Back to Square One Can Be a Good Thing

Each game we make is aimed at an older and wider audience than the one before. That is cool for a whole bunch of reasons. However, sometimes it’s good to loop back and see what you were working on years ago. Even six months ago can be a long time in Internet years.

In October, I was doing improvements on our very first commercial release, Spirit Lake: The Game. It was a fun first effort, at the very beginning of our move from educational games to adventure games that make you smarter. (If you want to see the difference between the two, play Spirit Lake and Fish Lake and compare them. Then play Forgotten Trail when it comes out and you’ll really see the difference. You’ll be hearing about that a lot when our Kickstarter campaign kicks off.)

Some of the code in Spirit Lake, I wrote two or three years ago. Some of it was done using plugins we paid for and installed. The code in those was a black box to me then. This week, I was going through and cleaning up that code.


Going back to square one can be good because it makes you realize how far you have come.

In every way, from the artwork to javascript to css to – well, just everything – over the past few years, what I can do has leapt ahead. I’m sure that is true of many people. There are two ways to look at your progress. One is to bemoan who ignorant you were years ago and the other is to marvel how far you have come. Let me give you a bit of advice …

When faced with two possible ways of looking at something, I choose the one that makes me happier.

So, lots of marveling today.

Going back to square one is good because of the people you meet there

I don’t want those wonderful people who backed our first game on Kickstarter, who helped us by being pilot sites while we tested whether a fun adventure game really CAN improve your math scores and helped us in every other way to ever, ever think I have forgotten them.

I’m looping back and making Spirit Lake better because I want to send a free upgrade to all of those people who bought it to show how much I appreciate them.

The more successful you get, the more people there will be in your corner. There will never be anyone else like those people who believed in you at the very beginning.

Interested in doing something random ….

Several months ago, I was bored in my hotel room, so I made the Multiplication Dog just for a teacher who had complained that multiplication requires repetition and kids just don’t want to do it. I was floored by the number of kids who played it. Seriously, this was something I knocked out in an hour and that time includes selecting the artwork our library.

You can look at it here and laugh. I have gotten so many requests from kids for “More of the dog” that today and tomorrow, I am banging out improvements like – a background, better sound effects, different image when you get it right, a dog house.

Please feel free to add your own suggestions below and I will included as many of them as I can get around to doing in the next two days.

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