My Game Flopped, but It’s a New Year, and That Means a New Beginning!


Happy new year dear readers! It’s that time of the year, where I look back at my failures and victories to better understand how I can do better this new year.

And there is plenty to dissect.

I can easily say that this was my most productive year. But it was also my most unhealthy year. This obviously points to a lack of balance in my life, and sadly I feel it is a struggle to make that balance, but I have to sacrifice productivity otherwise I won’t be able to continue my passion of making games and writing novels.

So let’s start at the beginning

I entered 2022 up in arms with my game Enduring Dreamers™: Freya, and had already been tinkering full time with my website, which took a great deal of time to finish. I think I spent a total of five months on updating my website. Which I should have spent on my game!

So was I wrong to divide my time between developing my game and my website?


My website back then was in a really bad shape, adding content to it would only require more work when trying to fix it later.

So I decided to just get it down and forget about it. And that’s also one of the reasons… to just forget about it. To stop thinking and worrying about other stuff while developing my game.

I had also started on a tutorial series during this time, about making a simple game in Godot, I needed the content to better design the layout for how tutorials would look like on my website.

And suddenly March 2022 comes to an end, along with January and February.

Entering April

I could finally continue working on my game full time (it’s actually double full time, since 8 hours x 2 is two full time jobs!), but I also decided to start streaming… of course!

But it didn’t go that well, not that I expected much success in a short time, of course that’s not going to happen and I knew that. Rather it was the whole idea of streaming that just didn’t match the way I preferred to work.

It felt very restrictive to stream, I couldn’t focus on my work. I had to constantly remind myself to talk so viewers wouldn’t get bored, I had to explain what I was doing, check chat to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Streaming became too much of a distraction that held back my fast work pace.

At the end of April I decided to announce I had been working on a secret project.

And that was April 2022.

May was a crazy month

I was more productive than usual, at least that’s how it felt. Could be because I trim my hair and beard once a year, at the end of April, which makes me feel rejuvenated.

I released a press released announcing the secret project I had been working on, I updated my browser game Caveman vs Cave, and I started on a new devlog series where the plan was to show the whole process of developing the first game in my new franchise.


And that was May 2022, it was quite a hectic month to say the least.

June was back to normal

The hot weather and spending more time outside was quite refreshing. So much so that I redid the design for my game, new pair of eyes can do miracles!

The game had up until then kept the look from its old version when it was supposed to be just a game made in only one month. So I decided to update the look to better match my vision for the game.

Of course this changes again later on as my vision for the game makes another 180. Except it doesn’t return back to the original plan… angles is obviously not my thing! But more on this later.

And that was June 2022.

Now July comes a long and gives me a heatstroke

Or something, because out of nowhere I decided to create a writing tool for my novels!

While working on the FORTITIED DARKNESS™ story, I just couldn’t bare using the writing tools I had been using for my novels. I tried every tool out there, there was always something that annoyed me.

For example, some writing tools would start lagging after just 2000 words!


Most tools had no dark mode.

Other tools had tiny UI text.

A lot of tools were cluttery.

Well praised tools were cumbersome and unintuitive.

It felt like each tool was developed by either someone who had never written a novel, or an author who liked working a certain way and therefore designed their app to match their workflow.

So I made my own writing app, barebone, just the minimum of what I needed, simple!

And I’m actually glad I did. Because it upgraded my programming skills a hundred times over.

Well that’s an exaggeration, but still, I was faced with new problems that forced me to design better code. And that translates into making better code for my games.

But still, it took a big chunk of development time away from my game. Almost two months!

And that was July.

August was the anniversary of my game

However, if you have read thus far, you will realize I haven’t actually been working fully 100% on my game, which explains the slow progress.

The beginning of August are spent bug fixing my writing app to prepare it for public use. I was really scared about people using my writing app and then losing their work. So I had to test it extensively and fix as many bugs as possible.

After releasing the writing app, I actually became exhausted.

So from August to October I started playing video games while developing my own game. So I was exhausted yet kept working… sounds healthy eh?

Mixing gaming while working felt like a good mix to bare with feeling lost, no motivation, feeling like I don’t know what I am doing.

It first began with more hours spent playing, and less hours working. But it ended with more hours working and less hours playing.

Half way into October I finally had a breakthrough

My vision for Enduring Dreamers™: Freya became crystal clear.

And it was nothing I had in mind when I started out. And it was FAR from the “new vision” I had for it earlier in the year. Again, more on that later.

With new found inspiration, motivation, and a clear goal. There was no longer any room for any gaming, so I spent the rest of October up to the 19th of December (the release deadline) working an average of 16 hours a day. No breaks, no weekends, no nothing, just work.

Some days I would be sick, so I only worked 12 hours, other days I felt like a superhero where I pushed for 20 hours, sometimes even 30 hours to reset my day–night–cycle whenever things got out of hand.

This is also where my body started complaining, but I kept pushing anyways. The health issues would require a long term solution, so it wouldn’t have helped to “relax”.

Also, I hate not fulfilling my promises, I knew if I miss the release deadline it would then haunt me forever, it would take months to regain my confidence.

And that was October (half), September, November and December (half).

On the release day

I had been awake for more than 20 hours, ironing out some last second bugs and settings. It was literally one hour away from release time that I had things under control.

Then I spent one hour up to release preparing posts for marketing.

And so, on the hour, 17:19 UTC+1 (05:19PM), I hit the release button on Steam, and posted links and what not on social media.

And turned off the computer and went instantly to bed.

I was hoping for two things, enough sales to pay the Steam App fee for my next game, and as few negative reviews as possible.

The “morning” of 20th of December, 2022

The day after I released my game, I woke up with a feeling of tranquility and calmness.

So I skipped booting up the computer. I didn’t care what happened to my game, I wanted to enjoy the calmness a little bit more before facing whatever awaited me head on.

I went out shopping for long over due groceries. And I did an early spring cleaning, got my stuff in order, did the dishes, washed some clothes.

Took a long walk and focused mostly on my own health, both mentally, physically and spiritually.

It wasn’t until much later in the evening that I decided it was time to boot up the computer.

The first thing I checked was my email. My inbox was filled with people asking for a review key. I ignored all of them.

I then checked the Steam Stats for my game.

Zero sales.

Wishlists up by ten since last time I checked.

I was neither happy nor sad.

On to social media then, I checked on my release announcements on Twitter, and Reddit.


My Twitter post had 5 retweets and 2 likes, I was hoping other indie devs would bump my post, and perhaps the Godot community on Twitter would also give my post a bump. But I guess it wasn’t mean to be.


For some strange reason my post on Reddit was deleted by a moderator, no idea why, so I tried asking:

[–]to /r/gaming sent 12 days ago (Me):
Hi, I recently shared news about a new game release on Steam using the share button on Steam’s own website. However this post was removed by the automod.

Here is the post:

And here is the news on Steam’s website:

Please investigate and re-instate by post. I will also contact Steam to inform them about this issue so they perhaps can remove r/gaming from their Share button as the pre-selected community, at least until this problem is fixed.


[–]subreddit message via /r/gaming[M] sent 12 days ago (MOD)
As other people pointed out in your post complaining about our sub, we have rules surrounding self-promotion on our sub which your post breaks.

[–]to /r/gaming sent 12 days ago (Me)
I don’t get it. Who else is going to promote my game?

Wouldn’t asking a friend to do it for me just break another rule?

[–]subreddit message via /r/gaming[M] sent 12 days ago (MOD)
It would break the same rule.

Please read our detailed rules page.

[–]to /r/gaming sent 12 days ago (Me)
If I can’t post my stuff, and my friends can’t post my stuff.

WHO can post my stuff?

[–]to /r/gaming sent 12 days ago (Me)
Are fans allowed to post my stuff then?

[–]subreddit message via /r/gaming[M] sent 12 days ago (MOD)
Considering what our detailed rules page says about trying to circumvent our rules, we wouldn’t recommend trying to encourage your fans to use our sub to advertise your game.

It doesn’t seem like you’ve taken the time to read our detailed rules page so here’s an exerpt that seems to address your concern:

r/gaming does not owe you a place to market your business, that’s what is for.

[–]to /r/gaming sent 12 days ago (Me)
How would you know whether someone posts about my game because I told them to or not?

I saw a post about Skyrim earlier today, how did you figure out Bethesda wasn’t behind it?

Seems like a very labor intensive process having to check every post to verify the source!

[–]from mookler[M] via /r/gaming sent 12 days ago (MOD)
Can be!


Reddit 10 days before announcement:

[–]to /r/gaming sent 20 days ago (Me)
Hi, I’m a solo game developer who sometimes post screens, gifs, videos etc, about his game on reddit. I have noticed that everytime I post on r/gaming, my posts get deleted.

For example, just recently, I posted a video with the title asking gamers if there is anything they wish they could see in my game?

This post got deleted, quoting some issues with videos on reddit, and recommended that I instead link to a YouTube video.

So I followed the instructions, however, as soon as I pushed “post” the post got instantly deleted by the automod.

Any ideas what is going on?

[–]subreddit message via /r/gaming[M] sent 20 days ago (MOD)

Your account/post/comment does not meet the requirements to engage in our subreddit.

This could be because for example;

Your account is too new

Your account has low/negative karma

Other heuristics which are specific to a point in time, your account, or post content.

If this applies – please don’t contact us to approve every comment and submission. We don’t disclose the amount of karma required because it constantly changes due to sub traffic ebbs and flows and for antispam purposes.


[–]subreddit message via /r/gaming[M] sent 20 days ago (MOD)

All submissions must be directly gaming-related.

This means that posts must contain gaming-related content in the link’s content, or in the post’s body in the case of a self-post. “Forcing” a connection via the title or a caption added to the content is prohibited. Note that we do not allow non-gaming meme templates/image macros as submissions.

Memes are allowed so long as both the base image and the added text are gaming related.

For more details, including examples, please read this.

[–]subreddit message via /r/gaming[M] sent 20 days ago (MOD)
We don’t allow surveys but many find success over on r/samplesize or other gaming subreddits.

[–]to /r/gaming sent 20 days ago (Me)
Thanks for the quick reply!

I’m not a pro-reddit user, so I’m not sure how am I supposed to gain karma if your Automod keeps deleting my posts?

I’m posting in other communities just fine, it’s only r/gaming that seems a bit difficult to understand.

[–]to /r/gaming sent 20 days ago (Me)
Oops, I replied to your first comment, then once I hit refresh, I saw your other comments.

Thanks for helping me out! I will try posting somewhere else!

[–]subreddit message via /r/gaming[M] sent 20 days ago (MOD)
Hi there!

You are over our limit of 10% self-promotional posts.

For more information please read the following:

What is spam?
What is self-promotion?
Our self-promotion rules
Thank you.


They are really struggling to make up excuses for why they keep removing my posts. And if this isn’t obvious enough, then just for you information, I have made posts before, that had nothing to do with self-promotion, and even those were removed, and even got me banned without any reason.

Reddit 20 days before announcement:

[–]subreddit message via /r/gaming[M] sent 1 month ago (MOD)
You have been temporarily banned from participating in r/gaming. This ban will last for 7 days. You can still view and subscribe to r/gaming, but you won’t be able to post or comment.

Note from the moderators:

Rule 1

Is this perhaps the reason why the new Pokemon game is buggy? (My post)


I posted a meme where I was pointing out how gamers demanding X features might lead developers to release buggy games.

There was no self promotion, no prior rule breaking, no warning, just instantly banning me.

Whatever, I guess you get what you pay for.

My theory is that the people behind reddit tell moderators to remove all form of “self-promotion” so people are forced to pay reddit for ads.

Another theory is that r/gaming moderators get paid by bigger game publishers and tell the r/gaming moderators to keep competitors out of the spotlight.

I know, maybe I’m being a sore loser here, but we do have criminals all over the world. People do crazy things for money. So my theories are fully plausible!

Anyways, moving on.

So the release flopped. End of story.

I spent two more days marketing, that was it. After that I was long gone onto my next order of business.

I deleted 4000 lines of code from my website

I was going to just relax after releasing my game, and I did relax… in my own way. I worked, but not as intense as the month prior to releasing my game. I was more relaxed and enjoying my freedom.

I took a look at my website and felt… just exhausted. The dark theme wasn’t doing it for me anymore. The website seemed to drain my energy when I browsed it, I was not happy about at all.

So I decided to remove all customizations, over 4000 lines of code. And began styling the website from scratch, using new templates to avoid as much coding as possible.

I worked on it up until the last day of the year, that’s when I was finished with my updates. Wasn’t expecting it to go that smoothly and be done with it so quick. Taking things slowly is the new mantra for me going into 2023.

The website is now light themed, I removed the store, and many other functionalities that I wasn’t using. This way the website is much faster and feels more open.

I’ve restricted the darker color palettes to game related pages and posts, this way I can still create a unique style for each of my games. But the main site has a light theme, so it doesn’t feel too much of the same thing.

It was easy to get lost when the whole website was dark (oops).

And that concludes the year 2022.

So, what did I learn?

  • Make smaller games.
  • Make fitness your fulltime job, everything else should be an hobby.
  • Dedicate more time to writing novels, blogging and tutorials!
  • Don’t stress, games take time to make, enjoy life instead!

And now, as promised, let me share my vision for the game!

The current version of my game, Enduring Dreamers™: Freya is perhaps 1% of what I have in mind.

The new vision is to make a metroidvania type of game for the story mode, and develop multiple fun smaller games for the arcade mode. This gives me the best of two worlds!

I can develop small updates to the game, to make it more fun. But also create a big story mode on the side, at a more relaxed development pace.

It’s perfect!

Well, that’s all folks!

Thank you for reading, and God bless!

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Ahmad Wehbe: Author of Books, Developer of Games