Header / Cover Image for 'Winter 2024 Update!'
Header / Cover Image for 'Winter 2024 Update!'

Winter 2024 Update!

After some consideration, I decided to continue my pattern of posting an “update” article at the end of each season (3 months). It really helps keep followers up to date on my general work and projects started/finished. It’s also just a nice way to “cap off” the season, looking back at what was accomplished or lessons learned.

So here it goes! An overview of my life from January, February and March 2024.

Writing work

Last year, I wrote so much during the summer, that I needed to take a break from writing for a while. That’s why I mostly created games (and did some other administrative things) during the final 3 or 4 months of 2023.

This did cause a bit of a lopsided planning, though. I had already finished all my planned games for 2024 … but almost none of the planned stories/books :p

So I had to start writing again. Fortunately, my idea of “just write a lot and you’ll get better” ringed true. I have much better structures and instincts now for writing stories than I had a few years ago. (I was actually surprised by this myself. How easily I turned a vague idea for a Wildebyte Arcades book into a page of clear arcs, goals and climax.)

I used the following structure: per week, alternate between one Saga of Life short story and 50% of one Wildebyte book.

In other words, for example,

  • 1st week of February = Saga of Life #5
  • 2nd week of February = Wildebyte #5 part 1 of 2
  • 3rd week of February = Saga of Life #6
  • 4th week of February = Wildebyte #5 part 2 of 2 = done

This structure works well for me. It means stories are done quickly (before I can lose interest or momentum and never finish them), but I still get some variety which is nice for fresh inspiration and realizing flaws in your work.

And yes, this is a lot of writing, especially for the Wildebyte books. They are half the size of regular novels, but even then it’s outrageously fast to write one in two weeks. But that’s just how it works for me. Any project that takes more than ~2 weeks means I lose interest and start working more and more slowly … stop being productive and creative … until the project is probably never finished.

So I write a Wildebyte book in 2 weeks, leave it for a few months, and then come back later for some crucial revisions/edits. (Because speedrunning through 40,000 words means you’re bound to make mistakes and write some terrible prose.)

Similarly, my Saga of Life stories should not take more than a week. But I write them in Dutch the first time, and use the revisions (a few months later) to also translate them to English.

I had also researched some writing contests in which I could participate. I mostly wrote my entries for those at the start of January, though. Once I got into all my other writing work, I just lacked the time (on the weekends) to also focus on more writing competitions.

In the end, this means that …

  • The Saga of Life (Cycle #3) is now mostly done until story 8
  • Wildebyte Arcades books are written until book 6 (which is planned for the start of next year)
  • And I will probably participate in ~6 (short) writing competitions this year.

A note about Wildebyte Arcades

After writing the first 5 books, I had to do a huge reorganization of the project and my planning.

But that’s to be expected. Actually writing the books for weeks and weeks gave me better ideas for future stories and the overarching story thread.

For example, some ideas placed close to each other … were about games that are very similar. That feels silly and repetitive—so I spaced them out.

Some ideas were more interesting than others, more certain. So I moved them to the front—giving the other ideas more time to blossom.

I learned some more techniques for pacing and plotting a longer series. This showed me how to rearrange stories to create a more streamlined and satisfying general progression.

Things I would’ve never known or seen without just doing it and writing those 5 books.

This also means some of the proposed planning or planned books on my author’s website might be wrong for the time being. Any planning more than 6 months ahead is bound to change :)

The general idea is to write/publish 4 or 5 Wildebyte books per year. As it stands now, this means the Handheld Disk (where Wildebyte is inside mobile games) will be done in about 5 years time.

Yes, this is quite a long plan. This is quite a commmitment.

Am I so sure about this? No! Of course not!

Will this lead to any success or income? Perhaps not!

But writing these 5 books has shown me that picking the Wildebyte Arcades (out of all possible story ideas to work on) was the right idea at this moment.

  • The books are short and mostly standalone.
  • The fact they’re set in distinct games is a huge help in structuring each story and making decisions each day.
  • It combines multiple areas of work. For variety, and for scratching that “video game itch” while I’m still too broke to buy a proper computer to actually make video games.
  • What else am I going to do?

My personal situation hasn’t changed. Due to my past, I still struggle to find any joy in anything, or any reason to care about life at all. The fact these books just keep coming at a good pace, for a while now, even with gaps, is a sign that it works for me right now.

I keep hoping that some day I regain the ability to enjoy something or care about something. And maybe that day comes and the Wildebyte Arcades never gets past book 10, because I’ll just do something entirely different with my life then. But there’s no reason to expect it to come at all, so let’s be realistic and continue with what works now.

Game work

Some simple games

I had created a few holiday-themed games (for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etcetera) at the end of 2023. So I was mostly busy with “finalizing” those at the start of January 2024.

Once a game is tested and works, there’s still a lot to do to finish it properly. Rules images, interactive examples, marketing graphics, slight tweaks and fixes to the code, etcetera.

After that, I made a game for my mother’s birthday that turned into 3 simple group/party board games. These will release throughout the year—wherever I found a “gap”.

When I say simple, you should really think “simple”. I try to sort my games based on simplicity and “how hard will it be to make this”. This means that, most of the time, I work on my simplest games that do one thing and nothing else.

During this period, I prototyped 4 more of these games, but struggled to find time to actually develop them. I barely managed to finish 3 before the end of March, the 4th game idea pushed to April.

Surprise Easter games

I got very sick at the start of March. A very nasty virus that circled around the family (and town), which also led to (probably) a lung infection.

I could continue working, but surely not at the regular pace and not on projects that required full focus / creativity.

So I realized I had one idea for an Easter game (which was coming soon, obviously) and decided to just slowly, leisurely make that.

After a day of brainstorming and specifying the idea, it turned into 5 ideas. You guessed it: I picked up the pace a little bit more and made all 5 of them.

By the time I got better (took 2+ weeks), they were all done. Now, of course, they need to be playtested a lot more during Easter. This year, the holiday literally falls on March 31st and April 1st, so you’ll hear the results of these tests in the next update :p


But, as always, variety is the spice of life. After creating a handful of really simple and small games, I always want to do one “bigger” or “more challenging” game.

Looking over my notes and ideas, I found one idea from 5 years ago. An idea that had a really strong core, but my execution at the time was pretty lackluster. (It was one of the first games on my game studio website, so I had almost no experience developing games yet. The original rules were even in Dutch!)

I am talking about Naivigation. A game about steering one vehicle … together … without communication.

I always wanted to redo that game. Create a “version 2” that was actually good, professional, everything. It’s a risk, it’s a big challenge, but I really felt I needed to make that.

So I did.

Almost every weekend, I spent time moving this huge project forward. Writing the general code, finding the graphics style, getting the structure in place. All of that to have the first prototype ready for my own birthday! (18th of February)

As expected, the first prototype was very promising, but still not entirely there. So I kept working on it and basically have all the foundation locked in place by now.

Why do I talk about “foundation” and “shared code”? Well, because you can obviously apply this idea to any vehicle! I knew, even back then, that this simple core could be applied to sailing a ship, driving a car, steering a train, anything.

So I took my time to identify the “shared” aspects. The rules that will always be the same. The types of cards that will be needed in every version.

Which will now make it very easy to create all the different versions. I can simply slot them into the existing system, then add the unique rules / graphics / material on top.

One of the shared cards is “Discuss”. When executed, that is the only time you may communicate and strategize. This is included in every game.

But other cards are specific to the vehicle. For example, only the Airplane-game has a card to change elevation (go higher or lower).

It will probably be an entire year before these games (or a part of them) are released. But I believe they will be awesome, every single one of them, and am willing to slowly creep towards that goal. The games are so simple, their material needs so low, yet they always click with the players and provide loads of fun.

But didn’t you just say you get bored by any project after 2 weeks? Yup. Which is why I’m still alternating. After creating that foundation and first prototype, I’m now creating some tiny unique game projects again, so I can pick up Naivigation next season.


After continued disappointments from my current hosting provider, I moved away from them. (One of those disappointments is that I don’t get my money back for paid-for services I won’t be using for an entire year now … but oh well.)

After spending the past year moving all my websites to a smaller and better system, I can now host them for free. In fact, they are faster for it and automatically build, which means they will be up to date at all times (and I don’t need to manually press the button to upload a new version).

So I did. Nobody will notice anything on the outside, but behind the scenes my websites are even cleaner, faster, and free to host for me.

Another reason I could do this, is that I made all my projects completely “open source” in January. You can find all the code and content behind every website, game, almost anything I ever made. It’s all free to browse, learn from, whatever. Because of that, I could connect these “public repositories” to a free system to automatically host them as websites.

As always, I’m continually working towards a world that is completely open, transparent, based on sharing and never on money or selfish gain. This felt like the next logical step. (I merely had to spend a weekend removing all private files, such as passwords, from these repositories before turning them public.)

Anything else?

I already mentioned the personal state of things in my note about Wildebyte Arcades. All that hasn’t changed.

I keep maintaining great habits for both physical and mental health. In fact, they mostly improve each season. I realize some other bad thing I do, fix it, continue.

I often made my decision whether to exercise or not that day when I get out of bed. But that’s obviously a moment in which you don’t feel great physically and are just booting up the old body. Simply … not doing that has allowed me to get more exercise and feel better about it. Now I make the decision whether to exercise any time I have a break during the day.

I also still don’t have any money at all. Whatever income I have has to go to paying rent (to my parents) and paying my health insurance (which helps me and my chronic illness in no way at all, but is obviously required in the Netherlands).

Why do you keep giving stuff away for free then!? Why don’t you do lots of marketing!? Use TikTok! Network! Ask money! Beg for social benefits! Do X! Do Y!


I understand others don’t really understand it. How can you live without goals? Without getting joy from anything? Without caring about anything? Well, yeah, it’s tough and weird and unnatural. I live based on good habits, discipline, and heavily leaning into any tiny spark I can still feel or find.

I’ve been forced to do so for more than 10 years now. So I’ll just reiterate my general message to anyone who reads this: take care of your physical health, don’t waste time and energy on the educational system, and don’t let your parents tell you what to do. If your family is a bad influence, ignore them and get away as quickly as you can. If your physical health is self-destructing, ignore school/study and use that time to recover before it gets worse. Use your youth to be strong, to learn to enjoy life, to become a good and skilled person, and don’t let anyone else force you to use it for other useless stuff.

Or you end up like me.

Also, please, TikTok is a privacy disaster and addictive waste of time, I wouldn’t use it to save my life. (That’s the other secret to writing so many books and creating so many games in a season: no social media :p)


So, yeah, busy season, lots of productivity. Hundreds of thousands of words written. Some books already released. A great start on what might be the best game project I ever did.

Next season will (hopefully) see …

  • Saga of Life Cycle #3 finished and Cycle #4 vaguely planned.
  • Wildebyte books done until #10 (hopefully).
  • More individual, small board games from that list.
  • A huge update to all my websites. I do this once a year, around the summer. It just means adding long-awaited features, cleaning up, fixing minor bugs, finally delivering on promises on the website ;) But this is very optional, so anything I’m unable to do in 1 or 2 weeks time just … moves to next year.
  • But I hope to do one different thing, not writing and not games. Because I hate too much planning and structure, I’m still leaving that one open. (Also, a small summer holiday might be nice, after 15 years without even a small holiday.)

That’s it. Until the next update, next season!

Word counts are now simply tracked on the front page of tiamopastoor.com. The same with finished, in-progress and upcoming projects. That’s why they don’t appear at the end of these updates anymore.