2015/2016

It’s review-the-past-year-and-plan-the-next time! That means I basically waffle on about myself for umpteen paragraphs.

Firstly, 2015

I had several goals planned for 2015, and over the course of the year I ended-up adding some new ones and giving-up on others. I also read 19 books, and completed playing 10 videogames, which means I actually released more games than I played through.

Run 5K

Failed! After various attempts in January to March, I decided to put it off until the weather was warmer, and then… never actually got back to it. Going to attempt another exercise goal in 2016, with hopefully more success.

One Game a Month

Success! I actually released 13 games, though not all of them are particularly good or finished.

  • Spacelunky: Barely more than a prototype, just the bare bones of a procedurally-generated platformer. I did make some music for it though, which is a first.
  • Memory: Classic memory game, not much to it. I experimented with the Unity animation system, then everything broke when I later updated Unity so I never expanded it.
  • BREAKPONG: Pong, but the paddles disintegrate when hit by the ball. I really like this one actually! Name is awful though, which is a running theme with my games.
  • Food Fight!: Oh dear. A 48-hour Ludum Dare entry that only ran properly under the exact circumstances I developed it in, which is a bit rubbish. I actually thought it was quite good up until I started getting feedback. Oh well!
  • Catsteroids: I’d run out of time to do a proper game, and so I made Asteroids but with giant cat faces that go ‘meow’ at you! It’s every bit as daft as that sounds. I have no idea what anybody else thinks, but it still makes me laugh.
  • Potato Farming Manager 2000: For some reason, I decided to take my super-early, supposed-to-be-a-side-project Impressionable engine and release a game using it. To say it’s a bit rough is an understatement, though I’m still pleased it’s even playable at all. It’s a simplistic farm management game. I recently upgraded Impressionable to use an OpenGL renderer, so I might update this soon if I remember.
  • Mavis Bacon Teaches Typing: I’d just started learning to touch-type, so what better game to make than a breakfast-themed typing game parodying the apparently-fictional typing tutor Mavis Beacon? This turned out better than I had hoped, and is one of the more polished games in this list. There’s only one stage, and it suffers from suddenly becoming way too hard, but what’s there I’m happy with. I drew a bunch of breakfast items that are actually recognisable, hurrah! Probably my favourite game name, too.
  • 5-A-Day Fun Maze: I wanted to make a raycasting pseudo-3D engine for GBJam. I did, and then had no idea what to do with it, so I made a maze game about finding fruit, and then gave it a sinister tone? Not sure what I was thinking.
  • Frankenstein’s Monsters, Inc.: The game with the longest name and the most punctuation! Another 48-hour LD entry, you run your own corpse-reanimation business! Did loads of art for it, which I’m pleased with. I’m mostly happy that I managed to distil a management game into a single screen with simple drag-and-drop interactions. Made music for this!
  • Flibbertigibbet: Using the same old laptop as for Food Fight, this time I went for the lowest possible system specs, with a survival/building roguelike game that runs in a terminal. It was probably more fun to work on than actually play, however. It was a good excuse to experiment with some C techniques as I’m still fairly new to it. Named after my favourite word because I couldn’t think of any alternatives.
  • Pool: A basic English Pool game, made mostly as a starting point to then make…
  • B!lliards: My entry into ProcJam, an attempt at procedurally generating billiard/pool-table games, to limited success. I managed my time poorly and only got the bare minimum implemented, which mostly picks rules at random, producing amusing but unplayable messes.
  • Ecosystem: 48-hour Ludum Dare again! This time, a little virtual garden. It’s pretty bare, but depending on how the ratings for it go, it’s something I would like to continue working on, with the intention of it being a nice idle game to leave running and see how it develops, and enjoy the little soundscape it produces.

I’m glad to have finally done 1GAM properly, but that said, I’ll be focusing on fewer, larger, more complete games in the future. A month isn’t enough for me to finish things satisfactorily.

Be competent at a music program

Sort-of succeeded? I managed to make a couple of little instrumentals, but didn’t really put enough time into it to make music for every game as I had hoped.

Be competent at Blender

Failed! I enrolled on an online course, but haven’t actually started yet. I ended-up putting this to one side until after I’d learned touch-typing.

Draw more

Success! Had a daily-drawing calendar and mostly did it each day, though sometimes I did get behind.

Daily Bible reading

Success! This is the first goal I added to the list later. Took a while to get into it, but I now read a chapter pretty-much every morning before I do anything else.

Learn to touch-type

Success! Another addition. After years of typing with two fingers (albeit fairly quickly with two fingers) I finally made myself learn to touch type. I used TypingStudy.com, which is a free online thing. I finished going through the lessons in November, and it’s been getting more and more natural since then.

2016

So, what about this year then?

Exercise regularly

Firstly, again, exercise. I’m not overweight (BMI around 23), but I’m a long way from any semblance of fitness. My strategy this time is to use Wii Fit, as it’s easier to motivate myself to flail around in front of the TV for 10 minutes a day than to run around in the cold where other people can see me.

Complete the Blender course

Lack of 3D ability continues to limit what games I can make, so I definitely want to learn Blender this year.

Learn to play the piano/keyboard

There’s been a MIDI keyboard lying around as long as I can remember, and I think learning to play an instrument would be useful and help with stress, so why not commit to learning it publicly on the internet? I’m naively assuming that touch-typing will help a little here, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

Make some Arduino things

I’ve wanted to learn electronics for years but always put it off. I’ve got an Arduino, so why not actually do something with it? If I come up with anything interesting I’ll post about it.


 

So there you go, waffling over. Have a great year!