Since I was dealing with the computer problem yesterday, I didn't post as much about the year ahead as I was planning to yesterday. I've put aside these next few days for planning the year ahead, so I'll make a few review-like posts over the next few days. It's often good to think through your word processor.
Overall, I thought 2005 went reasonably well as far as game development was concerned. As can be seen if you skim through my journal entries, I quickly went from an overambitious dreamer to a more focused approach that's close to the right mindset that I think is required for indie game development. There's still a large amount of room for improvements however; I'm nowhere near there yet. 2006 is also where things start getting a bit serious; my Ph.D. work will really pick up this year, and I have to start thinking about what I'll be doing after I finish my thesis. This means I can't just muddle through with my usual style of disorganised daydreaming instead of planning and working.
The three skills that I think I need the most are self-confidence, planning and business ability. Lack of self-confidence and thinking that you aren't good enough to make games has been a major reason why it's taken me so long to attempt this. My lack of planning and organisation ability is severe, and while that's not such a negative trait in academia (disorganisation is epidemic in research [smile]) it's a big problem for working on a game project. I also know very little about all areas of business. I've got to become more confident, less risk adverse, and more pro-active towards game development.
Although I haven't got very far into the planning yet, the present strategy I'm going for is to "learn by doing". I think that if I have a game that I'm working towards, then learning the skills I need to create that game will be easier. I also think this is best way to go about my first sellable game; while I'll definitely do some preparation work before hand I'll have to learn a lot about indie development by experiencing it. Of course, this means that my first game probably won't do very well, but I'm prepared to accept that if it means I learn the skills to make the second game go better, the third game break even, and I finally get people's attention with the fourth game.
What I will need to do soon is decide on what type of game I wish to work on for the next few months. I'll post more on the games soon.