Welcome to the new updated version of this post! Tap here to view previous version from July
Quite a lot has happened since the original post, the player base has grown massively, and I am now comfortably covering my non-labour game costs which is fantastic!
A big thank you to everyone that has supported the game thus far! Without it, I would have been forced to diversify my time into other projects by now or have gone back into a conventional workplace. This is amazing, however for it to be sustainable longer term there is a lot more work to be done.
As part of this I am pleased to announce the release of the Development Roadmap! & Game Sustainability features into the game. Members have already been given a preview of this but I wanted to share it more widely so everyone can gain some insight into what is planned and how sustainable the future of the game is looking. I am not greedy, but I do need to look after myself and my family.
To give something back to the community I have released a new development roadmap page which gives transparency to upcoming features in the game. This gives an indication to what is likely to come in the short, medium & longer terms as well as a backlog for other things that may come later! This is all subject to a lot of change and is an enhanced version of what was previously listed in the original State of The Nation post back in July.
To deliver the features and tweaking that the game needs, it needs to be sustainable. To be sustainable it needs funding, which has been provided by the generous support of members over the last ten months or so. However for the game to exist for, hopefully, years to come the amount of money needs to drastically increase. This is entirely anticipated, and I am overall very pleased with the generosity shown by the community so far – thank you!
As with many things, this will take time to achieve and there is a lot of work ahead of me. The easy thing would have been to slap some goals into Patreon and Ko-fi but this would a) have been messy since they do not have visibility of each other b) been a bit boring. So instead I have created a dashboard with goals on the website itself!
The game sustainability page shows the progress towards the goals & milestones with some descriptions as to why this is necessary. It also gives an indication to the approximate level of effort that is going into the game from myself at that moment in time.
Up until March 2021 this game has been on the back burner for my entire career. This means MotorNation is effectively now over 16 years old. It has mostly been kept private during that time. It has of course evolved but consequently much of the interface is now broadly over 10 years old. This ironically fits into the aesthetic and era of the game, so I need to be slightly careful to update the game without losing what helps make it unique and befitting of the time.
There are permutations of MotorNation going past even that, certainly to the early 2000s and the basic premise can be traced back to the early/mid-nineties…. There is an offline incomplete prototype version in Java circa 2003, there was once a front page made in Pascal (MS DOS) and originally, I used to write out car adverts from the Auto Trader into Microsoft Works - the DOS version.
Tap on the below to read more details (if you wish)!
It became apparent in January 2021 that the pandemic, living in isolation with a new-born, an aborted house move, schooling a by then six-year-old at home had unsurprisingly taken its toll on us as a family. With my wife shortly going back to work and me being frustrated at a lack of autonomy, variety and flexibility from my own, the then current arrangement did not work for us any longer. I had enough and I reluctantly left my job. My first break in employment since my first full-time role in 2005 when I started my career in web development following my Degree in Computing.
At the start of the new fiscal year, April 2021, I declared myself self-employed and began working on my own business, Software Taylors. Much time and expense has gone into setting it up and much of my working focus has thus far gone into MotorNation, learning all the different skills I need to run my own business and marketing the game.
As of 5th November 2021, the game sits at approximately 1400 activated players and more than 500 accounts logging in and playing in the last two days. However I am increasingly concerned about the multiple accounts in the game and I am actively taking steps to tackle this. I recognise some players wish there were more to do in the game each day, however this was never truly the intention as it was designed to be played a little bit - often. I would however like to provide a faster paced version of the game, but this will take time and in the meanwhile I am considering ways I can draw compromises.
Multiple accounts have never been permitted in the games rules and they do actively harm the game in the following ways:
As I have mentioned previously I am working on this and do have something in place which gives me an idea of the offending accounts. So just because you can currently do it, does not mean that I do not know about it. Multiple accounts are in some ways a “back handed” compliment so I would like to understand better why people are doing this and what it is that made them want to do it in the first place. I do not want to spoil people’s fun, but it is a multiplayer game and I need to balance the experience for everyone.
I would love to continue investing my time into MotorNation exclusively as I have been, but I do need to support myself and my family, hence the new game sustainability page.
Some examples of major features since the beginning of the year include (tap to read more):
Due to my self-employed nature, I need to make my own income. I love spending time on the game, improving it and adding content – it is my passion. But I of course need to make money. This is the only way the game will become sustainable and with features delivered at the sort of pace I would like to work at.
The short answer is – it depends on the numbers of paying members. The more and higher paying members there are, the more time can be spent on the game and the more resources I can utilise on it. Having lots of players is fantastic, but there needs to be a certain level of paying members to make the project work and be sustainable long term as per the goals.
I have been stepping up my project management game a lot recently and I have been working on improving my longer-term planning. I have implemented the first version of the basic roadmap, but it will be difficult to determine realistic time scales until I know what time I have available, and therefore budget, to spend on the game. This relies on my promotion of the game, the game being good enough for people wanting to pay to support it and of course a degree of luck!
Firstly I hope you have enjoyed my frankness and honesty and have not found this post arrogant, greedy or needy (if you did that was not my intention!). I am trying to be realistic between what I would like to do and what resources I have available.
I would like to re-iterate a big thank you to the existing players, especially those that have and continue to contribute towards membership, I am not exaggerating when I say every penny makes a difference right now! But it is amazing to be making any money from doing what I love so that is fantastic, I just hope I can continue to give the game the love it deserves.
The game is growing all the time, the numbers are looking good and I am pleased with the progress being made but there is still a long way to go.
If you have read this far then, thank you for taking such an interest in my rantings and I hope you enjoyed an open insight to how things are going with me and the game.
Thanks as always for your support, for helping make this happen and as always keep safe!