December Dev Diary: Year 3


The final day of the year has arrived! It’s become tradition to do something special with this post. As always I’ll discuss what I’ve been up to and any upcoming plans. But since this is the end of 2021 it only seems right to briefly reflect on everything I’ve been up to over the year, let’s get to it…

Last month

In the last post I went fairly easy on myself, I wanted to finish the update I was working on, make a new YouTube video, and if I had time update an old project.

I’m happy to announce I finished the update (and another), finished updating egg Ed & made a start on my video. Sadly, I didn’t get the video finished, but it’s coming along nicely.

December

With this being the end of year post, I don’t want to spend much time talking about this month. Especially since a portion of it was spent working on a video that isn’t out yet & some was spent enjoying the holidays. But let’s talk about what I did…

Jelly Toss Xmas update

The big update, it added a daily reward that can also be doubled if you watch an ad:

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Then there’s some festive items, there’s Christmas lights wrapped around some platforms. And of course new costumes, There’s 3 new festive hats and extra eyes:

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Not too bad for a weeks work!

The video

I won’t talk about this much (no spoilers) but I’ve made a start on my next YouTube video. As promised it’s a video dev log, mostly covering Jelly Toss.

Never made a video log before, I didn’t know where to start at first which led to putting it off. However, I watched a few on YouTube, took some notes and then I had a rough idea what to do.

Should be out in January (sorry – editing/recording takes time)

Egg Ed Returns (briefly)

What once was free is now… well, not free anymore…

Ads now show in Egg Ed when you die. Of course I can’t go putting in ads without a small content update. So I’ve added another couple of words (collectibles) & extra skins too! Here’s one of them:

The main reason for this update is of course money, more projects serving ads increases my overall income. Hey, a devs gotta eat. Buttttt, that’s not the only reason, I figured “I monetised my old project and made ____” would also make an interesting video. Look out for that at some point next year…

A sneaky update

The Xmas update WAS the last Jelly Toss update. It should have been, but I need to remove the decorations right? Why not add something small alongside that?

There’s also a bug with the share button that needed fixing. Someone (me) accidentally left the brain hat enabled so it overlaps (luckily nobody noticed):

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Besides bugs, job one was to sort the lights, which now checks the device date. If it’s December there’s lights, if not, no lights. Saves me turning them off and on every year.

Then I added a new hat & 2 eyes naturally. How could I not? Finally, I decided staring at the same background was boring. Soooo… I made the sky change colours as you progress:

Nice right? Expect this update to drop soon. This is the last one!

That’s not all

But wait, there’s more! I spent a couple of days working on something secret. I’ll mention that soon, keep reading!

2021

Dan

2021 started with a final update to my third game Don’t Drop Dan. Throughout January I was working on finishing this update. As soon as it released, I started planning my next game. I won’t go into it too much as it’s all mentioned in this dev log:

It included:

  • New costumes & endings
  • Collectibles
  • New powers
  • Missions/challenges
  • And as usual – bug fixes

Some was done late 2020, but the rest was finished at the beginning of the year. Not a bad start!

YouTube

Shortly after that update I kickstarted my YouTube channel and started making videos. Throughout January & February I put time aside to learn editing and put out my first video:

It’s not the most exciting, but it was a start! This continued through the year, I released a couple of gaming vids at first (easy vids). Then put a little more effort into one:

That’s right I paid to send Dan to the moon! Honestly I just thought it was an interesting video/title and a fun bit of marketing. Worth it!

After this, things went quiet, with only a few shorts being released. However, half way through the year I dropped this:

This one video sent me from around 70 subs to almost 250, it has plenty of likes and a decent amount of views and watch time. I put a lot of effort into making this so I’m happy this is the one that performed well.

Now it’s silent, I said at the end of my last video I would focus on my game until it’s released. Which took longer than expected, but as you know it’s out & I’ve made a start on videos again.

Jelly Toss

If you haven’t played Jelly Toss yet, what are you waiting for? I’ve been talking about it all year! Check it out:

Something always takes up the bulk of my year, didn’t expect it to be this. I’m pretty sure when I started this project I said to myself it will only take a couple of months, no problem. 9 months later… Guess scope creep is a real problem huh?

To be fair to myself, I’m really happy with how this project progressed. Sure, I took a simple idea and made it far more complex than it needed to be. But, it turned into an interesting semi-original game. Let’s not forget the idea started out as a jumping cube:

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Until I started playing around with soft body physics, then came the Jelly:

Many months later we improved the graphics, changed the controls, added obstacles and new platforms & added the biggest and best character customisation yet! I mean just look at all those hats and eyes:

It’s come a long way. I may have overdone it a tad, but isn’t that just a gamedev thing?

Anyway I’m getting carried away, that’s what the video is for. Wouldn’t want to ruin it! Plus you’ve heard me talk about Jelly Toss almost non-stop all year, let’s talk about something new!

Previous yearly goals

Last year I set some goals, one of them was to start new YouTube projects, I think I can say I’ve achieved that one!

Another was to increase my activity on social media and be more involved in the indie dev community. I’d say this one is rather hit and miss, the majority of the year I’ve been posting and definitely getting involved in more conversations between devs. However parts of the year have been quieter than usual. There’s been work in the background, much needed breaks and plenty of burnouts. I’d say that’s pretty normal. Overall not much has changed!

Finally, and this was the most important goal, I wanted to release 4 games. Oops… we managed one. Which leads me to…

Surprise (almost)

I aimed for 4, ended with one. That wasn’t good enough so I thought at the very end of December why not jam out a quick game and try squeeze the release before the year ends. Great idea! I thought of the simplest game loop I could and got to work! It all started with a simple button:

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That turned into several:

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Just like that I was working on a basic playable prototype. I added a main menu, some timers and instructions aaaand that’s all for now. Sadly, I had a lot to do in December. There’s a decent sized Jelly Toss & Egg Ed update. The Egg update is already uploaded & pending:

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Then I had to write up this post and start on my next video. All while enjoying my Xmas and new year holidays… So no, I didn’t get it finished. However I’d say the game is about a third of the way through. I AM NOT OVERCOMPLICATING THIS ONE. It’s staying as simple as possible, expect to see it very soon.

Goals for 2022

We already know the work I have to complete in January, I have a video and a game to finish. Should be fun! What about the rest of the year?

To keep things simple, I’ll say last years goals are ongoing. I couldn’t quite get 4 games. So next year I’ll finish what I started, I want these 3 missing projects. 3 games out in a year isn’t hard in theory. That’s 4 months a game!

Ideally having that much time should mean I can squeeze in some more YouTube videos. I’m enjoying that on the side, they’re quite fun and rewarding to make. I got the ball rolling, I’ve plenty of ideas written down for future content, why stop now?

And of course my socials, I’m not going to force myself to post because that doesn’t work. But I’d like to remain somewhat active and post where I can. Even if it’s only weekly, with the occasional post in between, I’ll be happy.

Finally, an extra goal, it isn’t directly related to gamedev but it’s extremely important. I want to focus more on my mental and physical health. Something I don’t really do a lot. This could be as simple as a daily walk, more exercise, no more pizza while I work…. okay that last one might be taking things too far. Anyways, you get the point, it will help.

Slightly more realistic goals this year, let’s see how it goes. Happy new year everyone!

Until next year…

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