2023-12-30 - Tinytouchtales
Welcome to my annual End of Year blog post. 2023 really felt like the first “quiet” year for me in a long time. But looking back on it I did a lot of stuff. Early in the year we released the Desktop/Steam version of Card Crawl Adventure, in the summer Alba, Marie and I released our puzzle/strategy game Geo Gods and in the fall Terri, Sam and I finally started working on the full version of our 2022 Jam game GUNCHO. While the overall state of the game dev industry this year was pretty bad with plenty of layoffs and the Unity fee drama, my games continued to have a stable income mostly through Googles Play Pass, but more on that later.
In February we released the Desktop version of Card Crawl Adventure. In order to bring the game to desktop we had to add a few new assets to accommodate for the wide screen layout. Mexer did an awesome job of adding those to the game. Especially the main menu and the map screen got a nice overhaul.
Shortly before the desktop release we also added a new character to the game, called the Necromancer that is based around minion cards. Later in the year we added the Berserker, a character that can only heal itself by using damage cards, which added another very different play style to the game. I still want to add at least 1 or 2 more characters to the game when I find the time.
Throughout the year the Steam version participated in a series of Steam-Events that helped us with promotion and sales. Overall the game has a “Very positive” (88%) rating on Steam right now, but it couldn’t really break through and reach a lot of players. I wanted to give a shout out to RoboStreamer a platform that automates streaming videos onto your steam page. This helped us a lot with promotion and I would recommend anyone doing Steam-Events to have a gameplay video running on your page with this tool. In order to have a few different videos as a show case, I created a series of game dev playthroughts of Card Crawl Adventure with all the characters on my Youtube channel which you can check out here:
In the summer we released our latest game Geo Gods. Geo Gods was my long term project that tries to combine a bunch of ideas I had for years into one cohesive design. Once again the game features a bunch of new rules, that make the game quite hard to learn but non the less quite interesting and deep gameplay wise.
Elemental magic is in your hands! ✨
In Geo Gods from @TinyTouchTales, you need to wield your godly power (aka the cards you draft) to activate the Power Crystals around the game board. Go for high scores and grow your godly garden.
— App Store Games (@AppStoreGames) August 17, 2023
For Geo Gods I worked with AlbaBG and amazing Illustrator which I’ve been following for years. Her amazing Art style tied together the theme extremely well and makes Geo Gods one of the best looking games. Another awesome contribution to the project was the sound and music by Marie Havemann. She did a really good job capturing the atmosphere and elemental interactions of the game. Marie is an industry veteran (Albion Online) that professionally works with FMOD and she really did an amazing job with the integration and usage of FMODs extended features. It’s always so good to work with people that are way better than you in their respective field and just watching them do their stuff is always such a good learning
experience. Geo Gods was received quite well and found a few new players on both iOS and Android. Besides the usual trailer promotions I also created a longer Design Deep Dive video for the game, in which I explain the core ideas and how I tied them together. You can watch the 10 minute video on my Youtube channel:
We already released a small content update for Geo Gods adding 6 new cards, 1 for each god faction. If I find a bit of time next year I would like to add a few more cards that interact with the existing systems in a new way.
Almost nothing had a bigger impact on the game industry and specifically the indie game dev community like the Unity Drama. In September Unity, seemingly out of the blue, announced a new price structure for its engine. This really did not go well with the game dev community and in less than a week Unity announced they would revise their initial changes. I did a bigger blog post on the topic on my blog.
In the end this PR disaster lead to the resignation of John Riccitiello Unity’s former CEO. I suspect that these new fees will be an ongoing topic in the future since not everybody was happy with how Unity handled all of this. I personally bought my self another year by purchasing the special offer that allows me to use my old version of Unity for the same price of Plus. Next year I will have to look into porting my games to Unity’s latest version to avoid paying for a PRO licenses that does not offer me anything additional. Again we’ll see how this story will develop in the next year.
In August Terri Vellman and I kicked off our latest game project: GUNCHO.
Guncho was our 2022 jam game that got quite a good reception.
It’s a western roguelike with a unique positional shooting mechanic, where moving, unloading and shooting influences the rotation of Gunchos revolver cylinder, creating a unique puzzle like gameplay. The jam version was pretty bare bones but had a lot of potential. After a bit of back and forth we now have decided that we want to extend the base of the jam and go for 3D this time. As this is my first 3D game I’m quite excited but so far the development has turned out good fun and we made a lot of progress already. We’ve added a bunch of new enemies, new mechanics and Terri added a lot of awesome 3D assets and animations to the game. This year and especially for Guncho I used ChatGPT a lot. I don’t want to go deep into the topic of AI here, but I can say that it enhanced my productivity tremendously and made learning the 3D part of Unity really easy. It’s an amazing tool for me, someone who is still a novice when it comes to programming. I’m really looking forward to using it more in the future.
We also finally have a 3rd collaborator, Sam Webster, who will join us for Sound and Music.
Sam did the music for Grindstone and a few other really interesting games already and I’m happy to have him on the project.
Here are a bunch of progress screenshots for GUNCHO:
We plan to simultaneously release on mobile and Steam this time to maximize our reach. Guncho is set for a release Summer 2024. If you are curious you can join the open play test on mobile via this link: Guncho play test.
Make sure to join our Discord where most of the Guncho testing conversation is happening right now. Also wishlist the game on Steam:
Overall the year was pushed by Google Play Pass. The recent inclusion of Card Crawl Adventure and Miracle Merchant could increase the overall revenue nicely. The surprise seller this year was clearly Miracle Merchant a 6 year old game that somehow found a lot of new players without any extended marketing. Unfortunately neither Card Crawl Adventure nor Geo Gods could break through and sell significant amounts, but the Steam version and frequent steam sales helped the former quite a bit. Despite the overall negative trend in the general games industry my old games still continue to sell a good amount. Maintaining these games with frequent store updates can be a pain, but is clearly worth it. Every new release helps pushing old stuff and the inclusion into Play Pass for my older titles is an amazing way to generate revenue ontop of my regular game versions.
Note: For Play Pass I have not yet included revenue for Nov and Dec.
Total revenue (after store fees and before taxes)
In app revenue
Play Pass revenue
With the help of ChatGPT I created 2 revenue graphs below.
For 2024 I have a few things on my list. As stated above GUNCHO is my next game with a release target of Summer. We’ll continue to polish the game and add a few more fun things to it and then check how the reception will be. If justified we will update GUNCHO with a bit more content since we have a few nice ideas for new level themes that could fit well into the existing systems.
My second smaller project that I already started on will be another card game with Mexer. I can’t disclose too much for now, but make sure to look out for more info on that later next year.
The third project on my list is a game dev adjacent one. Since 2024 will be the year that I work for 10 years as a full time independent game developer, I decided that I really should start a knowledge sharing project. I recently developed this strong feeling of guilt that I’ve done so much interesting stuff over the years and never really being able to share my knowledge. That’s why my plan right now is to open a new Youtube channel where I regularly will post either general development content or Unity specific things I encountered and how I solved them. I have no real timeline for that atm. but I will start producing some videos soon.
Other than that, I’m looking forward to 2024 and the new opportunities that will arise. As always, I’m super grateful to be able to live this kind of fulfilling life in game development, thanks to the help of all my loyal players!
I wish you all a great 2024 and all the best! Arnold.
2023-09-24 - Tinytouchtales
2023-07-19 - Geo Gods
2023-06-22 - Card Crawl Adventure
2023-06-01 - Card Crawl Adventure
2023-02-07 - Card Crawl Adventure
2023-01-15 - Allgemein Card Crawl Adventure
2022-12-29 - Allgemein