This post is somewhat obligatory (all the cool kids are doing it). But also therapeutic. 2013 was a crazy year for me, so here is part one of what has gone down.
There are more parts to come in this series.
A good start
At the end of 2012, when Colin and I had decided to work with together on Drifter - there was a possible opportunity to move to Canada. I think my mind blacked out a lot of stuff from then on, as a result of one of my biggest life goals sounding more than plausible. It was hard to focus on anything really!
Moved to Canada
To keep this post under ten thousand words I will keep it on point - January to March was a lot of waiting and hoping, with what evntually resulted in my wife and I boarding a plane in South Africa and landing 35 hours later in Canada, our new home, on the 8th of March.
It doesn't really hit you, for the longest time. I don't think that it has, yet.
Just over a week and a bit later I was boarding another plane, this time to GDC in San Francisco, on the 22 March for what would prove to be yet another jam packed 10 days of friendship, fun and making video games.
Showing Drifter to friends and press, and being with friends while they show their games to their friends and the press - is always a rewarding and refreshing experience. I was super charged and excited for what the year held for us ahead.
Transitioning across the world, even for someone as nomadic and as always-busy as myself, I still had a lot of times where I just couldn't focus, or would lose hours in thought. There are back-of-the-mind things that contribute to this like immigration, is a big one.
Despite our immigration being quite easy, comparitively - we still had to submit multiple times for our application to be accepted due to minor errors, missed deadlines, or incorrect payment amounts. These submissions take close to a month round trip, just to hear back that you did something incorrectly.
In the end though our application was successful and our permanent residency status is already in the pipeline.
According to our amazingly helpful and general great guy nomination officer, it should be processed between 8~10 months from when it was submitted and we will never have to worry about a visa for Canada again.
I paused, now, to process this sentence... I still can't really believe it.
Even though I miss my friends, and family from back home - the reality of the situation won't sink in.
In trying to make Drifter look as awesome as possible, I was stretching myself as an artist for the first time. I was throwing myself head first into art stuff I had no idea how to do. I spent countless hours just practicing things in the hope that I can produce something decent in the end.
I think it's working out ok, art wise. I am having an amazing time, learning an inordinate amount, and (this will come up repeatedly in the retrospective posts) owe a huge amount to Colin for allowing me the space to grow into it, and to spend the time to hone some new skills while working toward shipping another game.
I got a lot of stuff done for Drifter in the year, but not nearly as much as I wanted to.
The second annual seven day first person shooter challenge was according to us, a great success. As wildly as we planned and executed it, just as wildly did it exceed expectations. We always have a great time doing it, and look forward to 2014. Thanks to JW and SoS for organising another awesome year with me!
• #7dfps 2013 • 270 games submitted • 156 games marked finished • 884 posts made so far • 749 users signed up • 1043 comments made on site •— 7DFPS Challenge (@7dfps) August 18, 2013
I am honoured to be surrounded by the most amazing friends, on the Internet and in real life.
With these friends I was able to experience and was lucky to watch a good handful of them ship their long term projects to critical and financial success. Their hard times and good times and even harder times when releasing are invaluable insight for me, and I hugely respect them and their hard work, as well as the output they produced.
I am excessively happy to share a career and passions with these people, and to coexist in the same time frame, and even to sit at the same table with them is nothing short of living my dream (there seems to be a lot of that in 2013 for me, I know).
Thank you friends, for continually inspiring me to do greater things.
There were so many of these that I think it would make this post just too darn long. Instead, a shortlist of some of the more interesting ones, at least for me.
I never really could walk around a whole lot back home (due to large distances, having a car, or safety concerns), so being able to just wander around without looking at a map, with my camera and my eyes wide really opened up my experiences as a human.
I rode a bus as transport, by my own choice, for the first time.
I cycled a lot. Probably a hundred or more kilometers just taking in the city and surroundings (this was before I popped a tire, and got too busy to fix it before the cold settled in).
I experienced actual snow for the first time in my life. It's like, the best. I got one of these ambition snowskates and have been milling around the city just as much on foot. Shoveling snow is quite fun (especially when it is soft, and fluffy, and huge chunks are tossed large distances by a mere man and his shovel). I can see how snow can be annoying, it is invasive but I love it anyway.
2013 and counting
I just spent the night walking to the lake, watched a lot of fireworks for the start of a new year, and messed around in the snow (again). This, the day after my birthday, a few days after Christmas - If only I could articulate how I feel.
A year so packed with life changing occurrences, great friends, hard work, travel - and all of it spent with the only person I could have wished to experience it with.
Every day, I am so grateful.
Happy New Year