I'm very sorry having to inform you of this change, but there won't be any TilemapKit development done from my side, at least in the foreseeable future.
About 2 months ago I took on a contract job at Pixomondo in Stuttgart, Germany. It was intended as a 4-6 weeks job lasting until Xmas.
Shortly thereafter I mentioned that I just couldn't manage to spend any significant time on TilemapKit. Commuting and living with my family, let alone working a full day, took a toll on TilemapKit productivity.
However, things turned out so well at Pixomondo that I signed on as an employee, together with my workmate Marcus. Basically we're switching from the rough ride of self-employment on to a more steady work/life balance doing great things with Pixomondo. I can't disclose what we're doing except that it still is software development. Also: pretty exciting stuff too!
On the other hand it means I'll have to let you down. I hope you're going to be okay with perusing the software as is and making changes to the code yourself. But I would totally understand if you like to ask for a refund, if you bought it within the past ~60 days I'll see to it that you get your money back if you want - just send me an email (steffen at tilemapkit.com).
I'm currently entertaining the thought of:
- passing on TilemapKit development and business to someone else or
- handing it over to a one or more game engine teams for proper integration or
- releasing it as open source in due time (summer or later).
But at the moment I simply don't want to make any rash decisions and I'm going to move to a new flat and won't really be settled in to have an unoccupied mind making such a decision before March/April.
Just a couple points as to why I/we decided to go with Pixomondo and give up the office I shared with Marcus, both of us moving to Stuttgart and going forward with these life-changing events ...
For one, there have been several private reasons (for me at least) that I don't want to lay out in the public. Nothing too dramatic, and the usual what most human beings go through in their lives and the lives of their families. Let's leave it at that.
The financials have certainly been a factor, specifically the steadiness of a regular income after 6 years of ups and downs being a contract worker. Plus much less bureaucracy. Less worries - I recently learned I would need to make even more changes to the shop and invoicing to conform to tax laws and all that - it never ends. And then there's less of the "only very cautiously spending money" due to the eventualities that might happen.
One of the worrying factors was that TilemapKit brought in only about a third needed for break even and only when promoting it regularly, frequently, and then some. It's primarily that promotion part that makes these online software sales so time consuming. And the games my colleague was working on were still far from publishable, and would have needed further investments for graphics and marketing. It all seemed to grow more risky every day.
Most importantly, as far as the work challenge goes and the human/social/cultural factors, Pixomondo is simply the perfect fit. I can't stress highly enough how stress-free the human aspect of working there is!
It's nothing compared to the feature-and-time-fixed deadlines with the game producer/publisher breathing down your neck with endless unproductive meetings and/or a hell of a shared office culture that I've come to accept as common, even unavoidable, when working with/for game studios.
At the same time we'll (continue to) be working with bleeding-edge realtime technologies that we're proficient in and personally excited about. I'm purposefully vague here since I signed an NDA, obviously.
I never imagined going back to employment status, giving up freelancership, just 2 months earlier. But it all happened so quickly, and things fell into place to perfectly, it still seems unreal.
Imagine that just on a hunch I visited my first apartment, found out there already were 10+ other interested parties, and not a week later I signed the lease contract for this wonderful apartment. All this in a city whose availability vs demand rental situation for those seeking a place is statistically the second or third worst in Germany.
So ... I'm looking forward to continue working with (and soon: for) Pixomondo while actually having much-needed free time to myself in the evenings (aka not having to run a business) and ... wow, even the weekends to myself and the family!
On the other hand I feel sad to cut down the cord on TilemapKit and leaving our cozy little office. Really, I do.
I also took down the checkout link so there won't be any new purchases going into the next year - this is primarily for tax reasons actually.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. I'll answer as thoroughly as possible.
You can see me in this Dell promotional video for their high-end notebook, I'm the one nodding in agreement on the right side in this meeting at 1:12: