It has been a long time since there has been any activity on this site, or on my YouTube. You guys deserve to know what has been going on, so that's what this post is all about.
A while back I mentioned that my family and I were moving to North Carolina. That move did occur, but not without some considerable losses. The day of the move, our family van was broken while we were eating lunch with my old teammates. The thief got away with a laptop bag containing a good portion of the families portable electronics. Included among the stolen items was my laptop, which I used for all my YouTube recordings, as well as all my game development. Considering that I don't currently own a desktop, that kind of left me without a computer for quite a while.
Thankfully, we had renters insurance on the home we were moving out of, so over time, we have been able to replace the missing equipment. While we could replace the equipment, we can not replace the lost photographs, source code, and video editing files.
Before this occurred, I hadn't recorded or uploaded any videos to YouTube for a few months, and I want to explain that. First, the recordings stopped due to health issues. There were several weeks where I was really sick and unable to record. After I got better, it really just became an issue of desire and motivation. I just didn't really desire to record, nor did I have any motivation to do so.
To put it bluntly, there was a lot of work involved in producing my shows, and there wasn't very much in terms of returns. I'm not talking about money here. I think I've made it quite clear that money was not the driving force behind me producing shows. I'm talking about viewer feedback.
There were certain viewers who were constantly providing feedback, and I appreciate those viewers greatly. The problem is, after a while of only hearing feedback from a handful of people, you start to wonder how much of the feedback is real, and what everyone else is thinking.
Then there's the viewership drop off. I suppose I should have expected this, which I kind of did, but I didn't really expect it to be as bad, or as fast as it was. In retrospect, I can now look back during that time and realize that I wasn't the only YouTuber experiencing this. It was an industry-wide phenomenon where Minecraft videos were concerned. Unfortunately, though, it affected small channels like mine a lot more than the larger channels like Paul Soares.
So, where does all that leave us today? That is a question that I have been pondering for quite some time. I really did enjoy doing YouTube, but I don't think I'll be going back to it again. If I do decide to do something like that again, I will probably be with another service, like Twitch.
But, let's say that I do start a Twitch channel, I don't think that I'll go back to doing Minecraft videos. Minecraft is kinda dying out. While its still kinda popular, I don't really see it becoming the shining beacon of popularity that it once was. With Minecraft ruled out, what will I do? I honestly don't know right now. I might consider doing a newer game for a while. I've also considered doing some programming tutorial videos. I just haven't decided that much yet.
Now that we've spent all this time talking about YouTube, let's change gears and talk about game development, as I've been rather quiet on that front for a while.
First, let me just say that game development is still occurring. Sure, the loss of my laptop was a major hit in this department, but now that I have a new laptop, things can return to normal. While there was some source code lost in the theft, the code for all published games resides within an online repository, so that's all safe. In short, this means I do not have any of the code that I was experimenting with, but I can still update and maintain all my published programs.
I am still working on game dev project, but I will not be discussing them publicly anymore. I've implemented a policy that no work in progress or future features can be discussed with the public. This policy is intended to protect both me and you. It protects me from being criticised if I am unable to deliver on a game or feature that I am working on, and it protects you from getting excited about a game or feature, only to find out that it was abandoned.
That being said, once any game is to the point that it could be released as a demo, then I will start communicating about the game. Even then, I will only discuss features that are actually in the game.
Several years ago my wife's parents moved to North Carolina, leaving us in Tennessee. Since then we've been wanting to make the move, but have been unable to because of my job and financial responsibilities. We're excited to say that we are finally making the move this month.
We'll be moving to North Carolina in the Raleigh area, and I will be starting a new job on July 10th. We are super excited about the move as it is expected to be a major boost in our income as well as a reduction in our cost of living.
Now, I'm sure your reading that and asking yourself, "What does this have to do with me?" Well, I'd like to answer that, but I honestly can't right now. I don't really know how it will affect you guys, or even if it will at all. I do have my plans and hopes though, so that's what we're about to discuss.
I do expect us to have a little more extra money, so over the next few months, I hope to squirrel enough away that I can buy a new computer for YouTube recording. The hope is that I'll be able to get back to making YouTube videos by the end of this year. Now, I don't plan on going back to Minecraft, instead, I plan on picking a new game and playing that for a while.
Well, that's great for the YouTube fans, but what about the development fans? I've got that covered too.
As part of the move, we're trying to obtain a house that will be large enough to house my whole 5 person family, and have an extra room that I can use as an office. That office will double as my YouTube recording studio and my game development office. With that, I plan on taking at least a couple of hours each week to spend on game development.
The point is, that while I haven't been very active in a long time, I do expect to become more active in both the game development and the YouTube arenas. It may take a while for all this to come to fruition, however, so please bear with me as we undergo this change.
A long time ago we had forums on the site, but then the spam came. We hate spam and all its nastiness! But just because we received a ton of spam, doesn't mean that we shouldn't be allowed to have a community.
So, we've decided to try this mess again. We've added the forums back to the site, and have set up ReCaptcha to help cut down on the amount of spam that we receive. With any luck, we won't get as much spam this time around and can keep the community forums open for all.
As usual, you'll find the link to our new forums in the menu above. I do want to point out, however, that our help system and the forums are both two separate programs and do not share user account information. This is on purpose as we want to have a separation between the forums and the help center.
For years we've been trying out different offerings for a support system. We've tried Trello, Git Hub, Atlassian, and others. At long last, we've decided that we'd be better off hosting the support system here on our own website.
You'll find our new support system located at help.CupCodeGamers.com, and a link to it in the menu above. We are confident that bringing our support system onboard to our own web server that we'll be able to offer you a better response time, and that it will be easier for you to find and use.
As far as we can tell, all aspects of the support system are fully functional, except file uploads. We are working with our host to identify the problem for that and hope to have it resolved as quickly as we can.
EDIT: We've noticed that the new help system errors out after you submit a help ticket. The ticket is still being submitted, but you will not receive any email confirmations. We are working diligently to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.
The ticket system's email system has been fixed, and it is no longer erroring out after you submit a help ticket. We are still working on the file uploads portion, until then all uploads are disabled for users.
For the longest time we've been using WordPress as our website type, and that site has been hosted at NewsBlog.CupCodeGamers.com. To make that work, we had to redirect all traffic from www.CupCodeGamers automatically, which would cause some browsers to toss out a security warning.
We've migrated our entire website back to www.CupCodeGamers.com so that the redirection is no longer necessary. During that migration, we also changed our web system from using WordPress to Concrete5. For the most part, our readers shouldn't notice much in the way of differences, other than just a simple visual difference. For us, however, the differences are black and white. For one, the new system makes it easier for us to make and manage our posts.
We've also updated our general policies on when and what we can post about. We've been posting about our development projects as soon as we start them. While this practice may work for many indie developers around the world, it does not work for us. We often get into building a game, and realize that the game just won't be as much fun as we initially thought it would, so we then abandon the project to pursue other ideas.
The problem here is that if we've been posting about the game during development, we've now got some sort of following that is hoping the game gets completed. Abandoning projects in that condition looks bad upon us, and causes the community to mistrust us as developers. We don't want to look bad or lose the trust of our fans and followers, so we've discussed at length what our new policy will be regarding when and what to post.
First, we won't post anything about any of our projects unless enough work has been done on that project for us to release a Demo of the game. In general, the game must be at a playable state before we can discuss the project with the public in any way.
Second, when we do discuss a project, we will NOT discuss future changes or features. If it is not currently in the game, you won't hear a peep out of us about it. This means that we also will not confirm or deny any features that are currently being worked on or are planned to be added.
We realize that these policies may have adverse effects upon the community, however, we believe that they will provide more positive benefits than negative ones.