Sometimes you read a story that's really hard to believe it's true but probably is. In this case it's Raymond Doerr of SixtyGig Games doing something absolutely nuts to secure funding for their games.
They are the developer of Rise to Ruins, a brutal godlike village sim that melds the god game, management, and tower defense genres. A game I'm actually pretty fond of, written in Java and with Linux support it's a fun way to spend a number of hours. It's a successful game too, going on to sell at least a few hundred thousand copies. After releasing Rise to Ruins out of Early Access, eventually updates slowed down even though many more along with another game are planned. As Doerr outlined in this rather personal post on Steam, there was a good reason for that.
Doerr goes into a little history about how Rise to Ruins (previously called Retro-Pixel Castles) got started and it's quite surprising. Doerr did the "totally rational" thing of giving up a well paying job at Lockheed Martin to "change career paths into a job with an extremely high rate of failure that you have literally zero professional experience what so ever in doing". They're just very lucky it all worked out…
Fast forward to 2020 and COVID hits, however, this isn't the expected issues of COVID causing major problems though. Rise to Ruins is still a success and fully supports their livelihood but not enough to fund a second game. So, what would any clearly sane person do? Jump head first into the stock market apparently. Yes, not a publisher because Doerr isn't a fan at all and not Kickstarter because it might not raise enough and "an already successful company running a Kickstarter for funding is bad optics in my opinion".
Doerr ended up managing to turn "$200k into $2.5 million dollars", even higher before a recent "tech crash" and now work will be refocusing back on Rise to Ruins continued development and work on the next game code-named "Project Mary". Sounds like it was pretty exhausting too as Doerr mentioned how it "impacted everything in my life, including my own mental health, that I'm still recovering from as I write this".
The post ended with "Funding Secured.".
Absolute madness. Always nice to get some insight into the behind the scenes of what some people go through though and Raymond Doerr is clearly very dedicated.