State Of The Site 2019

With 2019 coming to a close, I feel like it is worth taking a few minutes to reflect back on how this site has evolved over the last few years (since my last State of the Site).

Let's take a look at what's been happening, and where things are going.


In 2017, we defined a schedule of competitions and collabs. We even stuck with it pretty well through much of 2017!

Competition #10—the Winter 2017 Competition—took place in February of 2017 and had 7 entrants.

Competition #11—the Spring 2017 Competition—took place in May/June of 2017 and had 8 entrants.

Competition #12—the Summer 2017 Competition—took place in August/September of 2017 and had 5 entrants.

Things fell apart for Competition #13. This was scheduled for December of 2017, and 5 people signed up. But I don't know that anybody really made any progress on a game.

There were no competitions that happened in 2018, but one was sort of started in April of 2019, and nothing every came of that either.

Ultimately, I'd say we're sort of in a hiatus as far as competitions go.

The interesting thing is that there is _plenty_ of interest in doing competitions, but (a) they're a lot of work to put together and (b) there's something about them that isn't especially effective. Nobody is _completing_ games during the competition (with a few notable but rare exceptions).


We're not all that different on the collab side.

Collab #7 happened on 6 May 2017, and we made an ASCII adventure game:


Collab #8 happened on 4 November 2017, and we made a word scramble game (like Word Cookie):

It was then well over a year before we did another collab.

Me and PiscesMike spent a day making a game in sort of an unofficial collab in the summer of 2019, but we just recently finished our last collab.

Collab #9 happened on 28 December 2019, and we made a clone of Indy 500:

Discord Chat

It was late 2016 when we moved chat from IRC to Discord, and we now have a community of about 200 people. (And for what it's worth, I frequently clean up people who haven't visited in the last month, so those are all active (at least as lurkers) people or recent people.

There are a lot of new people there, and it has been fun to have conversations with everybody and learn new things and (for me) teach things too.

Updates on 2017 Goals

I had outlined several goals for 2017 in the last State of the Site post.
It is interesting to look at what that entails now and see how we're fairing.

1: Formalization of the Dates for Competitions and Collabs

We did that! And for 2017, we actually stuck to the schedule pretty well. That hasn't been true in 2018 or 2019. 2018 was a pretty dead year, as far as these things go, but we've started to pick things up again in the second half of 2019.

2: Retrospective and Possible Shakeup of Competitions and Collabs

We did have these conversations, but the fact that people aren't generally getting completed stuff with the help of competitions and that we haven't done any in a while is good evidence it needs something more. The collabs, on the other hand, have served their purpose well, and as long as we keep having them, they're still good for us.

3: Explore an Art Track

We did this a little. We had some 3D modeling challenges. I've personally spent a fair bit of time learning Blender, and while I'm not an expert at it, it has become my choice for 3D modeling. (It's just so much more powerful than Wings ever was.)

There's certainly room for more of this in the future.

4: Return to Tutorial Writing

This was still largely non-existant for 2017 through 2019. I'm disappointed in that.

5: Explore a Game Analysis Group

This was an attempt to bring some element of focus to _game design_, and not just to _game programming_. (Similar to the "art track" stuff. We had some conversations about it, so we did "explore" it, but there wasn't much interest in this in early 2017. Maybe 2020 will be different?

6: Publish The C# Player's Guide, 3rd Edition

This definitely happened!

Publish Another Book

This definitely did not happen!

Publishing My First Game

Again… this didn't happen. Between the 3rd Edition of my book and everything else, plus getting a promotion and a lot more responsibility at work, and I found myself in a situation where I wasn't doing much game development at all.

That's perhaps changing now, but this goal didn't pan out. (Yet.)

Goals for 2020

Now that we've seen the past, let's look at the future.

I'm setting some somewhat smaller goals for myself this year, in the hopes that I can accomplish them.

I've long felt strongly that my goals need to be more about the process of achieving what I want than the specific targets that I want to hit.

To that end, I have the following three goals that I want to commit to publicly:

1. 1 tutorial every week. At least initially, this will not be writing them from scratch, but porting the XNA tutorials over to MonoGame. I actually resumed doing that work a few weeks back even.
2. 1 blog post every week. Where's my blog? you say? A good question! I'll have to figure that out. I've had several in the past that don't seem like a good fit for what I want going forward.
3. 30 hours of game development every week. In all honesty, this is quite a bit. I might revise the goal in the middle to lower it. (And I also reserve the option to split it and do 15 hours of game dev every week and 15 hours of book writing every week or something.) But what I won't do is change the goal mid-week.
4. At least 1 30 minute "round" every day. This helps prevent me from piling it all up until the end. The hope would be to get at least this much done in the morning before even going to work.

That 30 hour thing is the target, and in a week where I'm on vacation or something crazy is happening, I'll adjust it accordingly. If I do 2 hours every work day, then that leaves me with 10 hours on Saturday and Sunday. If I do 2.5 hours every work day, then that leaves me with under 9 on the weekend days. If I do 3 every work day, then that's only 7.5 on the weekends, which is definitely doable. (If I get home from work at a decent time, I've sometimes gotten in 4 or 5 hours in a weekday. That doesn't happen all that often, and it is just as often when I need to work late and can't get even 2 or 3 hours in.)

What this amounts to is that hopefully this is the beginnings of lots of new content from me. That is what I'm really trying to commit myself to.