I've had a pretty quiet Christmas break, mainly spending time with family in Melbourne. It turned out to be not hot at all. The weather was quite chilly on Christmas Day which was most disconcertining; I'm used to an annoyingly hot Christmas/New Year week. Unfortunately the other Aussie Christmas pasttime of following the cricket has been a bit of a downer with the English not being much good at all; I prefer a closely fought contest that the Aussies closely but valiantly win rather than this English wash-out nonsense.
I've also had a chance to try out my brother's Nintendo Wii console, and it seems like a nice little system. Unfortunately one of the Wii remotes malfunctioned just before I arrived (first piece of Nintendo hardware I've seen fail, hope it's not a bad sign), so we were stuck with single player games until I recently tracked down a replacement. I can see this being a good entertainment system, especially for a quick game of something as a break from work as the control motions are vastly different from typing. However the games seem to live or die on how well the developers can handle the new control system; Wii Sports is extremely good, but a few of the mini-games I've seen in other games (Rayman's Raving Rabbids, Monkey Ball Banana Blitz) are crap due to rubbish control. I was also lucky enough to be almost given a Wii console for Christmas. Unfortunately it seems to be out of stock everywhere around here and the next shipment doesn't come in until mid January, so I've got one as a gift on order. Given I'll be back in Canberra for the next couple of months it'll be a birthday present, but I'm patient enough to wait.
Game Dev in 2007
Now it's 2007, I have to start winding up my mental springs to get into productive mode. I haven't got very far in my original plan for writing game designs over the break, however that's not a huge loss as I doubt I'll be commencing any large projects for at least a few months.
As part of my general New Year's Resolution to attempt to become a better person, i.e. get in better shape, work/study harder, be nicer to people etc., I'm going to attempt to take my game development hobby a bit more seriously. I'm not going to aim to go commercial this year until I'm far more comfortable with developing games, so I'm going to attempt to fix my biggest failing of 2006 game dev by becoming more productive; attempting to stick with my hobby through a tough study year by organising myself and producing results.
I'll need to spend a bit more time getting my head into gear back in Canberra, but as far as I can see I'm going to go for the following objectives early in 2007:
- Develop a productive routine: Not something I'm particularly good at, as the many approaches I tried last year proved. But it's something I'll need to do as 2007 will be a hectic year of postgrad research, and I don't want my game dev to get swallowed by the work.
- Release a few games: I'm aiming for at least three games finished in 2007 (Ice Slider being the first). They may be small but they'll be as finished as I can make them.
- Develop my own 2D game development libraries: The software architect in me compels me to make a nice set of reusable software components that I can use in my 2D games. I've been pondering design issues over this holiday week, but I've concluded that my object oriented design, C++ and OpenGL skills are too incomplete at the moment to make a complete design on paper. Instead I will experiment with a few tech demos and build up a neat set of code that way. Hopefully once Ice Slider is finished I can decide what game idea I'll build next by what functionality I have in my library.
I'm hoping that if I can get myself in order in January then I can continue throughout the rest of the year at a productive pace. Hopefully if I can get to grips with planning I can move to more complex games later on in the year.