At the end of each year, I reflect on all of the projects that I worked on and document them in a blog post. It is a very cathartic process that reminds me of how much I actually did, and gets me excited for what the new year holds. 2021 felt like a less productive year than usual, specifically from a game design perspective, but putting this post together reminded me of how many other things I accomplished, which is sometimes exactly the encouragement I need to find motivation for new projects. Hopefully it is somewhat interesting for others to see as well!
While releasing AlphaNoodles (the word puzzle app that my brother and I are developing under our Bullet Squid brand) was my “top priority” this year, in reality it didn’t get as much attention as I would have liked. There are many reasons for this, several of which are covered in this post. That said, we are truly on the brink of releasing the game this year, and I did close out 2021 by putting together a release trailer:
Old Game Playthroughs
At the end of 2020, I started the somewhat daunting project of recording video playthroughs of all of the video games that my brother and I have made ever since we learned to program back in middle school. The goal was primarily to preserve the memories of those games since most of them won’t be playable as time marches on, and I successfully finished recording almost 50 videos that can be found in this master playlist:
Ludo Lodge Videos
In 2020, I started a YouTube channel focused on creating video content for game designers, and grew to almost 1000 subscribers by the end of the year. In 2021, I nearly doubled that growth as I now have nearly 3000 subscribers to the channel. It has been rewarding to see all the positive feedback and how appreciative people have been for the resources I have created, and in total I posted 13 new videos to the channel in 2021:
- How to Make Custom Counter Tokens in Tabletop Simulator
- How to Add Icons in nanDECK
- Tabletop Simulator Custom Counter Tokens - Code Walkthrough
- Top 5 Games That Inspired Me as a Designer in 2020
- Preventing the Alpha Gamer Problem - Is It the Designer's Responsibility?
- How to Use Atom Text Editor with Tabletop Simulator
- How to Make Tiles in nanDECK
- Action Sharing in Marvel United (Mechanism Spotlight)
- Board Game Design Advice Book Review (2nd Edition)
- Overlapping Card Combinations in Tichu (Mechanism Spotlight)
- How to Trigger Code in Other Objects in Tabletop Simulator
- Notion for Game Designers | Best Tool for Organizing Projects?
- Notion for Game Designers | Full Template Walkthrough
Personal Blog Posts
Each year I try to share my “favorites” across different mediums on my personal blog. In 2021, I ended up with 9 new blog posts:
- Creative Year in Review – 2020
- My Favorite Movies Watched Since Last Year – 2021
- My Favorite "New to Me" Albums Since Last Year - 2021
- My Top 50 Board Games (2021) - #50-41
- My Top 50 Board Games (2021) - #40-31
- My Top 50 Board Games (2021) - #30-21
- My Top 50 Board Games (2021) - #20-11
- My Top 50 Board Games (2021) - #10-1
- My Favorite Books Read Since Last Year – 2021
Hamilton Piano Medley
I haven’t been playing piano as much as I have in the past, but I still did record one new piece in 2021. Recording and posting these videos is really just a good way to challenge myself to polish a piece and then keep a record of it for posterity. But it can also be encouraging to look back at old videos and go, “hey, I actually did that!”
My wife and I have lived in our “new” house for almost 2 years now, and one idea we had for decorating certain spots was to build papercraft models. We started with the very challenging “statue of David” in 2020, but this year we completed an elephant bust for the center of the decorative shelf in our main living room. It is mostly a matter of carefully following the instructions as we cut, fold, and glue the model, but it still is a fun creative touch to add into our house.
Art Studio Renovation
No doubt, one of the biggest things that ate up extra time this year was coordinating the renovation of my wife’s home art studio. From the time we bought our house, we knew that we would be renovating the two spaces off the sides of our garage to be a studio/workshop space for my wife’s art business. 2021 was the year that we really attacked the project, and while most of the work was done by contractors, there was still a lot of planning, coordinating, and research that claimed many hours over the course of the year. It will be awesome to have a dedicated creative space that we take advantage of for many years! My wife did a great job of documenting the process on her YouTube channel, so you can see all the details in the playlist below:
2021 is in the books... here’s to a great 2022!