August 31, 2016

RBS (First Time) - Part 1

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After Java developers became surplus to requirements at the MCPS-PRS Alliance I had to suddenly hunt around for work again. The PRS people were very nice to me and had no problems with me looking for new jobs while at work. With almost year of working in London behind me, it was surprisingly easy to get interviews. Rather than the months of waiting previously experienced, a number of positions came through agents quite quickly. The best of these was at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), in their corporate and retail banking operations (very separate and distinct from their investment banking operations).

So I began a 3 month contract as a Team Leader on the Service Charge Review System (SCRS) just as it started. The project had a 12 month timeline, so if things went well I expected to hang around for further contracts. SCRS was driven by the corporate relationship managers. These are the people who dealt with businesses, big and small. Unlike retail customers (normal people going to bank branches), businesses and corporations paid a raft of fees for the services they use (thus service charges). While there are a set of “standard” fees that businesses pay by default, in reality all the fees are negotiable. The bigger the business, the more negotiable the fees they pay. There are a large number of possible fees, from receiving a cheque, running a credit card or having an overdraft. Perhaps a medium-sized consumer firm has a need for large amount of cash-handling (cash passed to a branch has to be secured, counted and transported), but rarely makes international transfers. It might look for the cash fees to be lowered in return for higher international fees. Part of a relationship managers’ job is to work out if that is a change the bank is willing to make, and if so arrange it. The relationship managers also create speculative fee structures to tempt business to shift banks.

RBS Logo

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August 3, 2016

Glorious Day!

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Yes! This week is the culmination (but not termination) of the last four years’ work. My game Concealed Intent has reached 1.0 status and been fully released. No longer is it marked with the stigma of Early Access.

For the next week there is a 34% launch discount on Steam, and now for the first time it is also available on the Humble Store too (same discount).

Development work is not over, there will still at least be a version 1.1 update at some point. However, I think the largest part of game is now complete. Reaching a standard I felt happy about and then saying that people can pay for it without that Early Access caveat is a huge step. Also, as well as the 1.1 update, there will be work on another game (as stated in this year’s goals).


July 29, 2016

Payout

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Stranger things have happened, but not often.

After eight and a half years, I have actually earned real money from this blog. A few days ago Google paid me out just over £60 (the minimum) for the ads that have been displayed here since the beginning. For comparison, the hosting costs of this blog has been around £300 over the same time period, so financially this is a bad deal.

Another way to look at this is that there have been 333 posts here, so that is £0.18 per post – not a good salary, as most of them have taken a couple of hours. There have been a total of 216,000 visits since establishment, corresponding to £0.28 CPM, which is actually not too bad. So the problem is (relatively) few people read my posts.

As an update on my last state of the blog post, this blog is down to around 1500 visits per month. Which is a base earning of about £0.05/month, plus more from the occasional ad click. So the mathematically astute among you may work out that based on the previous post and the earnings rates I list above, it should still be many months before the £60 threshold was reached. Well done, you are right! However, I recently started a YouTube channel (and associated blog): A Gamedev Plays. There the CPM is closer to £0.70, plus clicks, and I’ve had a couple of clicks. Clearly, this is where ad-based content publishing is heading. The money from this is what pushed me over the edge.


June 27, 2016

A Gamedev Plays...

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I have set up a new website: A Gamedev Plays… will be dedicated to discussion and reviews of all sorts of games (but mostly games that I want to play). There is already an associated YouTube channel and Steam group. I will be using the Jarrah Technology Twitter and Facebook pages for promotional purposes at the moment.

I appear to be increasingly writing about games here. The desire to do so will only increase. Unsurprising, considering that most of my time is currently spent designing, building or just thinking about games. So I thought it best to split out the games posts into their own website, as such a monomanical focus was never the intention for this site. There may still be games posts here, but only ones I feel are particularly notable (similarly some of the old games posts from here may make it to the new site).

The plan for the new site is to play more games and write about them, both as a game design learning exercise and as motivation to create more myself. As a secondary goal, I also hope to create a small community around my games writing.

There is an explosion of game making at the moment. More and more games, many with innovative ideas are being released. I need to be aware of what is happening in game design. Since starting work on my own games I can’t help but try to analyse what makes a game work (or not!) when I play it. Being able to organise these thoughts into a coherent argument in a presentable form can only help me improve my future games.


June 26, 2016

...And Then We Hold Hands

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Starting positions

…and then, we held hands is a very interesting two-player only, cooperative board game, available for free print & play (P&P) download or purchase. Despite having an abstract design it is incredibly thematic.

Originally developed in just 48 hours as part of the 2014 Global Game Jam, this board game went on to win best Golden Geek Print & Play and earn a proper published release. However, the rules of the GGJ state that all games must be released under Creative Commons, so it will always be available for free download, as long as you are willing to create the components yourself. This review is for the free P&P version.

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