While there was strong revenue growth from 2018, 2019 was about so much more than the business or money: it was a year of creative growth. With the creative growth came pains associated with figuring out how to enter a new line of business with videogames while keeping the quality bar high on the education side with Pluralsight courses. In this postmortem, let's examine what worked, what didn't, and where it all leads for the future.
The conception of the course had to be a delicate balancing act of knowing how high level to go versus when it made sense to drill in to some detailed level. This meant choosing concepts that form the core of the platform, and to some degree that can be subjective. Still, having the existing course catalogue on Pluralsight helped a ton, and these existing courses served as reference points that helped me navigate to a coherent outline. Since the release of the course, I was sad to hear of the passing of Scott Allen, who produced Creating Your First Salesforce Application, which I consider to be the sister course to this one, and likewise helped guide part of the course's creative direction.
After release, it has become a success. The course is highly rated on the Pluralsight platform, and very popular. Combined with the other talented authors who expand upon the foundation laid by this course, Pluralsight now has a powerful catalogue for anyone to launch a Salesforce career. I simply could not have asked for any better with this project.
The game was inpsired by the question of: what are these townsfolk doing in action-adventure games when you are not around to interact with them?
The answer, if previous titles we have seen over the past 15 years is any indication, is not much. They exist purely for you. But in a fictional world, this has never struck me as very satisfying. Kalling Kingdom, both as a fictional universe, and as a flagship game for this effort of deepening game simulation, is meant to begin changing all of that.
Sales for Kalling Kingdom have been very low but considering the scope of the project to produce a minimum viable product that was shippable combined with the niche genre of "fantasy turn based city builder," it is not surprising. There is no need for any disappointment in this area, though, because this project is driven by creative vision more so than that of mainstream popularity.
If there was any big takeaway from the work done on Kalling Kingdom, it is most certainly this idea that you must scope super small and simple for your first game and "just ship something!" I have always questioned this, it is something you will continuously read if you are new to indie game development. Where I have arrived is that there has to be a balance. On the one hand, removing all time pressure from everything leads to what happened with my previous project, Age of Nomads, where everything eventually got shelved because there was insufficient focus to direct the project into something playable and compelling. With Kalling Kingdom, the problem along those same lines was in the opposite direction: four months was extremely aggressive to get something shipped.
And shipped it did! ...It was not necessary, it could have waited.
All that being said, the freedom of self-publishing and self-developing, along with a tiny niche player base, along with the diversity of funds sustaining my own existence: Kalling Kingdom can and will continue to receive feature updates throughout this year, and possibly beyond. The game's ideal state can still be completed.
Now, work is under way to add additional artwork, music, and features into the game including the potential for entire systems. The full creative vision for the game can still be realized. As a part of that, too, is the backstory & lore behind the game and its fictional universe which will make its way onto a new Kalling Kingdom website.
In other words, there were major aspects of Kalling that take a lot of resources to bring to life. Kalling Kingdom and its universe is my own answer as a designer, a storyteller, and a developer to all of the problems we have received in the action-adventure game genre, the lack of viable simplicity in the turn-based strategy genre, and general letdowns from other fantasy universes.
I think the best is yet to come.
This end-of-year course felt a lot more like a comfortable process than some of the other courses. One noteworthy point was the development of what I called simply: automation-app. It is a codebase that can be continuously updated, tweaked, and exanded to be a working coffee business application on the Salesforce platform. Because it leverages Salesforce's new second generation packaging features, it can be installed with a few clicks instead of having a tedious command-line process that would include downloading and extracting a zip file of course materials.
At least as far as Salesforce is concerned, I would like to think this adds a little spice of innovation for other authors to follow: it makes set up of examples by the learner that much easier so they can focus more on learning and less on configuring.
From here, the most prominent questions come from what gaps remain in the Salesforce workforce at large that I can help to address through continued dedication to the learners. I think folks will like where we, as authors across the community, will go next for helping you with your professional skills.
Kalling Kingdom was the first game and will continue to serve as something of an interactive platform to begin constructing the foundation for a new fictional universe. From that fictional universe, the hope is to produce expansions for that intellectual property.