MONTHLY ROUNDUP – OCTOBER

During October, on the font side, it’s mostly been research, license changes, and reshuffling things to optimise income. I did manage to hit another milestone on Dafont – 5 Million total font downloads – which is nice. On the other hand, having not kept font production up, my position on the Dafont Authors charts has slipped. I am no longer in the top 10. Despite this, October was an even better month for font income than September – primarily due to sales through Creative Fabrica.

Most of my time this month has been spent on organising my portfolio. Having moved around so much, and been through so many computers/laptops/hard drives, gathering all that work into some kind of presentable format is a challenge. Going forward, I really want some kind of solid record of exactly what kind of projects I’ve been involved in, and what part I played in their creation.

I’ve started stripping out elements and breaking them up into categories over on my portfolio page on Behance here – Darrell Flood Behance – tho it’s still very much “WIP”, with a heavy focus on just fonts/logos/icons so far. There’s a whole lot more yet to go up. I’ve also started digging through old files in an attempt to better demonstrate some of my level design work, as many of the games I have been part of are no longer available, so these scattered files are the only hope of bringing any of that work to light.
Logo Design Behance

I plan to get a series of “post-mortems” up here, of some of the more important games, that outline the creative process, challenges, design choices etc. – and support those with whatever layouts and diagrams I can dig up – with an emphasis on mechanics and level design (as they were the areas I tended to be most involved in.) With any luck, I’ll start pushing those out at some point in November.

Other than that, I really feel the need to get back to Games. Fonts have been good to me. They give me a decent semi-passive income, and it’s amusing seeing them used on the likes of fidget spinners in knick-knack shops, but they don’t offer the same sense of satisfaction that creating a Game does. So, hopefully, I’ll have a chance to finally get back to some proper Game work next month.

MONTHLY ROUND UP – SEPTEMBER

September was a slow month across the board. I’ve had a lot of “life” type things distracting me. I got a handful of new fonts done, to keep my Dafont position, but nothing particularly standout. I did manage to make a start on a new series of decent fonts based around different countries, but I’m going to spend my time on those, and get them right. Not sure when I’ll get around to finalizing and releasing them.

Shifting from donations over to Creative Fabrica was definitely the right move for me. I’ve seen some nice numbers coming back from that. It ensured that September was my best month for font income to date. Tho the money is still far from a full wage, it’s good to see the effort I put into exploring new avenues with it bear fruit.

For September, my total font income breaks down roughly as follows:

1. Donations and Direct licensing (primarily through Dafont) – 30%
2. Adsense (primarily through Dafont) – 20%
3. Creative Fabrica – 50% (split between Referrals/Affiliates – 20% and Licence Sales – 30%)

So, you can see pretty clearly, that selling through Creative Fabrica has essentially doubled my usual font income. I intend to closely monitor the numbers and do what I can to improve upon them. Creative Fabrica currently has a font count of approx. 4000. I’d like to have at least 40 of my fonts up there, and from then on maintain at least a constant 1% of total font volume, for visibility purposes. I am also still investigating other selling sites/methods.

MONTHLY ROUND UP – AUGUST

CreativeFabrica
The biggest news this month is that I am changing my font licensing model. “Donationware” (coupled with Adsense income) has been working well enough for me, but I want to experiment with some other options to see if I can get that font income up higher. So, I am beginning to shift my font license purchases to a relatively new site – “Creative Fabrica“. Their system revolves around offering % cuts of monthly subscriptions, individual font “seats” (coming in at $10 a seat in my case), and affiliate sales cuts. I am trialling 20 of my most popular fonts to see how it all pans out. I am very interested to see how much of an impact this has on my font income.

Check those guys out here: https://www.creativefabrica.com/ref/74273/

Games wise, there has been nary a whisper (something that I really hope to rectify in September!) but on the font side, I’ve been busy. I released 20 fonts over the course of the month. I also spent some time improving some of my more popular fonts and their promo images, and submitting my fonts to yet another font site that offers Adsense income (that makes it 3 active Adsense sites now: Dafont, FontSpace and 1001FreeFonts.)

A few new milestones were cracked over on Dafont this month:
1. I now have over 150 fonts available.
2. I have managed to crack the Top 10 Font Authors.
3. I regularly had over 20,000 downloads a day throughout August.
4. I now have over 4 million total font downloads.

I’ve noticed that being in the top 10 on Dafont makes a big difference to my Adsense numbers, so I will be doing what I can to maintain that position.

MONTHLY ROUND UP – JULY

Been some pretty crazy major changes going on behind the scenes here. One of the biggest being my moving back to the UK! *gasp!* – more details on this next month after the dust has settled a bit.

Tho the move ate up quite a lot of time this month, I still managed to get 8 new fonts out the door. I’m getting into a groove now with the more “serious” (regular style) fonts, and have managed to streamline the creation process for those considerably. Check ’em out on my page over on dafont as always. Had some inspiration from Stranger Things and Game Of Thrones when putting together the promo images for some of these…

On the games side, all has been quiet for some time as far as new game dev is concerned. I plan to change that by getting back into Cowgirls and (hopefully) kicking off a few new small mobile games as well throughout August. Will be interesting seeing how that goes!

Ultrathins
Eighties Horror
Ironworks
Maximim-Impact
Wibble
Rosegarden
Blobtastics
Dragonlands

MONTHLY ROUND UP – JUNE

June was a quiet month. Dafont was undergoing maintenance/restructure for 5 weeks or so – and not accepting any new fonts – so I spent most of this month with my family, and enjoyed working in the garden. Some big changes coming soon, so it was good to get out, have fun and enjoy the sun while I could.

I did get around to finalizing (adding missing Euro characters, tweaks to certain letters) my popular “Inversionz” font. I now consider this to be the “definitive” version.

Inversionz

MONTHLY ROUND UP – MAY

I was pretty busy this month juggling a few things, and looking into some new ad revenue stuff, so apologies for writing this round-up a bit later than usual.

May was a rock solid month on the font front. I managed to get out 20 new fonts, dipping into various styles and font creation techniques. I also hit another milestone on dafont – 3 million total downloads! My daily downloads have been steadily increasing over time, and donations and Adsense income are both ticking along. I am exactly where I want to be with my fonts now.

Alien Beasts

Neon Adventure

Quiet Streets

Solid Grooves

Spatial-Anomaly2

On the games side, I have been tinkering with some small experiments, rolling around a few concepts, but have nothing concrete to show (just yet…) Tokyo 2048 continues to bring in a small, steady income. Feedback posts for that have passed 1000 now on Android (the vast majority of which are positive.)

I attended BitSummit in Kyoto (a big indiegames convention here in Japan). That was a lot of fun and I met a lot of very cool people there. Some really creative and innovative games and demos on display there. Inspiring stuff! I hope to be in a position to show something off there myself next year. Looking forward into June, I want to wind down the fonts somewhat, and possibly crank up the games.

IMG_2785

MONTHLY ROUND UP – APRIL

April was a mixed bag. My Cowgirls Kickstarter didn’t reach its Funding Goal, so I have temporarily put that entire project on the backburner. I will still continue work on it in my spare time, as I believe it has a lot of potential. Progress will be slower however, and the release date has been pushed back. I want to get a playable demo out and build up a community around the game, but it will take some time.

I feel that it was a mistake to “put all my eggs in one basket” with Cowgirls, and will diversify from here on in. I will try to get some much smaller experimental games out much faster, and see if I can get a few mobile “re-skin” games out as well, as Tokyo 2048 continues to be my greatest achievement since leaving YoYo.

On the font front, this site was finally approved for Google AdSense! This is a big deal for me, as now I have money coming in from ads on my fonts on Dafont, which sees serious traffic, in addition to the usual font donations. This is something I have wanted for a very long time, so I’m happy. I am going to ramp up font production next month to push myself further up the Dafont Author charts to get more visibility and get those adsense numbers up. I’ve also been looking into other popular font distribution sites for more opportunities to get my work out there.

I managed to get 8 new fonts out this month – mostly continuing on with hand-drawn ones because it’s quicker to get those wrapped up and out – I squeezed out just 1 “modern” font. Next month I intend to have a much broader mix of modern and standard fonts alongside the usual hand-drawns. Check ’em out over on my page on dafont.

I have been investigating other places where I might get decent ad traffic – such as stock photo sites and art asset marketplaces. Photos and photo edits are of particular interest to me as I enjoy photography and would like to brush up my seamless texture creation skills. I want to get back into digital drawing and painting in general too tho, so lots of things to consider! Next month is sure to be interesting!

April-Fonts

CVC KICKSTARTER POST-MORTEM

April felt a little bit like crashing back down to earth. My Cowgirls Vs Cthonimon Kickstarter fizzling out was disappointing, especially after putting so much time into it. However, in hindsight, I can see where I went wrong with the campaign, and for future Kickstarters (and when I eventually relaunch Cowgirls) I will be better prepared. I am confident I can make Kickstarter really work for me – once the campaign is handled correctly.

I thought it might be useful for anyone reading this (who is considering starting a campaign) to mention some of the things that stood out for me. The following info and observations may help your first campaign be more successful than mine.

Kickstarter-Funding

Numbers – it was the numbers that really threw me off on Kickstarter. I had assumed (so very wrongly) that just by being up on Kickstarter (with a Greenlight submission running in parallel) I would see some reasonable eyeballs on the project. The reality however was very different. The campaign flatlined around the halfway mark, so I pulled the plug with 1 week to go, but for the first 3 weeks of the campaign, the promo video was watched just 825 times. That’s right – just eight hundred and twenty five views. And that was with a Greenlight submission ticking along. The lesson learned here is – Kickstarter alone does not supply near enough visibility for a Video Game project to succeed.

Project We love – I have seen others whose Kickstarters did not do well lament the fact that they never got a “Project We love” tag on their project. That tag could have made all the difference, right? More visibility, more pledges, greater success? In my experience (having been tagged after I uploaded an improved promo video) being tagged actually made very little difference. So don’t fret about whether or not you become a “Project We Love”. (Note that I still appreciate that Kickstarter tagged me in this manner, it tells me that they believed in the game itself and felt the page presentation was up to scratch).

Competition – when I was running my campaign, there were around 150 or so other Video Game projects live on Kickstarter (149 as I write this). That’s quite a lot of projects directly competing for eyeballs. Not to mention there were many more projects (554 total) under the broader “Games” category that many people would also have been distracted by. Many of the Video Game projects were in a somewhat similar vein to mine too – retro, action RPG, pixel art etc. – which is something else to consider. It’s good to be aware in advance of how much competition you can expect.

As a side note, for anyone developing in GameMaker: Studio who is active on the GMC, a handful of those 150 games that were live as I ran my campaign, were also being developed using GameMaker and were advertising on and pulling a few pledges from the GMC at the same time as mine. So bear that in mind.

Funding Goal – For Cowgirls I purposely set the funding goal quite low (but not low enough) in expectation that it would be achieved quickly and that I could follow it up with Stretch Goals (all the way up to 20k!) and Backer Bonuses once it was reached. That was a bad idea. For big Kickstarter projects, ran by well known games industry vets, or people with massive social media followings, setting the funding goal high is the right way to go (the only way to go if you’re looking to make a full time gig out of your project). But if you are a small indie, relatively unknown, without a large initial support base, with a small social media presense, and without an advertising campaign, then I suggest you go as low as possible with your Funding Goal. My reasoning here is that you can set a note of positivity early on in your campaign when the Goal is reached in a few short days. This makes current pledgers happy, gives you something big to post about, and gives any new project viewers more confidence in the game – which makes them more likely to pledge.

The following is a list of the most important things I will focus on for future Kickstarters and for the Cowgirls relaunch:

1. Have built up a solid base of people interested in the game beforehand.
2. Have a professionally edited promo video that fully demonstrates all features.
3. Don’t launch until the game is far enough along in development.
4. Have a playable demo available from day 1.
5. Have Stretch Goals available from day 1.
6. Prepare all bi-weekly feature info and milestone/ unlock posts beforehand.
7. Build up hype for the campaign on social media beforehand.
8. Cross-promote similar projects via social media.

I hope this little post-mortem was useful. Feel free to comment below. I am interested in hearing other people’s opinions on and experiences with Kickstarter.

MONTHLY ROUND UP – MARCH

Start-Screen

Wow, this has been a crazy busy (and productive) month! I managed to get the demo of Cowgirls Vs Cthonimon into a reasonably non-buggy, playable Alpha state, finished off all the KickStarter page promo imagery and text, and Jack Oatley is now properly on board the project, rewriting a lot of the code and generally making the source file cleaner and a whole lot easier to deal with.

Right now, the Kickstarter project is in a ready to go state. I’m just waiting for the submission process to complete before I can hit launch. Should be live any day now, so to those who have been waiting patiently – the wait is just about over!

Japanese-magazines

On the font front, my fonts were featured in two Japanese design magazines this month. With “Chalk Dash” being used on a full page splash. It’s a small thing, but every little bit of exposure I can get in Japan is a good thing.

And finally, I created 4 new fonts this month. You can find these under Darrell Flood on dafont and fontspace. I’m starting to feel somewhat burnt out on the hand-drawn fonts at this stage, so next month I think I’ll go back to my roots and crank out a few more angular/ modern/ clean fonts again.

Latest-fonts

MONTHLY ROUND UP – FEBRUARY

February was a good month for Cowgirls Vs Cthonimon. There were many art adjustments to sprites and tiles, and visual effects added that improve player feedback a lot. The UI has also finally been finalized – with everything where it should be. New music tracks and sound effects have been added to improve the mood, that will hopefully give Alpha players a much better idea about how the game will feel in the end.

Screenshot-final-UI

On the font side, things have been fairly quiet with (almost) the entirety of my focus on Cowgirls. Having said that, this month saw a few milestones reached on dafont that I’d been wanting to crack for some time. I now have:

1. 100+ fonts up on dafont (the biggest font distribution site)
2. 10,000+ daily downloads
3. 2 million+ total font downloads (and rising fast!)

A font of mine was also used in Astotel’s recent advertising campaign – which was neat when I recognised it after it appeared in my inbox.

dafont-milestones

Just one new font for this month. I tried something a little different this time, including a solid color underlay font along with the main hollow font, giving users a clean fast route to “coloring in” their work. As always, you can find the font under Darrell Flood on dafont.

patchwork_stitchlings

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