The Golden Apple Network was easily one of my most ambitious failures. If successful, I would have made me rich! (for a 15-year old, anyway). But of course, it did not succeed. Here's the story.
What it was
Throughout the early ages of my project history, I was obsessed with Minecraft. I ran a profitable server, designed professional server banners, developed custom plugins, and even ran a very successful Minecon information website. In my mind, it was time for the next big thing. It was time to create a mini-game server network. If I could run a small but profitable survival server, how hard could it be to create an entire game network from scratch with no real experience?
Unlike some of my other failures, I took quite a bit of money out of my own pocket for this project. However, the main difference is that I did a lot of planning beforehand, yet still failed. Perhaps too much planning. I recruited a staff team of friends, bought a custom domain, custom email address, professional graphics, and rented three machines to host the actual servers. Although it's quite old, and the writing is pretty bad, here is a little taste of some of the planning my friends and I did back in March of 2015.
With the planning mostly complete, it was time to start developing the network. For a while, we were making good progress. We had a website up and running, an online store linked to our server, a message board, and even a TeamSpeak server. We had almost everything!
What went wrong
So, what was missing you ask? The actual games. We had everything working except for the part that would attract players to join, the mini-games. The store and "hub" server were set up and running, but that was the extent of our progress.
I wanted to have 100% unique mini-games for our network, but I was the only developer on the team. Hiring another developer was out of my budget, and I wasn't about to ask my friends for extra cash, so I stayed solo. Since I was learning entirely new concepts, progress was extremely slow. At this point, the friends that I recruited had done just about all the work they could and were just waiting on me finish the games. A little over a month had gone by before the project was abandoned. Sick of waiting, my friends lost interest. When the team wasn't interested anymore, neither was I.
What I learned
This failure taught me the value of teams and how little I could actually achieve when by myself. Since I was the only developer, it was unreasonable of me to take on the massive workload that I did, perhaps even a bit selfish. I should have either done most of the coding before organizing a team or have waited for the opportunity to hire a second developer.
I also learned some useful technical concepts throughout the month that I was developing. Specifically, this project introduced me to the concepts of BungeeCord proxy servers as well as MySQL databases. These are both concepts that I ended up using for future projects.