2019 Retrospective
Wed, 01 Jan 2020 21:58:32 +0000

Happy new year 2020!!!

I should have written this in 2019, but I guess it's also good to start 2020 with a retrospective of 2019.

Achievements

Work

We got acquired in July and unfortunately most of the development team was made redundant, since we stopped the development of our main products. But I was fortunate to stay and I wrote a plugin for a draping simulation program. Details here: EcoShot beta. We'll see in the new year how the product evolves, but I learned many things (see Power Up section).

I've been using at work the WebGL Model Viewer I open-sourced in 2014 (the first version is in webGL-tests), so I've added some interesting functionality to it. The most recent one is just from the 31st of December 😃, a shader to visualize the intersecting volumes of a mesh: Self intersections (pull-request). You can test the Model Viewer here: WebGL Model Viewer.

Technical blog articles

I haven't written much this year, but I think wrote some interesting stuff:

Indie development

I added some AR functionality to VidEngine, and I was creating an AR app with it, but unfortunately I didn't finish it. At some point in summer, I paused its development to start creating a new game,

Syllabits

Syllabits is an English word puzzle game. It's basically the same as the Spanish word puzzle game Silabitas, which I released in 2016. I spent some time to update the art and I tried to improve the tutorials. I was moderately successful because the game made it to the "New games we love" list in Apple App Store in the UK. It was 4th in the list, and approximately 6 million people saw the banner. The conversion wasn't great, and only about 200 people downloaded it. However, that's quite an achievement for me, since I earned more with that game than in the 6 years I've been in the App Store combined.

Apart from Syllabits, I released some small updates to other of my games and apps:

Another rewarding thing was that I got contacted by a professor in San Francisco that had found my State Machine web app and he wanted to thank me because he was using to help teach coding to impaired students. 😊

Power up

Between work and my indie development, I practiced mostly 4 programming languages,

  • Python. I've never been very fond of Python, but it was the quickest and most maintainable way to create the plugin I'm working on at work. So from almost 0 Python I've gone to use it daily.
  • Swift. I keep using it for my indie projects. I've been updating my projects to the latest Swift, so I think I'm up to date.
  • C++. C++ is still a big part of our core technology at work, so I keep using it. I did some interesting progress with cmake and got some of our stuff even working on macOS.
  • Javascript. Mainly for the WebGL Model Viewer, and some node.js scripts.

I also learned new things about character animation, skinning, and even draping. Just small details, a window to the world of difficult math problems. As always, I feel I know nothing... But any small progress is still progress.

Also, this year I attended the 3DBody.Tech conference in Lugano. Lots of interesting talks and I met some nice people there.

I haven't read much this year, but I practiced reading some Japanese through Uramiya Honpo. I read the 2nd series this year, and I'm about to finish the 3rd series now, Uramiya Honpo REBOOT.

I think I did a bit more cooking this year. I managed to prepare a decent zarzuela, a quite moist pumpkin bread (which I repeated a couple of times with carrot), and even custard pudding with castella sponge cake. I made myself many treats during summer as well, like vanilla floats on matcha, or matcha rolls, and the home classic custard and chocolate maria cake.

Power down

Time is limited, so you can't focus on everything... Here are some things I haven't practiced much (or at all... 😅):

Fun

Unfortunately, I couldn't visit Japan this year. But I managed to do many short trips around Europe instead:

  • Barcelona. I visited my family in January, April, June, September, and December 😍
  • Iceland. I had never been to Iceland before. All my connection to Iceland was through Björk 🙈 But we visited it twice this year! In January and September. We wanted to see the aurora, the northern lights, but failed in January. We managed to see them quite subtly in September, but it's better than nothing. Here's a humorous video of the January trip to Iceland: Iceland "documentary"
  • Paris. We went in June and attended the Paris Air Show
  • Berlin. We attended the gay pride 🏳️‍🌈 in July.
  • Budapest. We visited some friends in August.
  • Basque Country. We visited San Sebastian and Bilbao in September.
  • Lugano. I went there for the 3dbody.tech only, so we couldn't do any sightseeing, but at least we did a short walk around the lake.

I found some time to play games as well. I cleared God of War on PS4 (video review), and Final Fantasy XIII-3 (Lightning Returns) on PS3 (video review). I also started Death Stranding, but I haven't cleared it yet (our TV died on X'mas eve 😭).

On mobile, I cleared a cute puzzle game called Telepaint. Apart from the nice puzzles, the graphics are very cute and the music is quite nice.

Not sure what music I would recommend this year. I'm quite hooked at Death Stranding soundtrack at the moment, which won the Best Soundtrack award at the Game Awards. Check BB's theme, and also Chvrches' Death Stranding. I think the best videoclip for me goes to Rosalia's Bagdad (although it's from December 2018, but I discovered it in 2019).

I haven't watched many movies this year. The most entertaining one was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. I know it has many negative reviews, but I enjoyed it.

And my most visited blog post in my Spanish otaku blog is a list I made with the best Japanese music of the Heisei era, one per year, to commemorate the end of the Heisei era in Japan: Best J-Pop Era Heisei. I made a couple of playlists in Youtube: Focotaku Heisei Best J-Pop, and Focotaku Heisei Best J-Pop Side-B.

And that's all!

Happy new year everyone! Thanks for reading! ❤️


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