2018 Retrospective
Sun, 30 Dec 2018 21:18:27 +0000

Achievements

This year I spent some time investigating color and writing about it in a series of blog posts:

I also got contacted by a guy who was writing a blog post at Medium and wanted some help with display-P3. I reviewed his post and gave him some advice. Here's his final post: Hello Triangle, Meet Swift! (And Wide Color)

My investigations culminated in some code for my research Metal-based rendering engine, VidEngine, and a small app for iOS to generate sRGB and display-P3 color palettes: Palettist. (Hashtag: #Palettist)

Apart from that app, though, I haven't released many things this year, though. Mostly updates,

  • Complex Feelings: small functionality update (#ComplexFeelings #SomosSentimientos #モヤモヤ診断);
  • Coloroscope: support for all devices & orientations, including iPhoneX, landscape mode, and split screen on iPad #Coloroscope;
  • Snake on a sphere: support for iPhoneX;
  • Swift Pixels: new shapes, a visual "undo" history, and better layout for all screen sizes, including split screen. I'm quite happy with the responsive interface I created; check the screenshots in this tweet. (#SwiftPixels)
  • Silabitas: I released 20 new stages for its 2nd anniversary, with new crossword-like hints. (#Silabitas)
  • Sil·labetes: this is a new game, which it's basically Silabitas but with the target language being Catalan (the game itself is localized to Spanish, English, Japanese, and Catalan). It's free and it has only 20 stage at the moment (and I realized that the interpunct or "punt volat" can't be part of a hashtag: #Sil·labetes fail)

I'm also happy with this blogpost where I summarized the efforts of automating the screenshots and video previews for Silabitas.

After summer I haven't done much development. I was slightly demotivated after the release of Sil·labetes. Although I never do much marketing efforts, I did contact several Catalan language groups. Since the game is free, I expected people would at least download, but from a total of 198,931 impressions to date (more than all my other apps combined), I only got 92 downloads. I'd be happy with 92 downloads, but if I look at the hi-scores, it seems only 9 people have played past the 1st stage, mostly friends or family.

So after summer I've tried focusing my creative efforts to blogging and vlogging, mostly in Spanish though. This post about the failure of game indie development, El fracaso de un indie, was the most visited post of the year (not much, 139 views, but more than any of my games...)

My videos in youtube are mostly of humorist nature, and I don't get many views (30 on average), but, again, that's more than the downloads I get for any of my games in a year... My most visited video (91 views so far) is one where I made fun of Article 13. It's really silly and embarrassing, but I like Apple's Memoji expressiveness, and it serves me as a therapy to say all the silly things I want in Spanish from time to time (I mostly use Japanese at home).

If I have an idea for a small game, it may take some months to complete, for less than 30 downloads. In comparison, having an idea for a video, spending a few hours to complete it, and having 30 visits, is more rewarding in comparison. That doesn't mean I've stopped game & app development. I plan to resume when I find the self-motivation again.

Power up

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

  • Swift. I try keeping all my personal projects up to date with the latest version of Swift and I refactor from time to time.
  • C#. I haven't done much C# this year, but I did some big-win refactoring of one of our services in the office, bringing down the boot up time from 3 minutes to 2 seconds, by using lazy initializers and better math.
  • C++. I started working on a C++ project in the office using C++11 and following the book Effective Model C++. I think I got a better understanding of type inference and move semantics.
  • Javascript. I revived an old project, the WebGL model viewer (source in Github). I've always used Javascript to prototype things quickly, but I never worked on a big project. But I've started unit-testing this one, and also modernizing it. I used to follow the book Effective Javascript (see my notes), but I've starting dropping compatibility with older standards in order to increase readability and be more modern. So I'm making heavy use of modules, Promises, and newer keywords like class for the first time.

I've also practiced reading Japanese, that I don't do that often these days. I've read more than 20 volumes of Battle Angel Alita (James Cameron has made a movie based on it, coming Feb. 2019), 20 volumes of Uramiya Honpo, and several other manga (all through the Japanese Amazon Kindle store). Reading is not that difficult, but I also did a fan translation of the first story of Uramiya Honpo, which was a good exercise for practicing.

I also tried drawing some pixel art from time to time for Pixel Dailies: #pixel_dailies from:@endavid (I've drawn more, but they don't appear in the search for some reason). I use my app Swift Pixels for all the drawings.

Apart from that, I guess I've practiced some rudimentary video editing (with iMovie, though... 😅)

Power down

I gave up in some other things... I need some focus... 😅

  • Piano. I decided I was going to stop practicing until I felt like playing it. At this point, I practiced because I felt stressed that after so much effort, if I stopped practicing, I was going to forget everything. But I should play for fun, not because I feel stressed... So I'll forget it and learn it again when I feel like it.
  • Reading. I've done technical reading, and I've read a couple of "coaching" books in Catalan and Spanish. I've also read lots of Japanese comic books, but no novels.

Fun

Trips

  • I visited Barcelona several times to visit my family. They also prepared an awesome party and a surprise party for my 40th birthday 😃. We also visited Majorca during summer for holidays.
  • Short holiday trips Majorca, and Bologna.
  • I was in Tokyo for 3 weeks, working remotely, but mostly for leisure. We also visited Hakodate during that time.

My favorite movies this year: The shape of water, and Bohemian Rhapsody.

My favorite band this year: Wednesday Campanella, for both the music and the visuals of their videos.

And I didn't have time to play "proper" games (as in AAA console games), so I have a long list of "games I want to play", but during Xmas I managed to clear Beyond: Two Souls, which was very good, and I've just started playing the new God of War on PS4. I've also cleared a couple of nice indie games: Inside, on PS4, and Undertale, on PS Vita. On iOS, I've cleared a game called Slime Pizza, a quite smart platformer, and I've also played a couple of cute platform games, Super Cat Tales and Cat Bird. But my biggest recent discovery is a game called Flipping Legend.

And that's been my 2018! Lots of Youtube procrastination at home, as always, but I try to keep some creativity alive.

Happy new year everyone! Thanks for reading! ❤️

 
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