I make video games for a living, and each month I publish a fully transparent income report to document my online earnings. These income reports exist to demonstrate my progress, share my experiences, and motivate others who want to make money online.
Check out my online income report for February/March 2017.
What I Did ‘This Month’
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the time to publish an income report last month, so I’m combining my stats and earnings from Feb/March into a single report.
The first quarter of 2017 has been challenging for me. I’ve been splitting my time between the business and my new major project Kingfall, which has been extremely demanding to work on (as you’d expect). I have also been very ill for the past week, which delayed this report further, but I’m glad that I can finally share what I’ve been up to.
Throughout Feb/March, I managed to publish several new games that have been in production for quite a while. These games are 100% free to play, with no ads, and they don’t require installation – check them out at the links below!
Blackjack Casino is definitely the most ambitious game in the set. My goal with this project was to recreate the archetypal casino ambience and make it feel like you’re actually at a casino; this was achieved using table-side props, smoke effects, and a jazzy soundtrack. I’m thrilled with how it turned out, and it’s one of my favorite productions so far. This project also posed an interesting moral question that required consideration.
Danger Light is a remake of one of the oldest games in my portfolio. The original version used a landscape orientation, and I have been gradually phasing out landscape games entirely. Landscape is such an awful format for HTML5 games, especially on iOS, and I don’t want to support it anymore. The gameplay in Danger Light is simplistic, but I love the visuals and tone that we created. We also upgraded the graphics to high definition.
Zoo Match is another high definition remake. The original game was extremely basic and outdated, and it was long overdue for a refresh. This game was slightly trickier to convert from landscape to portrait orientation, but it worked out nicely and feels much better to play now. Oddly enough, this game had the highest budget for artwork because we had to license 32 individual photographs for the animal tiles.
First Impressions: GMS2
If you’ve been keeping up with game development news, you’ll know that GameMaker Studio 2 (GMS2) was recently released by the team at YoYo Games. I had a chance to spend some time with it this month.
GameMaker is a powerful game creation tool that I have been using for over a decade now. GMS2 is a complete overhaul of GameMaker’s codebase, workflow, and user interface, and it ultimately marks a new generation for the engine. I’m a huge proponent of this engine – it’s the cornerstone of my business – so I was very excited to explore the update.
- Features: GMS2 includes powerful new features & major improvements
- Workflow: The new workflow is modern, customizable, and designed for professional use
- Updates: YoYo Games will be prioritizing GMS2 for updates, especially in the long-term
- Familiarity: It’s a relatively easy transition if you’re an existing user
- Price: Major software updates aren’t free, you’ll have to pay to upgrade
- Preference: The new workflow is polarizing and has driven numerous users away
- Bugs: GMS2 was only just released, there are bugs & issues that still need fixing
- Accessibility: It’s more difficult than ever for newcomers to get started
My first impression of GMS2 is that the engine has a very promising future as it pivots further towards professional use. It took me a while to get comfortable with the new workflow, but it eventually sold me over (especially after tweaking various settings). It feels like GameMaker has finally made it into the 21st century.
There are some undoubtedly questionable design decisions which I’m not happy about, but if the community is vocal enough about them they should be addressed in time. I hope YoYo Games can streamline certain functionality and make the engine less tedious to use as a whole, especially for professionals that spend all day with it. For example, I don’t want to spend 10 seconds trying to center a sprite when it used to take a single click.
There are numerous issues like this, and not all of them can be addressed manually. These steps backwards are frustrating and definitely tainted my first impression of GMS2. But there are plenty of promising steps forward, too, and overall I would strongly recommend that existing GameMaker users make the transition sooner rather than later.
I’ll be updating the Mobility Engine to work with GMS2 in the coming months, and my major project Kingfall will be built using GMS2. My upcoming book Learn To Make Games will teach newcomers how to easily get started with GMS2 and learn the basics of game development.
I will have much more to say about GMS2 in the future but for now let’s continue with this income report.
I worked 244 productive hours in Feb/March and took 14/59 days off (tracked using RescueTime Pro).
Here’s a quick look at how my online platform performed during Feb/March 2017.
The games I publish were played 1,904,237 times (46,217,933 total).
My websites were viewed 47,439 times (6,088,712 total) by 23,145 unique visitors.
In March, I wrote a post detailing a day in the life of a professional game developer (that’s me!) The content is much more personal than anything I have written before, so I was thankful that it was well-received.
I have a total of 26,875 subscribers across various platforms.
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Online Income Report
So far in 2017, my income has been stable but not remarkable. That’s quite typical for the first quarter of the year, and I have been additionally distracted with Kingfall. I’m expecting to have a weaker year overall because I have less time to find clients and make sales.
During Feb/March 2017 I earned $8,095 USD solely online ($392,340 total), which is roughly $4,047 each when split between both months.
I feel like I got lucky here, because historically February is my least profitable month of the year and March is often nothing special. My profits from HTML5 games could easily have been much lower. One of my biggest concerns right now is that I’m spending a lot of money developing Kingfall and my total expenditure is at an all-time high. Of course, this is the nature of developing a new product, but spending large sums of money on a regular basis is stress-inducing and I feel it more during weaker months.
Kingfall will not be in a position to start making money anytime soon, so I’m still extremely dependent on the rest of my business to keep my afloat. I plan to keep making small HTML5 games for the foreseeable future, and I’ll certainly be updating all of my other products this year. The upcoming launch of Learn To Make Games should help to alleviate the financial burden of Kingfall, and I’m planning to raise more funds for the project in Q3-Q4 2017.
I’m satisfied with these results and I look forward to seeing how the rest of the year unfolds. It should be interesting to follow Kingfall’s development as I work towards realizing the immense potential of this core product.
Finally, I would like to thank this month’s top supporters: Andrew Bach, David Arias, and Bentley Born.
Thanks for reading!