small projects with small payments but as my 2 first gigs these were worthy starter projects.

Summary

This is what I take away from this:

  1. If people want to find you they will.
  2. My content isn’t magically discovered by people minding their own business, I have to stay active in promoting and distributing my content to them.
  3. Socials are a good way to distribute my content. However, content quality is important and that can be measured by people organically finding me on search terms.
  4. Having a compelling website is very time consuming. Just creating content about random subjects isn’t the best way to spend my hours. It is wiser to limit the subjects to what I am good at or can write interestingly about.

Bi-Weekly update 12

Manage the Universe

I have been working on Manage the Universe for a few weeks now, and I am still in the prototype phase. A few idea’s are getting more refined during this process, so that is what I want to show you today.

This gif starts with the ‘starsystem overview’ or so called ‘level 3 view’ and when the planet gets selected, we move over to the ‘planet regional view’ or ‘level 2 view’.

Manage the Universe - Prototype - 2020 08 07
Manage the Universe – Prototype – 2020 08 07

The idea is that on level 2 you get to a Civilizations like overview and manage the world by interacting with these tiles and expand cities and corporations on them.

These tiles on level 2 are fed with a historical and geological history system that will decide their state and their progress. So on getting to a world for the first time, you can encounter already developed cities based on the history of the world and the history of the inhabited race.

These tiles are ‘districts’ that you are able to explore on a level 1 view with your character. So next to do would be to make a level 1 view where you can actually get down to this planet and walk around in the cities / deserts / woods.

Other stuff

There is not much else to report.

Bi-Weekly update 11

New mailing list idea

There are a lot of people around me and my family that like to know what it is that I do, and how things are going with my game company. For them I have this email list in Mailchimp.

I’m going to change some things to this email list. Currently it is just ‘the same’ as this blog, but I find it hard to come up with a good email each time because I know people read the email list for different reasons than these blog posts.

So I’m going to stop sending them a summary of this blogpost, but instead focus more on the ‘what people close to me want to know’.
The email list content is thus going to be more centered around running the company and the impact it has on me and my family, while this blogpost is more focused on game updates and less about detailed personal/family matters.

Holidays

I had some great holidays the past 3 weeks. It was a good mixture of relaxing at home, go out camping, building a nice garden shed, and meditating on my companies future and the next game to build.

Manage the Universe – my new game

Previous update I shared that my new game will be centered around the following

space, inception, sleeves, management, adventure, 3D pixel-art, replay-ability.

The name of the game is ‘Manage the Universe’ for now. It will be most of all a strategy game mixed with the management style of games. I thought this name to be quite fitting for the genre and the content.

It’s basic gameplay is that you are a person that have to play the game on 6 different levels to achieve the end goal, and the end goal is to rule the universe.
At level 1 you are a mere peasant, roaming an inhabited planet and you have to help your environment to advance.
At level 2 you are a governor of a province, and try to get along with your neighboring provinces.
At level 3 you start becoming a space oriented world organization, seeking for help and answers on your near planets and stars.
At level 4 you start to really get a grip on space and build massive fleets to conquer the stars and find other civilizations.
At level 5 you organize with other civilizations into federations and establish a galaxy wide order, while striving for supremacy.
At level 6 you start a secret order, have a base, and recruit followers. This to unravel a mysterious fate that is brought upon your galaxy.

The thing is: you can play all levels at once. Every planet is visit-able, every civilization has its history and is plans for the future. You can play small fleet battles with early space crafts or massive end-of-times size space battles with planet-destroying capable dreadnoughts.

This game will be about feeling powerful, discovery and strategically play your ‘cards’. The challenge is to not to win, but to advance.

It will also be about allowing you to play the way you want: want to stay doing level 5 stuff only? Ok. Want to start a new game at level 5 immediately? Ok. Want to use the same randomized seeds over and over again? Ok. Reset the universe mid-game and get to keep most of your stuff? Ok. At least that is how I want to play my games…

Aesthetics and my new game

During my holidays I build this shed:

garden shed with open entry

I really love doing all kinds of creative works. I tried to create this shed with a mixture of functionality and beauty, and all from only an image I had in my head.
In the end I think the treated wood wood nicely contrasts with the darkgrey paint, the thick beams give it some posture, and the angles help to blend it more into the garden and keep a sense of depth. It is only the roof that I’m not that fond of, its finish was hard to be done nicely.

With my new game ‘Manage the Universe’ I want to spend more time on the aesthetics than I did on previous titles. A bit like the before mentioned garden shed: a mixture of functionality and beauty. Functionality is something I really like myself so my games will always be heavily influenced by that, beauty is something I long for but don’t understand (yet).

Animal Winter – update

I’m working on this title I came to call ‘Animal Winter’, as a side project to have something completely different to wrap my mind around.

This is the latest advancement:

It is now a ‘proper’ endless runner with a never ending generated environment. I use so called ‘segments’ that the game dynamically stitched together.

And the stitching doing its work:

Bi-Weekly update 10

Holidays

There is not that much game related content for me to show currently, because our main seasonal holiday has landed and my kids are now at home for the coming 6 weeks.

All kind of interesting family activities are now taking place, from building a new shed for our bicycles in the garden to staying over at grandparents.

For me the holidays are an excellent time to reflect on life and to clean up some physical and mental stuff.

Digital escape wrap-up

So with the dust settling I can finally see some clear outlines.

I definitely think I need a vacation and get a bit less attached to my client’s projects. For me it is good to be concerned about the well-being of the total project but everyone has the right to have their own problems. I better not try to solve these problems for them, they have their own journey to complete.

My lesson is that I have to be able to work in projects with problems and alongside others, without the need to solve those problems. Yes I can help to make the issue more clear if they ask me to do so, but from there on it is their burden to carry.

One other thing I can do is to be more clear on my responsibilities and draw a clear line when I get the blame. I tend to react ’emotional’ by just talking like crazy, but that isn’t helping any party involved. I think it is better if I just state/verify the facts, and then retreat and allow myself to reflect on the issue and formulate a proper and well-thought out response.

Very few people are creative

Speaking of having the right on your own problems and life being miserable: I found a lot of great motivational people at the interwebs lately and I want to share a game-related insight with you.

This one is from Jordan Peterson. I find it easier to digest this lecture if you know where he comes from. For him, humans are destined (programmed/pre made) to function in a community and help their community with what they got. And if the human understands what he/she got and put it to good use, this human will enjoy life and be rewarded by the community with a fitting reward that encourages more.

I like that he goes from idea’s to being creative, but at the same time addresses the issue that it is very easy to get idea’s but to execute on it is harder and to be renown for it by the community is almost impossible.

On this time mark he shows a way to measure creative success.
I need hard frameworks like this to keep myself positive, because with time I degrade my doings and think less of them.

When I apply this on myself, I came quite some way with my game ‘Find the Gnome’. Because I didn’t only complete it and release it, but random people did buy this game and even did leave nice comments. Yes it was on Steam and yes It’s not that much of a prestigious platform to have a game on, but I think my creativity rating is currently at least a 2 and arguably a 3… and that is much more than zero.

Bi-Weekly update 9

It is a long day since the last update. Something bad happened to the ‘Digital Escape’ project that needed all my attention.

But first, the good stuff.

Father’s day

I got a sweet present for father’s day. My in-house office is upgraded with a very nice looking name tag:

Father’s day present “Daddies game studio”

Back on track with Bart

Bart and I were working on something I came to call ‘Animal Winter’. But during the early outbreaks of the COVID-19 crisis we both got motivational problems. We didn’t decide on what to do, but cut each other some slack due to the circumstances.

Last week we caught up again on this game. We both came to the agreement we still see value in working together, and to continue work on this title. We tuned down our expectations, so we now expect to see some minor progress only each 2 weeks.

We are currently in the prototype phase and are creating some hastily-put-together scenes to decide on what works and what not.
Currently it looks like an endless runner. It resembles a peep box with paper figurines, and you are a fox trying to acquire food while running this obstacle course.

Hoop master

I met a new client from America. He did find me through my ‘Digital Escape’ project reference on LinkedIn.

Hoop Master

They have this Facebook game ‘Hoop Master’ they will release 1 Juli. For this game they need support on using Azure services and PlayFab to reach out to their audiences.

They want to launch a new game each month and for that purpose they build a back-end/server capable of doing so. They already have some engineers doing back-end stuff as a side job but they found out it is hard to utilize the vast platform Azure nowadays is. That is where I came into the picture as a Azure / PlayFab specialist.

This is a project that requires only a minor amount of hours a week. They pay a hourly fee, and the fee is sustainable for me. These characteristics aligns perfectly with my desire to have multiple work-for-hire clients, and still have spare time for my own game projects.

New game

Everyone has idea’s. But creating something real of an idea is hard, and it is even harder to create something worthwhile.

I don’t know if my current idea is a good one. But I have learned a lot from my previous attempts at creating a game. For instance, this new game has to be something I want to play myself. With ‘Find the Gnome’ I did build it for my son and that didn’t work out that well.

My new game is going to be a game around these themes

space, inception, sleeves, management, adventure, 3D pixel-art, replay-ability.

I really love these concepts, genres, environments and styles. I think this will enable me to be a better judging of my own game.

But the question is: do you like a game of this type? Or do you know someone who will? Because I really like to get in touch with you or them, so we can shape this game together!

Digital escape

So… the ‘Digital Escape’ issue that I have at hand is a serous one. I probably get sued over my last move with them: I abandoned my contract.

The short version is: from day one we weren’t a perfect fit, and this problem became worse over time. I warned them often, but to no avail. This became such a draw on my time, mental health, and my family life that I had to call it off.

So time will tell what will become of this project and my contribution to it. And if they take me to court or not.
I still hope we can just acknowledge this wasn’t a happy marriage from the start on and just part ways.

Bi-Weekly update 8

Digital Escape

I am finally able to shed some light on the project I’m working on. It is called ‘Digital escape’ and it is a recreation of a real-life escape room in Escaperoom071 in Leiden.

Most of the work currently is going into creating the right ‘feel’ of the scene. This turned out to be significantly harder than anticipated. But we are here for the ride en we enjoy creating and learning as we make progress.

And a thing about spotting business opportunities and making the most of the situation at hand:
We needed to launch during the lockdown because then the experience had a uniqueness to it that would mitigate the quality issues that come from a short development cycle.

So we are still planning on launching on the end of Juli, but now our focus is more on a quality experience than a quick delivery. We are giving it our best.

Learning to trust

I’m steadily learning more about how to run a business. A big part of the learning I’m currently experiencing is to get the magic out of ‘trust’ and start trusting people, starting with myself.

I made quite a few plans on what to do next, what should be my long-term goal, how to build a company, how to get a sustainable income, how to do work that I enjoy, and so on.
All these long-term plans I developed didn’t work out. But on the contrary, every time I trusted myself or joined up with a person, I made the next step running my business. Plans didn’t work, but personal stuff works?!

A bit of warning: The following is my own learning, and probably has something to do with my personality / family trait.

For me ‘trust’ was to let someone else do something you would prefer to do yourself, but you are just not in the position to do so. And then wait for them to do what I would have done.

As I write these words I see them sounds stupid, and they are. But think about it this way. What have the following in common: working for a boss, being in a relationship, living in the Netherlands, having a good pair of brains.

The common denominator here is that these all are reliably fall-backs. There is no merit in relying / trusting when having circumstances like these. These circumstances make that I can just take my ‘trust’ back and do it myself, and probably get something oke-ish result out of it too.

I just never really had to trust myself or someone else.
I now see that I just have to trust and letting go of control. Every time I did trust myself or someone, I really enjoy it. It gives so much more freedom and adventure. Not all things did work out that well though, but they never were complete failures.

The nice thing about having to trust myself is that with this I start trusting others more. My goals in work become more humane, because I see other humans go trough the same struggles as I do and we are in it together.

Financial info

One of the goals of my blog is to show my own learnings in the hopes you can learn something from it too. I did share some financial info while doing so.

I know that sharing financial info is often perceived as a thing not to do. But I see too much people struggling with it. That is why I am more open about it then you could argue is wise.

For example: Lets say I need 2700 euro incl btw at minimum a month to survive as a business, and want 6500 euro incl btw to get to a sustainable long-term healthy business. Then that is what I need, do I? Where is the problem with sharing this information?

I hear a lot of people in the business world say ‘well you should be payed what you are worth’, and from there on name numbers that are all about maximizing profits. Or about justifying their own requests. Or this ‘healthy’ grow number in the back of their minds that their company should grow with a 2 digit number each year. Or the shareholders should be payed.

To me that sounds like consumerism to the max. It is the old habit of “Why settle for less if you could get more?”
Well: because this is a spiral that will run out of control. I don’t NEED more, I WANT more. And then that ‘want’ will get hold of me and make sure I never ever have enough.

I think that with good financial skills you should be able to figure out what is enough to provide for yourself and your family, and then just stop getting more and start enjoying life.