My third life

June 29th, 2021

Very few people know it but I have 3 lifes:

  • Personal and professional life, the real one
  • Retro developer life, the one you’re here for
  • Retro developer financer life, my ugly but needed hidden life

This 3rd life started in 2010 I think. I had to finance retro things (systems and stuff, hosting) and, well, legitimate to my family why I’m spending so much time on some useless things. This last point is the most important one because, I was about to stop everything because of this.

So, how to do you make money without losing your soul nor without killing your other lifes ?

I tried several things:

1/ Sell my ROMS

Things are I’m not a swiss army man and so, the only one-man game I was able to finish was Space Hawks .
On SMS/GG, there is no way to release it (lack of new cartridge and case) and it was only available freely on SMSPower.
On Megadrive, I had so much negative feedbacks about the “8 bit style” than it was a no-go. The only way to make a release valid was to make a “Enhanced” version, with better GFX and better SFX : code is ready but I’m unable to great the missing assets 🙁

One thing I didn’t try was to sell my carts on ebay but I’m a little embarrassed with this : it means I accept that people pay too much for a game.
But what if I say clearly on the description what’s to pay Spritesmind and my research ? I still don’t know…
Should I try with Space Hawks ? 😉


2/ Sell my tools

My tools are freely for so long, it would be a crime to ask to be paid for now.
Perhaps creating new tools but I’m not sure which one and, remember, I don’t want to lose my soul : my first initial goal was to SHARE information and tools to help people to develop on retro system.
It won’t work if they had to pay for, or you’ll need a click to release kit, which I dislike.


3/ Sell Spritesmind

N.O. W.A.Y !

4/ Get paid for what I do

I get contacted by several people who wanted me to develop a game or a tool for them.
I was against the ideas years ago but now, my little money devil is here to remember me I need money 😉

So I accepted 2 projects
– I never finished the first one and get only half of the paiement (which is already great)
– I had to finish the second and this time, I’ll finish it

So the idea was great at first : to be paid to develop game, assets produced by others.
GREAT!! well…not that much…

Why ?
Because you add to be focused on your project and you signed a contract : you need to deliver every X weeks.
Difficult for me, since this comes AFTER personal and retro.

I was unable to finish the first one because my client can’t wait years, which I could easily understand.
For the second one, the contract is friendly and we do so much things outside of the initial request that’s is a lot cooler…but I doesn’t me I can’t finish it and it’s what I had to focus on right now

=> mitigate results

5/ Surf on the retro wave

I’m no longer a mobile developer at work but I was one previously.
So to develop for Android isn’t really hard.

You could think I’ll talk about developing games on Android and so on…
Forget it! The market is saturated, you’ll need money to every TRY to be visible on Google play and result are Zero or Hero.
I could say so because I tried 😉
And Space Hawks is already installed on perhaps 50 devices others the world : not really a success !

Another idea comes to me when I tried to update a WonderSwan emulator to fix bugs and add debugger features (yes, like on KMod years ago)

When I play with a new system, I now create 2 versions of my developper emulator
– an Android version, without developer feature
– a desktop version, with developer features

I currently have 2 emulators on Google Play, and it’s allow me to pay Spritesmind hosting and 3 or 4 packets a year from Japan.

It”s not much, mainly because I’m now interested in not so common systems so forget about Nintendo and Sega systems 😉

=> Money in my pocket

6/ Grey area

As you may know, I also like to RE games to understand how they work.
I’m a little too much on this because, well, I need to understand EVERY byte used on the game.
So, when it’s finished, I “almost” have the source code and full assets of the game…and it becomes possible to port it.

My initial idea was to port these games to retro systems, when risk of receiving a DMCA is near 0 (if you don’t touch a Nintendo of course).
It’s what I did with Space Hawks….with the results we know 🙁

So what will happen if I do it with a AAA game and if I release it on Android first ?
There is a LOT of games made in China available on Google Play which are port of retro games, which don’t make it really clear if it’s an official port or not.

So let’s try 😉

=> (coming soon, my first fan / unofficial port is available on Google Play for 2 days)

7/ Others

I have many others ideas that I will try later …or not, so perhaps I’ll update this post later
– develop on Coleco or C64 when developer get paid to release games
– develop on NES where people still pay a lot for 2 pixels on screen (Nintendo is the Apple for retro stuff…and Sega is the best so :devil_face: ) -> thanks to people like Broke Studio it’s no longer true, because players are now waiting for high quality games
– develop on SNES where people are praying for new games for their systems : back to my problem-> how to develop a full game people will like
– sell my unneeded stuff on ebay (coming soon)
– sell hardware mods (it will be boost me to work on my VGA stuff at last)
– buy 2 items on Japan and resell 1 on eBay
– Patreon : what could I make valuable so people would pay even 1$ each month to me ?!
– fake KickStarted to get easy money…err, no thanks

Posted by KanedaFr

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