2014 - my gamedev retrospective

this was the year i decided to go all-in on one game a month, after an earlier half-hearted attempt, and many game jam “failures.”

i’d say this went pretty well, despite missing 3 of the 12 months of last year. that’s a .750 batting average, right? i actually made two games in february, which makes a year total of 10 games. i attempted many more, though—but due to either lack of time or motivation, i didn’t finish those (which makes my batting average much lower, i suppose :P).

breaking down the year in 3 categories, because why not: the technological, the social, and the inspirational.

the technological

despite the generally good advice that one should stick to familiar tools during a game jam, i find that game jams are excellent motivation to learn new languages, engines, or other tools. which i did. sometimes it resulted in me not actually finishing a jam (hence the aforementioned advice!), but since my goal is mainly to learn, i call it a win overall.

i have OPINIONS about the tools i tried out in 2014, which might be better saved for a separate post. here’s a quick summary, though:

the social

in 2013, i made a separate twitter account (@BearInATeaCup) for game development, but i didn’t use it much. in 2014, i started using it a LOT:

i met a bunch of awesome folks on twitter, including the epic youtuber Jupiter Hadley, who plays ALL the game jam gams. in fact, she and i collaborated to create the website and podcast indiegamejams.com. stay tuned, there’s more yet to come from us on that site!

from the twitter game dev community, i learned, i laughed, and i had my awareness raised. there are way too many cool people i’ve met to call out individually, but pretty much everyone i follow on twitter is amazing. if i connected with you in a positive way at all last year, i sincerely thank you. i could not have done this without you.

the inspirational

and finally, the most personal part:

at the start of 2014, i was in a creative rut. fighting walls and walls of creative blocks. i just couldn’t get it together. i kept getting that feeling that maybe i’d dried up for good: no more ideas, or inspiration, left at all. this seriously did not help with my depression.

2014 changed all that. thanks to game jams, and one game a month, i discovered that i do have a few ideas left up my sleeve, and even when i get stuck during a jam (which still happens), i am no longer afraid of being completely creatively bankrupt. i still got this. and this has helped my mood immensely. i am happiest when game devving.

notable jams and accomplishments

  • TOJAM: my first in-person jam. i’ve wanted to enter this game jam for years, but was always too intimidated. it was great to be around a WHOLE BUNCH of folks, in real life, jamming away.
  • TAGJAM 10 & 11: i wasn’t even going to enter tagjam 10, but Jupiter Hadley convinced me to. she helped me out with the artwork, and we won! which meant we hosted TAGJAM 11, the first game jam i’ve ever hosted.
  • the aforementioned indiegamejams.com, which other people seem to find useful! yay!

footnote: looking ahead

overall, from a game dev perspective, 2014 was pretty good for me. what are my plans for 2015? nothing set in stone, but vaguely, these are the directions i’m aiming at:

if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading! :)


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