2017 Year In Review - #1GAM Completion and 2018 goals!

- I updated my site to reflect a lot of the games I completed this year! Please check it out here!
- Please stay tuned for a quick video showing all the awesome work I've done, let's call it a 2017 demo reel!
- If you haven't checked them out yet (and haven't clicked my website) please try some of my games I've made (especially if you have android):
Kitty City ShatterGem  |   Dig Diggity   |   Theteorite

Now - onto the post!
This year has been full of trials, tribulations, and growth. I'm glad I kept tabs on what I wanted this year and attempted to follow through. There's always room for improvement, so this coming 2018 I will work even harder to reach my goals!!!

I wrote this one year ago... time for a new cheat sheet!!

2017 in review
At the close of 2016 - around this time last year - I was in a state where I felt both empowered and powerless at the same time. "What is it that you want to do with yourself?" and "What is it that is stopping you?" floated in my mind at the same time, like fighting fish trapped in the same fishbowl. I decided, then, that this inner conflict was significantly worse than taking action (and potentially failing to meet my goals and expectations) - so I made a pledge. A pledge to focus on a very simple, easy to remember success metric that would help me with my most pressing goals. It was the start of what I called "111".

111 was my personal goal, moreso a goal marker. Think football - each play iterates over 10 yards (1st down) in an attempt to reach the end of the field. 111 was my monthly 1st down, with 3 main goals:
001 Game Completed Each Month
010 Pounds Lost Each Month
100 Dollars Earned Through Hobbies Each Month

What I thought was quite simple turned out to be quite difficult. I managed to complete an average of 1 game a month through sheer luck (some months there was the opportunity to work in a group jam as well as a solo jam)... I can't say that my abilities of time-management and careful game design as to not allow scope creep *saved* me. I simply had the ability to meet the goal, the luck to have the occassional willing friend to collab with, and also the love of creating games that drove my success.

Personal Goals Achieved
While tangential to the main focus of this blog, I failed almost spectacularly at the other two goals. As lofty as they were, it still feels painful to not meet my own expectations. 10 pounds a month is quite unreasonable, if not completely unhealthy to lose 120 lbs in one year. I set instead my goal weight for the year to be the upper bound of "healthy" weight for someone my height, which at the time was 70 lbs away. It's great to see that I lost nearly 66% of the weight that I planned on losing, but not hitting the healthy weight benchmark is disappointing.

Also, let it be known that I net a grand total of $0 from hobby ventures (games that went to full release like Dig Diggity and ShatterGem, as well as Youtube, website management and consultant work... that never came) and in fact likely spent more to facilitate those venture than I would have any other year. That being said, I did not lose my full time job, so mild success? Two games brought to production, as well as the experience of producing full games. Regardless, let's move back to the topic at hand, which is development of indie games as hobby and profession...

State of Indie Games and Jams
As a mere neophyte I have no right to comment on the state of indie games as a whole, but as a participant I think I have a fairly clear view that is worth sharing. It is no secret that as the accessibility of tools for making games increases, the market gets saturated, and an iceburg effect occurs. This means that the Undertales, Stardew Valleys, No Man's Skys, and Doki Doki Literature Clubs stand out as representative of an enormous number of games left undiscovered, sometimes completely unpolished, but usually just underappreciated. This doesn't make the climate for indie game designers look favorable at all.

The rise of the Jam, though, brings some amount of hope and promise back. Games are showcased amongst peers with the same aspirations. This leads to more exposure, thoughtful criticism, and motivation. My best moments were discovered developing A) in teams and B) for a weekend-long game jam. That is not to say that #1GAM is a fruitless exercise, but is rather more of a stopgap for motivation best brought forth in quick spurts.

That being said #1GAM has provided me with a macro-level guideline this year... even if I did not make a clean 1 game per month, I did find the desire to make games even when it waned, and the monthly checklist provides both impetus and satisfaction upon completion! Will I do #1GAM next year? Likely not. But my skills have greatly improved due to it, and I would never trade off the time spent in 2017 making fun little games!

If you'd like, check out my 2017 Games here!

2018 Goals
Taking what I learned in 2017 and crafting my goals for 2018 is the first step towards another fruitful year. 2017 had me learning to perform in spurts towards encapsulated game projects with little follow up outside of a short post mortem. In 2018, outside of the occassional game Jam (looking at you, Globa Game Jam 2018) I want to put my entire focus on a single game idea. Luckily, during my year of game jams, I've had the time to think about many game ideas that were just too large a scope to complete in a week or a month. One such game idea I would consider my opus. So, I'll focus on that! Stay tuned for it :)

That is not to say that my other personal goals are going to the wayside. I will continue to maintain healthy diet and exercise as well. But my desire to make $$$ as a designer of indie games will have to wait another year. I want to produce a game that I find fun, engaging, thought-provoking, and most of all polished!

With love from 2017

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