Belated happy new year!
I thought I would try and outline some of my thoughts and plans for 2019, and look back over 2018.
For Jamo Games, 2018 was fairly quiet. I played around with a ton of prototypes, worked on some cool pixel art projects for clients, but didn’t release any games or really do anything of note! However, I’m not going to beat myself up about this, cause in my personal life I was busier than ever (I got married in November!) plus I work full time, so it isn’t like I ever have much time if I’m honest.
One noteworthy thing that did come out of my prototyping is Echo Terminal! I haven’t talked about it on my blog yet cause I’m stupid, but I will do very soon. Echo Terminal is kind of a mix of ideas that I’ve had floating around, and is testing a new theory of mine that I will be working with through 2019.
That brings me nicely onto 2019.
I have a few goals for 2019, and I think this year I’m in a good place to deliver on them all, as best I can.
The first is to be more engaged and open with my development process, and with the people who care at all about my games (if you’re reading this you might be one, so thanks!). For this goal, I know the what, and the why, but I’m really not sure on the how. I will be experimenting with all sorts of things, but as a minimum I will get more content and regular updates on this blog. I’ve been thinking a lot about how promotion and open development changes depending upon how the project is run, so I will write up some thoughts on that soon. I have also started a Discord for Jamo Games stuff, which I really like so far, minus all the spam bots… You can join that here – https://discord.gg/bgbu8kt
I’d maybe like to try vlog style updates too, but I’m not sure if I have the time to record and cut them together compared to how fast it is to type this out.
The second is to try out what I’m calling ‘minimum risk’ game development. It sounds obvious, just make small, cheap games, but having this as a sort of mission statement for my development style has bigger implications. I’ll do a full post about this soon too as it’s a really interesting idea, but in practice what it means is that you are likely (hopefully) to see more smaller games from me this year, and that I will release maybe 3 games over the course of the year. I’d like to release even more but it all depends on what happens this year. There are a ton of cool topics to talk about here if you’re interested in the tiny end of game development.
The third is to cut down on client work. I’m super grateful for the position that I’m in with pixelartcommissions.com. It took me years to get to the point that I’m at with it, my work has a good reputation and I’ve worked on probably over 100 projects now. However, the flip side to freelancing in games, and probably a lot of other industries, is that your progress depends so much on other people, and I find it very frustrating. Probably 90% of the artwork that I create for games is never used, as I’m sure you know most games never see release. The reason I love working in games is to see people interacting with what I have made, which just isn’t happening. I feel like it is time to invest more in myself, and my games.
I get some nice artwork for my portfolio doing freelance work, and obviously I get paid, so I realise how privileged this must sound (how rich must I be to turn down paid work?). But in reality, I work full time which pays for my bills at home, my business expenses are pretty low, and the rest of my time I need to invest very carefully. This isn’t a decision I’m taking lightly and I won’t be stopping doing pixel art any time soon (probably ever), but I will be fussier on what projects I accept. Basically what this means is that I’m trusting myself to be able to make games that sell enough copies to keep my business alive.
In a nutshell, these are my three main goals. The third one only works if the first two do as well, and looking at it now I realise I just typed ‘make more games’ in a really convoluted way. Maybe my fourth goal should be ‘overthink things less’. Oh well, I hope it was at least interesting! Drop me a message on twitter or Discord if you read it.