Author. Developer. Musician.

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Author. Developer. Musician.

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Lights out, heart attack and lemonade6 min read

Much of what we create, most of what we write down and visualize is digital today.
Whether at work or at home, most of our life moments are immortalized electronically.

And how much does it cost a few hundred gigabytes more these days to put some extra life memories in?

But we humans, we are not digital. We are flesh and blood and invest our valuable and very limited time to leave a digital trace of our existence. That is why we should guard these valuable legacies especially well.
And that’s exactly what I was trying to do.

As a person who likes to learn from mistakes, I have adopted a backup procedure that has let me sleep peacefully over the years.
Until one fine day in the first week of January 2020, when I wanted to continue working on the story.

When the lights went off…

I am about to open a file when the lights of my external 3 TB hard drive go out.
Just like that.
That alone is quite unusual, but when Windows crashes I get a little fright.

I make a reboot and disconnect the hard drive first. After my desktop comes back to life, I reconnect it again.
Okay, it‘s working again.

Nevertheless, I still have a queasy feeling, because usually such things do not happen without a reason and as long as I have not found the cause, the whole event would not let me rest.

But on this day I have absolutely no time to pursue this, because I had some important ideas for a puzzle that I wanted to write down. So first of all I continue working.
Of course I save my file every couple of seconds, so that a new failure does not ruin my work.

And then, about 20 minutes later it happens again.

That’s not good, I think to myself. Not good at all.

I’m running all kinds of checks for hardware failures, but the hard drive seems physically fine.
But then how can it be that the new file I was working on is no longer readable when I try to open it again?

After several attempts with other hard drives, cables and an never ending process of connecting and disconnecting, saving and loading files, I come to a conclusion: a defective USB cable.
That must be it.
A very slight loose contact, which does not always cause the hard drive to go out, but apparently leads to a faulty saving of the file.

Damn. How long has this defect been present?
No idea.
I have no choice but to sacrifice my sleep and rummage through hundreds of files all night long.

The result: some newer files of the story are damaged, and two important files with graphical content.
Among them the new logo.

At this moment, I think I’m about to have a heart attack.
My heart rate is going down instead of up and I’m getting pale.
I feel suddenly dizzy and empty.
Although I want to destroy something out of anger I can’t move.
I just fall on the bed and see stars where there are none.

And then I just keep asking myself why I get f****** lemons thrown into my life when I want to create something of great value.

So many hours of hard work are now trapped forever in some corrupted files.
Unrecoverable. Never again.

Just the thought of having to do the logo from scratch makes me hold my breath in anger and tension. But with every deep breath I take I fall into a kind of trance until I finally fall asleep sometime in the morning.
Just as I lie there.
Completely dressed.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

My wife always says that I’m unkillable. She probably knows no other person who can dig himself out of the deepest depths as well as I can.
But this often only works so well because she gives me hope and calms me down.

And also this time it works quite well.
At second glance everything looks a little less bad, although the shock is still deep.

So we go through our options.
I still have most of what I wrote in my head. So no problem.
At least not a big one.
One of the graphical files is a prototype feature that needs some modifications anyway.

The biggest problem is the logo.
Even if the final version doesn’t seem too complex, it was a file of more than 2 GB with many layers and a lot of details.
Although I still don’t want to believe it in the end, one thing is clear: I have to redo the logo. As close to the original as possible.

But before I decide to take this step, we take this fiasco as an opportunity to spontaneously reflect on whether all graphic content is still harmonizing with each other in terms of design.

Because the Skylr Messenger has changed graphically in such a way that we constantly had to adapt the remaining modules.
And during this extensive analysis we come to further considerations:

The logo was not modern enough and did not quite fit the new technology that now plays a major role in the story.

Half the face of a girl who was supposed to represent Frances was not well received by some of you. The reason for this was that their own idea of what Frances might look like was negatively influenced by the new logo.

Last but not least: For many players the gas mask gives an indication that TGWSTW is a pure survival game. And this is not true. Survival is only one of many elements that make up the TGWSTW experience. Because of that the logo does not appeal to the right audience as much as it could.
And that is not good. Neither for us nor for you.

So we rack our brains for hours how to make the best out of the situation and finally the longed-for enlightenment comes.

Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, and we agree that we want to design a logo that is not necessarily better, but a more suitable one. One that lives up to the new design without losing the mystery.

It was a very painful experience emotionally. But it was also a blessing in disguise. From the lemons that were thrown in my way, I now was ready to make lemonade.

Ta dah. TGWSTW Logo 3.0

Not guaranteed to be the final one, but chances are good.

It took us only a few hours including brainstorming and the new logo was ready.
It is simple. It is modern. It has a high recognition value and a mysterious touch.
We did an AB test in the App Store and the conversion rate has increased noticeably. This is an indication for us that the new logo appeals to the right people, namely those people who are interested in a deep story.

We very much hope that you feel the same way.

The moral from this experience…

I would like to give you something on the way.

First: Don’t be down in the mouth when bad things happen. There are situations with no way out, of course – but just as often if not more often there is luck in misfortune or at least good alternatives, which let the initially hopeless situation appear in a completely different light.

Second: Electronics break down. All of a sudden. Without warning. This isn’t breaking news, I know. But all too often we forget this in our everyday lives and expect our electronic aids to work for years without a glitch. And eventually, we pay a high price for our naivety.

So if you have data that is invaluable to you, or you have invested an enormous amount of time in its creation, make sure to make MULTIPLE backups. Preferably on at least two different hard drives and additionally in the cloud. And very IMPORTANT: check directly after saving, but before closing the file, if the backup works properly. Because this is exactly what has been our downfall.

I hope you had a better start into the New Year than I did. If not – my sympathies. 🙂

Nevertheless. The show must go on.

And it does!

. . .


  1. Imnidjit

    Very inspirational story! I’m a computer tech who has been through a number of disaster scenarios like yours and worse. I resonate strongly with everything you wrote here. I am so impressed that you and Barbara keep after this project like you have been doing. I can imagine the thought of just putting it away must come to you now and again. But TGWSTW is really something special. Love the new logo. I am one who saw the old one as a little … curious. The handprint is genius. Best wishes to you and thanks for your dedication.

    • Art@TGWSTW

      Dear Imnidjit!
      We can only hope, that sometime in the future we will laugh about all those moments of desperation and almost nervous breakdowns 🙂 The road to success is so damn hard nowadays and the mobile app universe is relentless. To get mental support in such moments like through your comment and to have the certainty that there are people out there who are interested in our project is invaluable! Thanks a million!

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