Game Development Income

Inspired by Jake Birkett‘s game dev income chart, I decided to dig out my own data and make a similar chart. I figured it would be a good way to start the year looking at a retrospective of my time as an independent developer.

Game income2

Some interesting observations:

  • I made zero income in my first two years as as independent developer! I was supplementing my income writing a column for Game Developer Magazine, teaching classes, and doing some contracting. I even started interviewing thinking I would have to give up the indie life and go back to work for a company. I always tell new game developers to be ready not to make any money for a while for this reason.
  • Flower Garden seems to have a reasonable tail in spite of minimal updates. Every so often I feel a bit guilty for not doing more with it, but even if I wanted to spend time on it, I can’t think of anything that would increase sales.
  • Subterfuge is a blip in the radar. But what’s even worse, Subterfuge took 3.5 years to make, whereas Flower Garden was around 2 years (including all updates).
  • The US tax system isn’t really set up for people with really spikey income like this.
  • I need to make games more quickly.

Here’s to releasing a game in 2017 that is visible on that chart!

Most Influential Games (on Me)

I’ve been wanting to write about the project that I’m working on at the moment, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to announce it this year, so that will have to wait until January. I could do one of those year retrospective lists, but to be honest, I haven’t played enough digital or physical games from 2016 to be very interesting or representative.

Instead, I’m going to try something a bit different. I want to highlight the games that have had the most influence on me as a game maker. Not the best games, not the most memorable games, not the most impressive games, but the ones that have directly influenced me and the games I’ve made. Continue reading

Best Board Games of 2015

My tastes in board games are always evolving and changing, and 2015 was a very different year that marked a turning point for me. Looking at my play statistics, it’s clear that something changed: I played fewer games than in previous years, and, most importantly, I played many fewer new games than other years.

2015 was the year when I started focusing on playing more often the games I loved, and stopped chasing after trying all the hot new games.

Towards the end of 2014 it dawned on me that most new board games I was playing were ranging from bad to just OK, and only a selected few made it into the good or very good category. So why was I spending so much time and energy playing new games? It’s not like I had played the old ones too much and was done with them. As a matter of fact, I was frustrated with how little I was playing them, and how, if I only play a game once every six months or a year, I’m basically starting over from scratch. So I was always playing games at a very superficial level, without being able to get deeper into them. Not to mention it’s a pleasure to pull out a game and not have to worry about reading or explaining the rules!

2015 was the year of depth for me.

Of course depth comes at the cost of breath, so when it comes time to make a best-of list for 2015, I don’t have nearly as many different games to draw on as other years. Because of that, I’ll limit my list to just 3 games.

Continue reading

Noel’s Best Board Games of All Time – 2014 Edition

There is no doubt that my game tastes are changing over time. Last year I was very much in love with point-salad games, and now I’m craving games with interesting player interactions or economic systems. This list is my attempt at capturing my top 20 favorite games at the end of 2014. It should be very interesting to compare it with the 2015 edition and see what has changed.

This list was inspired by Casualgod’s 3rd Annual Top 20 Games of All Time. David and I have a lot of overlapping tastes, so if you like what you see here, make sure you check out his list as well. Continue reading

Best Board Games of 2013

Looking back, 2013 continued my trend of diving deeper in board games, both playing and designing them. It’s no coincidence that Subterfuge, the game I’m working on with Ron Carmel, has very strong board game influences. I’ll talk more in a future post about the design part, what kind of games I tried making and which ones I’m still working on. This post will focus on the best games I played that came out on 2013. Continue reading