A look back at 2017

I didn’t write much in 2017. That’s the first thing that jumped out at me when I went to write this post. I knew I had been a bit neglectful of this blog over the past year, but I didn’t realise that all I had contributed since the beginning of 2017 was three game reviews!

So let’s just go ahead and lay out my first goal for 2018 – write more! One article a month isn’t exactly a mammoth task surely? I’m getting ahead of myself – setting goals for the coming year is for the end of this post, not the start!

So, how was 2017? Well, not unlike 2016, it’s hardly going to go down in history as one of the better years of recent times. However, personally, it was a pretty wonderful year. Admittedly, I didn’t hit all of the goals I had set out at the beginning of the year, but in my defense, I had a pretty good reason for this (more on that in a bit). Let’s have a look at what those goals were, and how I did:

-Get a job. Status: Success! After a pretty awful start to the year spent job-hunting and gradually becoming more and more down about finding one, I got an offer in March and started in April.

-Buy a house. Status: Making good progress. I still haven’t bought a house, but I’ve now got a deposit saved and mortgage approval from the bank, so now it’s just a matter of finding the right place.

-Take part in at least two game jams. Status: Half-fail! I took part in one – Ludum Dare 40 – in December. It was great, and I’m pretty happy with what I made. There will be a full write-up on that coming soon.

-Various fitness/strength goals. Status: Making good progress. I didn’t specify what these were in last year’s post; however I do have some specific goals. They are mostly around strength as weight training is what I enjoy the most. For reasons I’m going to get into below, I didn’t quite hit them in 2017; however I’m very, very close, and should hit them this year.

-Reading challenge. Status: FAIL. The monthly book club plan fell by the wayside quite early on in the year unfortunately. I don’t actually remember why. I ended up not reading nearly as much as I’d have liked to in 2017 – I do plan on rectifying this in 2018 but I’m not going to set any specific reading goals.

-Complete the Unity course I bought. Status: FAIL. Oops. I sort of forgot all about this…

What is this ‘pretty good reason’ I’ve mentioned for not hitting some of my 2017 goals? Well, in September, I got married! It was as perfect a day as I could have hoped for and the whole time between the wedding day and the end of the honeymoon were some of the best weeks of my life. Here’s a picture (yes, it was that small – 12 guests total – and it was absolutely amazing!):

But, of course, this meant that from January through to September, a huge portion of my free time was spent planning everything. As a result, I had to skip quite a few game jams that I’d have loved to have participated in. The other thing was that I had to slow down on my strength goals – in order to have hit them, I would have needed to gain weight and I wanted to avoid this until after the wedding – I had a suit to fit into and also wanted to look as lean as possible for the photos! Now that the wedding is over, I can up my calorie intake and hopefully put on a bit of muscle and hit my goals this year.

I’ve enjoyed writing these posts the last few Januaries. I find that putting my goals for the year into writing helps me focus on them more. And even if I don’t fully achieve them, I’ve felt that for the past couple of years, I’ve genuinely tried, and stuck with them throughout each year.

My goals for 2018 are pretty straightforward:

  1. Buy a house. Carrying this one over from last year; I’m hoping to have this one complete pretty soon!
  2. Complete a course that gives me a recognised accreditation in my field – this is something I’m going to be doing through work soon, but I figure it’s a good one to put down here too.
  3. Hit my strength goals. Provided I’m consistent with my training and diet (and careful to avoid injury), I should hopefully hit these pretty soon.
  4. Take part in at least two game jams. Again, carrying this one over from last year – without a wedding to plan I should hopefully have a few free weekends free this year!
  5. Update this website. I’ve been meaning to do this for ages – I’m not happy with the layout and look of it, and there are all sorts of issues.

The last thing I want to talk about is game development. I didn’t devote nearly enough time to it in 2017, and I want this to change in 2018. I did finish and release a couple of small projects last year, but it’s been a while since I’ve really felt the drive to make something. I felt it somewhat during Ludum Dare 40, and want to try and recapture that feeling with some bigger projects. So this year, I’m going to devote more time to it – prototyping, finishing old projects, putting stuff out there on a regular basis for things like #screenshotsaturday on Twitter, etc. With anything creative, there’s usually no point just sitting around waiting for inspiration. It doesn’t really work like that. Sometimes you just need to put your head down and produce SOMETHING. So that’s what I’m going to do!

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m going to post a write-up on my experience with Ludum Dare 40 soon; after that, we’ll see! Happy New Year, everybody – I hope it’s a great one.

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