State Of The Site 2020

It is time to reflect on the outgoing year of 2020 and set goals for 2021.

Let's do a quick recap of the goals I set for 2020:

1. 1 tutorial every week. This went well for a few weeks, and then I hardly even thought about it again. Which stinks for the people who were hoping for new tutorials. Alas, my focus for the year was the 4th Edition of _The C# Player's Guide_, which I'm still working through, even as the year ends. Little else got accomplished. That's hard to hear and to say, but it is the facts. So this was a total failure. [0.0/1.0]

2. 1 blog post every week. Once again, this fell apart as I got working on my book in earnest—another failure. I do have some scraps of blog posts that could be useful someday, but I don't see this as a huge priority right now and don't expect to pick up this goal again in 2021. [0.0/1.0].

3. 30 hours of game development every week. I initially set a goal of 1600 hours for the year, and I was able to stick with it. I fell 225 hours behind pace in May but recovered all that lost time and 200 extra hours more since then. The only downside is that none of it was in game development. It was all in book writing. (Though that has been gamified quite a bit in this new edition, which should count for something.) So the hour total was there but not in game dev as I had planned. I'm going to give myself a [0.7/1.0] for that.

4. At least 1 30-minute "round" every day. I didn't keep track, so I don't have good numbers to back me up here, but aside from a few stretches in the early part of the year, I really did a good job focusing on getting rounds in. I'm going to give myself [0.7/1.0] on that as well.

Let's look at the start of 2021. I don't plan on setting any hard and fast year-long goals. If I have learned anything from the last few years of goal setting, it is that a year is far too hard to see the big picture on. So while I have some tentative plans/hopes for all of 2021, the following are the objectives I want to accomplish in Q1 (January, February, and March) as well as the key results I plan on measuring them by.

1. Dedication Goal. My goal is to put 40 hours a week into my own personal projects so that they can flourish. Putting in the time is the one single thing I have (almost) complete control over.

  • Before the end of March 2021, track 1000 round points (500 hours). This keeps me on pace for hitting the 4000 goal I have tentatively set for the whole year.
  • Measure quality in addition to quantity. I have invented a rather complicated system for measuring the quality of round s that I complete. It comes down to two parts: (a) did I know what the focus of my time was supposed to be, and (b) was I doing the thing I focused on, something else useful but not what I said was most important, or (c) distracted with useless stuff. Each round I attempt is eventually given a color: blue for high focus, green for good focus, yellow for decent focus, and red for distracted.

2. Make $[REDACTED] in gross revenue on The C# Player's Guide, 4th Edition in March. This means the book has to actually be published before this point.

  • Publish the book before the end of February 2021. This gives me the most days in March to collect money, though I do hope this happens much earlier than the 28th.
  • Run at least one ad campaign to increase sales at launch. I have never done this before, and in theory, spending a little money to get people's attention is a good thing overall. I think I have a product that will stand out in the crowded market, so getting it in front of people could be an important step to make the overall goal happen. (And it is worth doing to learn its effect anyway.)

3. Be able to claim being a professional game developer by getting real practice making real games that are really distributed to real users. My focus right now is to focus on small but quality games that may serve as experiments or prototypes for a larger version later on. I tentatively want to publish 24 games in 2021, and this gets the ball rolling with some simple games and building the muscles of game dev.

  • Make my first dollar from a game as a professional developer. (Family does not count.)
  • Make and publish at least four prototype games before the end of February.
  • Make and publish at least four more prototype games before the end of March. This gets me to 8 total, and 1/3 of the way to the larger goal, allowing me to build larger games later in the year.
  • Make at least 20 reusable art assets (icons, graphics, 3D models, etc.) so that new games can be built faster.
  • Make at least 100 reusable, well-designed classes that are potentially reusable. The focus is on building things that will make Game #8 and #28 easier to do instead of just blasting through things without regard to internal quality.

4. Improve my game development (not just programming) skills.

  • Spend 15 minutes a day in 6 of 7 days reading a game development book and write down notes in the last minute of the time frame. The reading list is The Art of Game Design, Level Up!, and Game Programming Patterns in that order. (I don't think I'll get through all of those, but I have others if I do.)
  • Spend 20 minutes a day in 6 of 7 days practicing with Adobe Illustrator. I bought Adobe Creative Cloud a while back and have now gotten about as good with Illustrator as I ever was in Inkscape. But Illustrator is a much more powerful tool, and I want the drawing practice to keep getting better at art.

These goals are for just a single quarter, and I expect to be updating their status once a week. I don't know that this update will happen here on this page or elsewhere. I'll figure that out later…