Thinking a year ahead.

April 24, 2010 | Filed under: business

I’ve been away for 2 days, on holiday. Yippee. First time I’ve been away this year, and indeed, since I moved house. It takes me about 24 hours to switch off from work, even once I’m 100% away from a  PC, so that gives me 24 hours of relaxation proper before I’m back in code mode. I still occasionally find myself thinking ahead though.

I actually started thinking post-GSB very briefly. I’m still a little way off from that, but I need to set a date for when I ‘move on’ and pack away the star wars and star trek DVDs and sound-tracks and dig out the <********* spoiler ***> which will get me in the mood for my top secret next game. With a new race expansion pack under way right now, and the campaign add-on in full development, it feels a bit weird to already be planning ahead.

However, I know that it takes me roughly a year to make a new game. That means having to start on the next one at the point where I think I can finish it before you I out of cash. If I plot a graph of Gratuitous Space Income, it tapers down pretty steadily to about now, and bumbles along at a livable rate. In a years time, that will (if it follows my other games) be just below that. Luckily I’m a bit paranoid and always stick some money aside when things go well. My plans stupidly assume that the next game is at least as good selling as Democracy 2 / GSB. If it sells like Rock Legend instead, I’m probably eating from Asda rather than Sainsburys. If it sells like Kudos 2, I’m eating from bins :D.

So my current business plan (not as exciting as my game design plan) is that the 3rd (likely final) race expansion pack comes out next month, and hopefully the Campaign turns up in June. Those should bump up sales of the main game a bit, and hopefully pay for themselves over the next year. I have a feeling the campaign may slip a bit due to feature creep, but I’ll assess the likely interest in that after the next expansion goes on sale.

8 Responses to “Thinking a year ahead.”

  1. Cap'n Lee says:

    the correlation seems to be that the more niche your product, the better it seems to do. very interesting.

  2. Alex Vostrov says:

    Cliff, do you do prototyping at all? When you decided to make GSB, was a it a big bang or did you try lots of small games?

  3. hardy24 says:

    Cliff, whats the plans for GSB on Mac? I’m very eager to play it on my Mac (all of it) and would pay a decent sum.

  4. LJ says:

    For the record, I bought both Kudos and Kudos 2.

  5. Brad says:

    How do you think Starcraft II will impact GSB? Help or hinder or nothing? I know it’s a very different game but thematically they are similar.

  6. cliffski says:

    It is a significantly different game. It’s also had some bad PR, with the splitting it into different full-priced versions, as I recall. Plus it keeps getting put back and back.
    If anything it should boost GSB, as it reminds people that RTS style battles with stuff blowing up can be cool :D

  7. Watsong says:

    Well, don’t base your anticipated demand for the Campaign expansion based on the sales of the 3rd Race expansion. I would expect the Campaign expansion to be the most popular of all the add-ons. In fact, I will go as far to say that it will be a GSB essential that no owner of the main game can do without!

  8. Tim says:

    Cliff, I still think that GSB + Galactic Civilization’s is a match made in heaven. Get Stardock to licence your code for GalCiv3. Please. :) You’d both benefit hugely from such an arrangement. They desperately need a nice tactical battle engine and GSB is an awesome basis for a more strategic game to be layered on top of it…