As a little kid growing up in the 1970s, 2018 seems like an unimaginable future. Moon bases and rocket ships. It didn't quite turn out the way 8-year-old Ronnie imagined. Some ways better. Some ways worse. I'm not sure my life turned out the way I imagined. Some ways better some. Some ways worse.
2017 was the year Thimbleweed Park came out. It was also the year a dipshit narcissistic asshole became president. I would gladly trade Thimbleweed Park for a mentally stable president. And so should you.
But enough reminiscing and fostering armed rebellion... it's on to 2018.
I've never been the kind of person that does New Year's Resolutions. Like 99% of all people, I just forget about them a month later and have now decided to be honest with myself and stop making them. So let's call these "goals" for 2018. It's also worth noting that these are just my professional and career goals. My personal goals are another whole can of worms that I won't be sharing on the damn internet.
Let's get going...
● Play more games
Yeah, I can't say enough about this one. I hardly play any video games. 2016-2017 were busy years for me, but deep down I know that is just an excuse. At the end of the workday, I'm burnt out and I just don't want to play games, they always feel more like work than relaxation. It's also really hard for me to play a game without deconstructing it and that saps a lot of the enjoyment away.
I did play Golf Story for many many hours until rage quitting (more on that in a future post). I quite enjoyed West of Loathing as well (no rage quitting). But besides a few mobile games to waste some time, I didn't really play anything else.
I hear from friends about all the games they played and I wonder "where do you find all the time?" Well, all that is going to change in 2018, and now that my blog is fully operational, I hope to write about what I'm playing. And I promise not to just bitch about them.
Then again... maybe I don't enjoy playing games. That's a terrifying thought.
● Do a Twitch steam
I've always wanted to do this. I doubt it will be a gameplay stream, I am way too quiet when playing games. When I watch Streamers, I marvel at how they can talk non-stop while playing. When I play games, I get very quiet and contemplative. I don't tend to "think out loud."
What I'd like to do is a programming Stream. I joked about adding floppy disk sounds to Thimbleweed Park when it's loading data, so my goal is to stream me implementing that. Streaming from a Mac is a little harder, but I'm sure I can figure it out.
● Give a talk
I really hate giving talks. It's not stage fright, it's more that I over prepare and end up spending months writing the talk and stressing about it. It's just not a good use of my time, so I tend to avoid it.
Also, when most people ask me to talk, it usually about Monkey Island or some retro topic. I really don't want to only be known as "the guy that created Monkey Island and made point-and-click games" and that's all anyone wants to hear me talk about. It would depress me greatly if that was actually the truth.
So my 2018 goal is to give a talk about a non-monkey-island-point-and-click topic. I have a talk in my head called "10 things I don't know." I think I'll give that one. Or maybe "It's not imposter syndrome, you actually suck at your job." Then there is "Don't get cocky kid, it's mostly luck."
I refuse to give a talk about Thimbleweed Park unless it's "Everything we fucked up in Thimbleweed Park." I'm sick and tired of survivor bias talks. GDC is filled with them.
OK, fine, this is why people only ask me to talk about Monkey Island.
● Blog often and stay off Twitter
It's been over a month since I've been on Twitter and it's been great. I highly recommend it. Like shedding any addiction, the first few weeks are hard, then it gets harder, then it gets better. Getting the Grumpy Gamer blog back up and running has been very therapeutic.
Being able to write about something in other than 140 (now 280) character angry shouts has been nice and I plan on doing a lot more long-form writing in 2018. Currently, hardly anyone comes here, so it might take some time to build back an audience and convince the kids that the entire internet isn't just Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Please pass the word and share any good posts. I might end up writing a Twitter bot that just posts links to my blog when it updates (that will reach a hell of a lot more people than RSS).
● Start working on a game
To be clear, my goal in 2018 is to start working on a game that will eventually ship. I am working on fun/relaxing prototypes that are helping to solidify various ideas in my head, but I doubt any of them will ever be finished. Thimbleweed Park was a huge grind and it's going to take me a while to come down from that.
This new game doesn't have to be my own game. Finding a small group in Seattle that could use my talents would also be fun. Working with other people in the same physical location would be a gust of fresh air.
I don't know if I'd Kickstart a new game either. Kickstarter was fun, but it's also feeding the hype/narcissism train like nothing I've ever seen. It almost demands it and one could say that it's good for promotion, and that's hard to argue with, but it can make you do crazy/stupid/unproductive things. The Thimbleweed Park Kickstarter turned out well (thank you Fortuna), but I do wonder if all that stress could have been put to better use.
Well, there you have it. My 2018.
Something I would like to hear from you on a talk would be where do you get the skill to start coding so easily. My impression is that you're brave enough to code a game engine seemingly without effort.
There is a indie game co-working space in Seattle, but it's a nasty 2 bus rides away. If it was closer, I'd go. But it's not just about being around "people", it's being around team members.
What about narrative games? 2017 saw some excellent ones like Night in the Woods, Tacoma, What Remains of Edith Finch and Tacoma.
Zak Phoenix McKracken
Also wanted to say: you may want to tweak the comment form style settings a bit for mobile. At least on my phone (Firefox on Android) the comment text boxes are quite small, and the input for the anti-spam question so much so that the question actually doesn't fit in when in vertical mode. Might even make sense to display the question outside of the input box itself on mobile?
I don't find playing narrative games relaxing, I just look at all the frustration stuff I think they did wrong, or endlessly look at what they did right and think about how to use it. Playing games is work for me. There is nothing I find relaxing about it. There have been a few exceptions, but they are few and far between.
> I would gladly trade Thimbleweed Park for a mentally stable president. And so should you.
Joke's on you! We actually have a rather nice president here. ;)
> Start working on a game
I like the sound of that.
Big Red Button
By the way, your team might have become very familiar with your TWP engine, which is an asset.
If the involvement of TWP backers turned out to be too time-consuming during the development process, backers should understand this fact during future crowd-sourcing projects.
I would gratefully back your next "own game" anyway, no matter how much the backers would get involved.
In your "If I Made Another Monkey Island" blog entry, you wrote:
Big Red Button
Actually, enjoying and discussing games is the most important basis for creating new great games.
However, I personally by far prefer RSS.
Dimitri Bitu de Araújo
Last year, you gave a little review about Rogue One. Care to review the Last Jedi?
Glad you linked over to your blog, I'll be keeping tabs with crappy RSS.
Also: RSS FTW!
Hail all spurners of Twitter! When I hear the verb "tweeted," I turn off the sound/walk out the room/turn up any handy music source such that whatever follows it is unheard. Tag it "Since 2017..." Like that guy named Jeff, "hostile crap-filled dumpster-fire of shit™" is officially my favourite new handle for Twitter.
The Mac isn't too tough to stream from. OBS is multiplatform and can simply capture a window or screen so you can stream straight from it. Best of luck! Happy 2018 :D
PS: RSS is love.
I know it's hard to start a new project, especially knowing the grind and stress that Thimbleweed Park produced. But a part of me wishes you make another one (yes, that's how much I loved and enjoyed TWP, thank you). So do what's cool, less stressful and productive for you. One step at a time and take it easy (but I still hope deep down you make another classic-styled game with Fox and Ferrari).
Here's to a good year.
P.S. Great you brought back the old Blog! Better than Twitter.
PABLO FRANCISCO GIOMMI
As an introvert person? 😀 What about developing a game in a virtual workspace?
I think you're confused as to what being an introvert is (and it's a common misconception). Introverts don't dislike people, we just have small groups of very close friends, not large groups. Being in an office and around people is fine. I just don't like being thrust into situations where there are lots of people I don't know. I've spent the last 4 years working in a virtual office with a team of 12+ people.
But isn't that the case if you go into a _new_ office? Or is there only a small "developer scene" in Seattle?
I still hope TWP will have an infinite tail, you guys totally deserve it to be a commercial success.
Yes, I would do it - if I would get paid for it... ;-)
The thing is I loved the game, that's why the ending pissed me off so much. It's one of the best experiences I've had with a game in years, up until the last 10% which seriously nearly ruined the entire experience for me.
I hope you write an actual story for the next game you make, not some contrived hackneyed b.s.