The last six weeks have been immense.
I really thought upon release of GLCV3, that I would finally get a bit of a break from development, but I was wrong, very wrong.
The last 18 months of my life have been the hardest ever. I started the original development of V3 just after I finished and released Config File Creator back in March 2022. With GLCV2 still on sale and doing okay, I thought the development of V3 would be a nice, simple walk in the park in terms of “I can just take my time and develop this perfectly”. But I was very wrong.
It wasn’t just a straight-forward development. Our entire infrastructure had to change for the whole load of websites we had. For example, the current Game Launcher Creator V2 and Game Patch Creator software’s were running on their own websites with their own ecommerce platforms. This was me not forward thinking back in 2017. Afterall, Game Launcher Creator was just initially meant to be a small software development to fill a gap in the market for a drag n drop launcher editor. Back then, 6 years ago, I never thought it would grow to be this big. I was happy still working on client projects.
When I realised the potential GLC had, I quickly got to work on developing Version 2, a bigger, better software editor than the prototype V1. When the lockdowns began back in Jan 2020, it kicked off, big time. GLC sales were doing well every week. It kept me on my toes, pushing out updates, improving the software, the interface, new features… it was nonstop. By the time of Summer 2020, things were settled and V2 was performing well and hardly required any updates or bugfixes. This enabled me to spend some time marketing through Facebook and Instagram.
I was able to relax, spending time with my family and friends working normal hours, some weeks working just 1-2 days a week on the software. I was still working on client projects in between and some of them were big and time consuming.
The same happened throughout 2021. Then in November 2021, one of our customers wanted me to design them a custom configuration tool. I looked at the plan and thought you know what, I’ll make this into a proper software, and so Config File Creator was born. It literally took me just 5 months to develop the entire thing. I had a wealth of experience from V2 development to know where I could do things differently and so I did. I created a new style editor, knowing I was using this as a ‘testbed’ for the upcoming V3 development.
After a lot of hours creating CFC and releasing back in March 2022, I thought I’d just roll on with the routine I was in and start the development of GLCV3.
Not as simple as you think
I think some of our customers and users think we just produce Game Launcher Creator V2 as a small development team and that’s it, but it’s far from it the operations we run. I don’t want to go on a long-winded spiel, but at the moment we have six dedicated servers, over 42 websites, 38 databases, 5 software applications, a Store, customer support, emails, live chat, Discord and client projects to develop and maintain.
GLC may be our flagship product, but it’s still only one piece to the puzzle in the development of our software company. Dealing with the stresses of running and managing the company is no easy feat, put on top of that my personal affairs like my family, the kids, my friends and other things going on in life, it’s easy to say, although I tried my best, 2022 was a testing year for my in Discord.
I would try and help customers the best I could but with so much weight on my shoulders, sometimes, it seemed easier to call a spade a spade and just be done with the answer. This was the wrong approach. Not only was I no longer seeing my friends, but I was losing the will to live with providing customer support on the Discord, mostly because of the repetitiveness, every. single. day. The same questions repeated over and over. It’s almost like nobody wants to read documentation anymore or at least search the Discord for the answers that have already been given 10,238 times.
So in light of this, I added a new domain to our network – byteboxmedia.support
Instead of having documentation on each site for each product or service, I figured as we were expanding, it would be better to have one central location for all the support and documentation. This would take the weight off me, the other Devs and the Support Staff. We are still developing this today, it’s not what I wanted it to be at the moment. I have just integrated a new system this week so I’m hoping me and Darth can tackle that at some point and get all the documentation onto it.
Documentation is important
Documentation is important for the users. I understand that better than anyone because I have worked with computers, new technologies, plugins, software and coding since 1998. Having the ability to read documentation and hunt down what I need to find quickly, is important. Some users though, particularly the younger generation, are not used to this. With the spawn of Discord, it almost gives them an “entitlement to instant answers” from real people. What some people fail to realise is, these real people have other responsibilities at hand, like development, management. If we spread ourselves too thin, the support becomes useless.
We needed a way to enforce documentation to be the first route users look to, as pretty much all the answers are in there anyway. Discord makes us feel compelled to react and give support, which is good, but when you’re repeating an answer that you did just a few hours earlier, or the day before, or a week before and the user could’ve found this with a search, it makes Discord seem like a dark place. About 90% of software companies don’t even provide “real human support” unless you email in, then you’ll be waiting up to 72 hours for a response. We think we’ve gone the extra mile providing Discord support, but unfortunately, due to the behaviour of some people, we now have to downsize this as it becomes more of a burden than we wanted.
In light of this, from May 2023, there will no longer be support provided via Discord in the normal fashion. Each software will now have it’s own Discord “forum channel”. This is where you can post a question, search for answers, post bug reports etc. But it’s not open-topic for conversation anymore. It will also be a lot stricter. For example, if someone asks a question that has already been answered and they haven’t bothered searching, their post will be removed and they will be muted for a while.
It’s a shame it’s had to come to this but as we expand and our userbase expands and we have more users coming onboard every week, these protocols and routines have to be implemented in order to hold on to any sanity.
VIP support will still be available for those who desperately want or need that 1-to-1 support.
Back to GLCV3
So back to V3… it’s a big software. It’s a huge development. Probably one of the biggest developments I have worked on to date, literally. And there’s still more to do.
The initial “design” of V3 looked awesome. The purples, the pinks, the blues… the way they all merged together seamlessly and in a gradient fashion. However, I’ve now had a change of heart. Amongst all the “flashy design” and slick look V3 has, I want to take Game Launcher Creator back to the very original plan… to look like a professional software development tool.
So now that V3 is out the door and some of the major stuff is out of the way, it’s time to revamp the branding and design of the software and that’s what I’ve been working on this week.
I made a rookie mistake when developing V3, and that was I created ‘static’ property sheets for the objects. Looking back now, it was a pathetic move, as I always wanted V3 to be modular and to be able to be “plugged into”, that was the future of V3… plugin developers. And so I now need to go back and code in a dynamic property dialog and much more. I’m writing the SDK documentation as I go along so when it’s all complete, the documentation for the developers is there, ready to go, so the plugin developers can get going straight away.
Here is what I have so far:
This is the new interface design I’m aiming for. Obviously this is still a BETA design what you see here, but this is ultimately, what I want the software to look like.
The old dialog looked cool as hell, but not professional in my eyes. We need to revert back, this is what the old dialog looked like:
It looks the part. Looks cool with the curved dialog design and the purple gradient and the icons. It all seemed well and good at the time of design, but now I think I prefer the software to look like a development software and not just all glitz and glam.
This industry is tough. Even though our software is the number one launcher creator software worldwide, because we have thousands of users, small decisions can have big impacts, not just on sales but usability.
So this is what I’m working on this week. Rebranding the V3 interface and the website. I also have made a start on the new AOPS2 rewrite, but that’s for another post. All of these updates will be released in one huge, mega V3 update (1.14). There’s no ETA yet because I want to make sure everything is right. There’s also a new template system going in too. I think once this 1.14 mega update is out and any bugs squashed, we should be settled, at least for a few weeks.