I'm excited to write about my plans for 2019 because they represent the most significant changes in my life and career since switching to web development many years ago.
Let's start with a short highlight retrospective on 2018 and then I'll talk about my plans for 2019.🙂
Overall, 2018 was a great year for my career. I joined Qualtrax as a full-stack Senior Software Engineer in March (my first remote position!). Shortly after being hired I was given the opportunity to start a new front-end team to build our new UI in React. After months of design reviews, user feedback sessions, and implementation, we wrapped up the first major UI change the product has seen in years. I was very excited for that moment. 🎉
I decided to learn Japanese, and I'm glad I did. I spend time each morning reviewing and discovering new aspects of the language. I still have a long way to go, but I'm excited to continue learning Katakana.
After adding more projects and goals throughout 2018, I realized that my routine needed to change to accomplish more. I documented this routine change here. The impact of this change was incredible, and I plan to continue this routine in 2019.
Fast forward to a vacation day in the last quarter of 2018, as I played the original Super Mario Bros. on my NES Classic, I realized that over my career I missed the purpose of why I started programming in the first place.
You see, I did not start programming because someone wanted me to make a website/app or because I wanted to get into the tech industry. I studied programming in high school merely as a means to create what I actually cared about: a game. I realized I needed to return to game development and it was this moment that led me to plan the rest of 2018 and on into 2019.
My primary goal is to become an active member of the game development community. There are many aspects I want to cover to accomplish this.
While I do follow the gaming industry in general, it's mostly just the highlights. Now is the time for me to surround myself in the industry with all the resources available. I've created a reading list of books filled with stories about the past and present and how the industry works overall. I'll be doing the same for online resources as well.
- Follow people in the industry (social media, blogs, podcasts, etc.)
- Meetups (more on this below)
- Blog about Game Dev Topics.
- Make some new friends 🙂
- I'm going to create many games throughout the year. As part of my daily programming practice, I'm going to work primarily on small games instead of console projects.
- Creating more games means more opportunity to practice art.🎨
I will continue to teach and help students as I did in 2018, but this year I'll be focusing on the topic of game development. Be on the lookout for my game dev tutorials here on dev.to. 🙂
I believe it's important for game developers to dedicate time to playing games. You might think that would be an obvious thing to do, but the truth is many game developers don't play games as often as you'd expect.
I plan on streaming gameplay on Twitch, and I hope to build a community there to join me weekly. If you're interested in a mix of modern and retro gaming, why not follow?
Finally, I have one major goal to talk about, and that is starting a local meetup near Raleigh/Durham, NC with a very well known developer that I won't mention just yet. If I can get everyone on board, I believe this will be an incredible opportunity to bring excitement to our local game dev community.
I'd love to hear your feedback! As you can probably tell, I'm genuinely stoked for 2019! Let's start a discussion: are you planning to get into game dev this year? Or are you already planning/working on your next game? Tell us about it!