2019 In review
2019 has been the fastest year I can think of. It's been a non-stop flurry of work, projects, travel, games, fun, not fun, planning, and introspection.
In 2018 I felt like I was spinning my tires. This year I felt the traction finally engage, and I think next year will be full speed ahead! So much has happened this year, I'm not sure how I'm going to get it all down in this post, but I will try and break it down by category.
Game Development: rough year, will be cutting back
BRACE Design: not a lot to show again, but huge progress made. Big release start of 2020!
Projects: I started a YouTube channel and I'm fairly entertained by it. Lots of big ideas.
Other: I traveled a shit ton this year which was thought provoking and made life difficult.
The year started out good for game development, with the design momentum of Lightbird carrying forward. During this time, Ludum Dare 44 happened, and I made "The Circle of Life-Defense," a small tower defense game against hordes of zombies. This little game did pretty well, coming in 86th in the FUN category, and ranking in the 100-200 range for all other categories. People overall had positive opinions towards it.
Unfortunately, the REAL game I was working on, Lightbird, was released shortly after and quickly faded into the background: a beautiful failure. As of this writing, (half a year later) it has just barely made 50 downloads. I've learned a lot from Lightbird (maybe I'll write up a postmortem for it) and it's given me a lot to think about regarding game design, and the future of my game design hobby. Long story short, I will be spending a lot less time developing computer games, and a lot of projects I want to do regarding them will be shelved indefinitely.
BRACE Design is finally ready to launch it's flagship bracelet. With dozens and dozens of failed prototypes, switching manufacturers multiple times, manufacturing defects, tolerance issues, redesigns, expenses, lots of learning... the BRACE Mk I will finally be unveiled at the start of 2020, and BRACE will finally be where I wanted it to be back in 2017.
But it get's even better!
Along the way, I've partnered up with my sister and we have successfully produced a secondary line that has been doing very well, especially for how small of a scale our operation is. Her connections and keen eye have been invaluable assets in making this happen.
Secondly, BRACE design will be revealing a lot more in 2020, thanks to a couple big mental recalibrations this year. The first production runs are underway, so stay tuned for that!
This year I decided that it would be entertaining to start a YouTube channel and to start documenting some of my projects. It's been slow figuring out filming and lighting, so the first couple videos have been pretty rough, but it's getting better! I've been having a lot of fun with my current "artisan tool" build projects, which will carry on into next year, and I've got a lot of cool ideas coming up as well!
Along with that, I decided to get back into my old industrial and graphic design hobbies and play around with some ideas. I've got some new drawing tools as well which makes everything more fun, and it's fun to see how those tools impact your drawing styles. I'll periodically be posting these on Instagram and twitter.
I've almost travelled more this year for work than I have the rest of my career combined. Due to a friend leaving the company, I was "promoted" to fill in a large portion of his tasks, some of which require travel. Unrelated to that, we've had a record breaking year at the company, so we've been incredibly slammed (we made our annual sales quota by February, and the rest piled on top). With multiple trips to Utah, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Illinois, Montana, Alabama, Arizona, Texas, and Mexico, not to mention half a dozen personal trips thrown in there as well, It's been hit and miss getting into a good rhythm with any regular schedule, which slows down everything!
All this has given me a lot to think about. Where I've been. Where I'm going. Where I think I want to be. I've had a couple big realizations this year that have frankly made me pretty scared, and so far I'm not courageous enough for the solutions I've thought of. I also had a mental breakdown this year and I'm thankful for those that helped me through it, even though few really know it happened. Unfortunately, I really don't have any answers to my questions, but I think I'm formulating a decent game plan for my trajectory correction. I feel like good things are just around the corner in 2020, even though I can't see them yet.
Positive vibes everyone, and have a happy New Year!