An Update on Coppice (and Myself)

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet over the past 6 months when it comes to Coppice. The sole release of 2023 was in August and there hasn't been an update since. I feel now is the right time to give an explanation of why and what to expect for 2024.

The TL;DR is I've had a one-two punch of health issues that have severely affected my productivity and likely will for the next 6-7 months. As such Coppice has been sort of on the back burner.

The first of the health issues is burnout. The re-design of the M Cubed website and the updated purchase flow for Coppice was only meant to take a few weeks, but ended up taking nearly 8 months. I'm incredibly proud of the work I did and what I put out, but it took a lot out of me. It was far too long of a project and after I released it I crashed. It took from release in August until the Christmas break for me to recover.

Over Christmas I was able to work on Coppice. I invested time in learning some new technologies and modernising some of the code. I started planning out a roadmap of future features that could be released in smaller updates, and I had hoped to get the first of those out by now. Unfortunately the second health issue hit, this one being far more serious.

So let's rewind back to the middle of last year. I had started noticing food becoming a bit stuck when swallowing, needing me to wash it down. Given it wasn't consistent, I initially put it down to a mixture of posture, eating too quickly, and being overweight.

A few months later it hadn't cleared up so I got in touch with my doctor who referred me for some tests (specifically, shoving a camera down my throat to see what was going on). Given the current state of healthcare, well… everywhere, but especially in the UK, it took a little while for me to get those tests done, but in mid-February I finally went in, was put to sleep, and the doctors had a look. When I woke up they told me I had a tumour in my oesophagus and stomach.

Now this isn't my first time on the cancer rodeo. In my early 20s I developed testicular cancer, but thankfully that was an extremely treatable form of cancer that was caught very early. Most people's reactions to the news of cancer would be shock, but mine was more "here we go again".

The past 6 weeks have been a bit of a blur. I've had many trips to different hospitals for many different tests and meetings. It has been so chaotic that I've barely had time to do my freelance work, let alone think about Coppice. Whatever productivity issues I had before pale in comparison to the past month and a half.

Thankfully, I'm now at the end of the diagnosis stage and the prognosis is: it's curable. I won't go into minute detail on the treatment plan, but it will likely involve major surgery sandwiched between two intensive courses of chemotherapy. And this will likely take the next 6-7 months to complete.

So the good news is I'm probably not going anywhere long term. The bad news is that this may very well end up being a lost year for Coppice. I do still want to try and get some updates out, even if they're small ones, but I can't make any guarantees as it all depends on my health.

For anyone who has Coppice Pro, I fully understand if you want to cancel your plan until things become clearer. If you do stick around, once I'm through this I will look into how I can thank you. I can't make any promises on how or when but I feel it's the right thing to try and do something. I know that this situation is out of my control, and as an solo indie dev you don't have other people to pick up the slack, but I still want to ensure that if you entrust me with your hard-earned money I give you a quality product and service in return.

The rest of the year is probably going to suck health-wise, but hopefully at the end of it I will be stronger and healthier. And hopefully I can say the same for Coppice.