Exactly two years ago today, I started working on Network Traders. The first revision in my repository dates back to January 3rd, 2021, as well as my first task in JIRA: “Setup project”. A lot has happened since – I will give you a summary of some milestones in this post. But most importantly, I published Network Traders in early access on Google Play, and people are playing it!
The history of Network Traders actually goes back a little longer. On September 19th, 2020, I wrote myself an email about a new idea for a game. It was 3 a.m. in the morning, and I was so excited that I had not been able to fall asleep. So I decided to take notes and persue the idea later. For almost three months, I mulled over the concept, did some reasearch, and refined the game mechanics in my head. Then, finally, on said January 3rd, I started the new project. What was originally planned as a quick prototype to test an interesting feature – sending around software agents via Bluetooth – evolved into my most extensive hobby project ever.
Going live is probably the biggest achievement you strive for as a (hobby) Indie dev. Without the pressure of having to create revenue with your game, this is one of the main motivators for people like my. I ticked off this item on September 23rd last year, three months ago. But there is so much more that went on in this time which I am very proud of. Here are some examples:
- More than 500 commits to my repository.
- More than 300 JIRA issues I wrote for myself and completed.
- 19 completed versions, the latest one being version 0.4.6 published just a week ago.
- 41 releases, most of them on the internal test track on Google Play, but with early playtesters most of the time.
- 25 DevBlog entries since November 2021 and a doubling of visitors to my Blog since then.
- More than 100 tweets on Twitter and a new account on Mastodon which is waiting for YOU as a new follower!
- More than 50 current installations of the game according to Google, and 50+ downloads – half of my goal of at least 100+ downloads reached!
- And, most important of all, a lot of positive feedback on the game!
Indie, but Never Alone!
For the first of those two years, people would call me a Solo dev. But that is not true as I was never alone in developing Network Traders, even then. My wife supported me from the beginning. All the initial sketches are from her, including the signature merchants seen on the rigth and all over the game – lovingly called “dudes” by my players. By the way, the brown ones are your own, the green ones those visiting from other players.
Over time, I recruited more and more play testers amongst my neighbours, colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. They soon formed a small but very supportive community I can still rely on for bug reports and good ideas.
Finally, more than a year ago, in November 2021, Andrea joined me so that we now form a “core” team of two. She takes care of consistency in our art style and created most of the 2D assets you can now admire in the game.
To sum it up, I am very proud of what we achieved in the past two years. It was and still is a very rewarding experience. I can only recommend it to all Indies out there. Especially if you are not sure whether to start you own project or not. Now I hope that I was able to get you interested in a game of Network Traders. It is really easy and there’s no pressure to spend much time on it!