Half-Bit Software

Half-Bit: Year One

I feel like I don’t post here nearly enough, particularly given some of the total schlock I’ve been reading on other blogs.  So, with that in mind, a quick look back at the first year of being a Real Indie Dude™ seemed like a good use of time, and a good excuse to post about what my future plans are, too.

One year ago, my first app went on sale.  After the initial wave of giddiness wore off, I was left with a state of mild shock.  People were actually playing the game, and seemed to be enjoying it.  I took some of the initial feedback and, a few weeks later, pushed out an update.  A few weeks after that, I pushed out another, though both were pretty minor.

After this, I started plotting out what I wanted to do next.  The problem with The Dungeon is that I was building against an existing feature set, i.e., the original Mac game.  I didn’t want to add anything that would violate the spirit or intent of the earlier work, which was both a hindrance and a help.  It was nice to limit the scope of things, but it also kept me from doing some neat stuff (like character abilities, for example).

Given these limitations, in early 2011, I started planning out what I wanted to do next.  The Dungeon had really terrible combat math, so I wanted to plot out a better system of actions and abilities, and figured out a way to turn that thing into something that resembled a game.  I fiddled around with a music player, too, due to dissatisfaction with the built-in iPod app.  I also got a good chunk of the way through feature-complete on a grocery list app.  I even started planning and writing a sequel to The Dungeon, with the intent of fixing all of the things I hated about that game.  A friend tried to coax me into doing the October Game Jam thingie, so I plotted out how to do a sort of stealth puzzler which (thankfully) did not get very far.

Doing a bit of mac development was also becoming more interesting to me.  I wanted to write something that sat somewhere between the Finder and Terminal, in terms of features and friendliness.  A friend also wants a halfway decent iTunes replacement, so that goes on the pile o’ stuff, too.

Anyone with any project management skills is already shaking their heads and clucking their tongues.  ”You’re one guy, you idiot!  You’ve spread yourself too thin!”  And, duh, I had.  Obviously, I had, no shit.  That laundry list could probably keep my nights and weekends busy for years to come, assuming my magpie sensibilities don’t get in the way.

So, really, what’s the punchline?  What does this mean for Half-Bit?  Am I scaling back, shutting down shop, or full-steam-aheading?  Well, to start, I’m definitely going to pick and choose my projects more carefully, add them to the big-ass list, and work my ass off to only keep one or two things in the queue.  Any more than that, and nothing’ll ever finish.

And, with all of that word vomit, I’m naturally not going to do any of the stuff listed above (sort of).  I feel incredibly grateful to The Dungeon - it was a great experience, it seemed reasonably successful (depending on your definition), and, hell, it bounced my career in a completely new, exciting direction, which is why I’m currently working on Universalizing the app.  I’ve got a pretty decent feature set in mind, too, that’ll probably deserve its own post.

As that’s happening, and when I just can’t take anymore Goddamned Photoshop, I’ll probably work on aggressively pushing the grocery list app out the door.  It’s more or less just my attempt at making something that isn’t a complete design catastrophe, but if someone finds it useful for a buck, then that’ll put a smile on my face, too.

When that’s done…woof.  We’ll just have to see!