2023 Retrospective

David Stark / Zarkonnen
31 Dec 2023, 12:57 p.m.

So what have I been up to in 2023?

Elephant in the room: I had a heart attack early in the year, probably a consequence of the covid I had last year. I thought it was heartburn first, before I noticed that my elbow and jaw were hurting.

Heart attack advice: You might not have any pain in your arm. Especially if you're a woman, you may have jaw pain instead. Call an ambulance, take an aspirin, and relax.

On the plus side, they were able to find the problem pretty swiftly and insert two stents to fix up my heart. Checkups since have shown no permanent damage or loss of function, so that's good. So now I just need to eat a lot of pills for a while.

I wish I could say that my health has been good otherwise, but it really hasn't. Every time I get sick, I get weeks of nausea and tiredness afterwards. I'm not sure if I'm getting more covid - I'm certainly trying not to - or if this is just how my body reacts to other illnesses thanks to post-covid effects.

At this point I'd also like to extend a hearty fuck you to any covid denialists and minimisers out there. Here in Switzerland, the prevailing mood is that the pandemic is over and that we are moving on. But of course it's not over. It's not killing as many people anymore, but it's still crippling plenty of them.

Anyway, moving on to happier topics, what else did I do?

I went to Tampere, Finland to take care of a stranger's cats for a week and stomp around in the snow. Tampere library is very nice! I also took a day trip to Helsinki to meet up with an old friend and give a talk on using JavaScript for game prototyping.

I continued organising lots of events for Swiss Game Hub, our coworking space and incubator for game devs in Zurich. Including making decorations for a really cool Halloween party. I also helped apply for a massive new office space, which we'll be moving into next year. SGH is going to be a major thing now!

I finished Airships: Heroes and Villains, a DLC for Airships: Conquer the Skies that adds captains and governors with special abilities. It was really well-received, and I'm personally very happy with what it adds to the game.

Since then I've been making a lot of prototypes and jam games, working to figure out what I want to make next. I now have a lot of options to choose from, which is a nice place to be in. I've also been trying out different game engines and frameworks, especially Godot and MonoGame.

Godot is pretty nice, but I'm just not used to working with game engines. I find all this GUI stuff and all these baked-in assumptions about structure frustrating. MonoGame suits me better, because it's at a similar abstraction level to what I was working with with Airships. It does have some rough edges and gotchas, but I'm figuring it out as I go.

The prototypes I'm working on are still under wraps, but here's the jam games I made this year, all of which are playable online.

A sailing and trading game I made in a day for a jam at Swiss Game Hub.

We had a meetup about sex in games, and so I felt I should make a game with sex in as preparation. I also used it as an opportunity to get into Godot 4.

I once again participated in Secret Santa Jam. This time, I actually finished on time, creating a small brawler/platformer game about the quasi-historical Saint Nicholas.

Beyond games, I've picked up pottery as a hobby, doing coil technique, which is a way to make pottery without a wheel. I'm just starting out, but I'm enjoying it. There's a lot to geek out about in terms of clays, techniques, glazes, and more.

Oh, and due to the ongoing Twitter garbage fire, I've switched to Mastodon. You should join Mastodon and follow me there. It's not as scary or technical as you may have heard, and it's not run by some utterly insane tech CEO.

That's all for now! Right now, I am happy to be alive, very happy to be with my lovely partners, and excited about all the things I'll be doing and making next year.