2021 wrap-up

The year of ending things. Here we go.

Plan A 

Can you guess? Finishing and releasing Slice of Sea.

I feel I can write a very long article about the whole development process, but it’s too early for that. So, for now: yes, it was finished, yes, it was released, yes, I made my debut on Steam. I managed to finally push through Apple macOS trenches and create notarized app for this game, which in turn let me publish macOS version. All of this was kind of new to me, even after almost 20 years in the business. I mean – releasing the game on Steam. Creating proper game trailers, optimizing Steam store page, hitting that button that says “release the game”… Now I know so much more about the process and releasing more games on Steam won’t be as painful and draining as that first one. On a side note – I don’t intend to get swamped in a 4-year-long project ever again. Done it once, that’s enough for me, thank you very much. I played the game few days ago, about two months after publishing – and I still like the design. This is a good sign. I played it, because I finally caved in and added more door tutorials throughout the game in places where people got stuck and missed crucial locations because background passage indication wasn’t clear enough. There have always been hints that symbolized those passages in the game, but clearly not enough. Now they’re in your face, you can’t miss it. If you want to see where I added them, update the game on Steam to the latest version (v1.0.14). If you feel it’s too much hand holding – please don’t blame me. This latest, 14th update kind of rounds up the post-release bug-fixing phase. Game is done. Hallelujah.

Plan B

The last entry in the 10 Gnomes series. The project of 12 years is finishing this year. And it’s going out with a bang, since the final gnomes take place in New York. I could write a long and sappy story about gnomes starting back in 2008 in my home town and finishing in New York of all places, but I think I’ll save that for a proper post-mortem article about gnomes once it’s done and shipped. Also – Where is 2022? Yeah, sure, at this point, why not? I’m sure Santa is up for that as well.

What was surprising to me, was that it was a surprise to so many 10 Gnomes players. The fixed ending to this series was known to the public for at least 10 years. This was a project 12 games spanning over 12 years. Still, people were caught off-guard when the series finished with it’s last installment set in New York. Just as I perfected the gnomes formula, the series ended. I got lots of comments that this flow of the game, so different from all previous in the series – was the best. So, nothing left but to close the series and go out on top.

Now, the last “Where is… ?” game is a bit different story. Let me explain. After finishing the gnomes series – “Where is…?” was the last remnant of the flash era. By that I mean – a series of recurring small games that were meant to be published periodically. But now we’re in a different era. Flash is dead and flash-like thinking about what a game series is – should die too. Also this was the last project with a set deadline for each game. I hate deadlines and got rid of them years ago. This was the last one. It felt right, to retire Santa. I also managed to tie this ending to the gnomes series, in this last Santa game you visit all 24 locations of all gnomes games. And the flow is the same as in that last gnomes game. They were going strong hand in hand throughout all those years, now they both went out in style also hand in hand. Like Bonnie and Clyde. Like Thelma and Louise.

Plan C

Submachine Card Game Kickstarter campaign and whatever happens after that. This plan is so undefined and unstable yet that I do not dare to say more.

Well, this got pushed to 2022, only because the further I went into details of this project, the more indication I got that it’ll be a full-time job for a hot minute as well, and development of Slice of Sea just really didn’t want to end for almost entirety of 2021. Once I had enough free time for the card game – the year has ended. And here we are. However, the game itself got polished in 2021, it’s in even better playability state right now than ever before, it got a bit easier – but at the same time – more enjoyable and quicker to play. It’s looking good.

Plan D

Comic books? No.

Yeah, this was kind of a joke I made at the end of last year’s wrap-up, but this is morbidly true. 2021 was my third year without drawing a comic book. I don’t remember having even one-year break from drawing comics, let alone three. This is the longest I ever went without drawing comics since the 1980s. Yes, those 80s. The sad part is – I kind of don’t miss it and I don’t see myself drawing comics in the near future.

Let’s now happily look ahead to what’s coming in 2022!

Plan A

Submachine: Legacy. The remaster of all Submachine games smashed together into one, giant Steam release. I need to write completely new engine for this. I also need to retouch some graphics that clearly need some love after a decade of remaining small-sized web games. I also need to export all of those graphics from flash, animate all moving things in Spine 4.0 or newer and finally create all logic from scratch in Game Maker Studio 2.37 or newer. Is this all doable in one year?… Let’s see.

Plan B

Submachine Card Game. Preparing a Kickstarter (or Indiegogo) campaign. Once funded – print them decks, send to backers and release the game worldwide. There are countless more steps to this entire thing, but these are biggest milestones. I also want to create loads of youtube videos going over rules and unclear situations that might occur during gameplay.


As you can see – I’m still in the process of getting to my preferable work cycle: having at most two projects at once. If possible – one.

In longer run – I want to settle on releasing one game and one comic book per year. If that proves too much – I’d switch to releasing games and comics bi-yearly (one year – a game, the other – a book).

But this is far in the future.

And this is now.

See you next year.