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The 2019 Year in Review

I feel that 2019 has been a big year for me.

There are other cliche ways to begin a year in review, but that one is the most appropriate. The last year has been an odyssey of self-discovery, new experiences, and time management; 2019 carried me from a skilled, broke college student finding his way to a skilled, young adult with finances and a partner. I’ll probably always be finding my way.

I found art in drawing, refined in painting – and through it, myself – displayed in dazzling color and through curious, thoughtful aesthetic works that challenge me to think and learn in whole new ways.

I found a love of nature I had previously only appreciated at a distance – a love for atavistic rituals and natural lifestyles, ecology and hidden natural systems, and for trees, plants, and the multitude of growing things that make up our world (particularly mushrooms – and our friends, the whales).

And, indeed, I found love in Bailey – my loving partner – and all the small moments, activities, nuances of human experience, and breath of emotions, cognition, and sensations, that come with committing to another person.

There are countless things I found in 2019 that transformed me, making this review more personal than the last one.

It happens to be also the only thing I’ve written since the last one – so I suppose I was out for catching up on a lot from the start.

I’ll start with the beginning of the year.

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Finally an Update: Semester Retrospective, Year in Review, and What’s Next

Hello everybody, it’s been a while since I last wrote. I have my reasons for not showing anything much, but I probably should have at least written a note saying that I’d be gone. I’ve just had a long semester, some burnout, and then a massive amount of re-prioritization as I think about what skills I want to improve and what kind of stuff I want to make in the future while I’m still in school.

In case you haven’t been following my sparse twitter activity or scrying into my apartment, this post should officially sort of summarize what’s been going on and where I think I’m going as we head into 2019. I’ve tried to write this several times over the last month, so it might be a little scattered. Let’s get right to it.

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Atavism Dev Log 22 – Takeoff, Head Positioning, Giant Plan

Update 22: August 16th – September 5

It’s been a while!

Three weeks, actually, instead of the usual two since the last update, and this is entirely due to trying to adapt to the new schedule I have from starting this semester at University (fall of my 3rd year). I had accomplished so little last Wednesday that I honestly just forgot this was supposed to be the day to write a blog. A few days later I realized what was up and just decided to aim for next week. It’s likely that this marks the end of my consistent, content-filled updates that made the summer

On the personal side of things, I’m a few sessions into running that D&D game for my friends and my other 2.5-year-old campaign with the same group is shaking back to life from another hiatus. I finished Slaughterhouse: Five and I have to say I was pretty stirred by it, particularly the frank first chapter as Vonnegut tries to collect his thoughts before writing and the part where Billy watches the war scene backwards on his TV. The book gave me some pretty raw vibes about how ridiculous and terrible humans can be sometimes and how silly it looks from such an outside perspective.

On another track, I also finished The Last Guardian a few weeks ago, and I was totally wrecked by the ending in a way that no game or movie ever has before. It was an absolute journey – beautiful to look at and engaging to play all the way through – and I can probably say it’s the best game I’ve played from this decade. I binged a lot of the developer diaries and interviews about the game a bit after and they were also super cool and inspiring. I’m fully onboard for whatever they have next, and I can’t wait for it!

On the development side of things, the scattered handful of hours from the last 3 weeks came together to roughly form almost a devblog’s worth of content, so let’s just get right into it.

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ATAVISM DEV LOG 18 – BIRD BRAIN

Update 18: June 14th – 26th

Two weeks, more progress. Also I’m sorry about the title, it’s a joke about making the bird AI. I think it’s funny.

On the personal side of things, I’m about halfway through Shadow of the Colossus (ps3 remaster) for the first time- something I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while. It’s moody and engaging -certainly worth another playthrough before I give my thoughts- and I’ll be playing Ico and Nier (2006) soon after.

Development-wise, most of my progress has been on animations and AI for the bird (named AveApex in the editor), but we’ll see how much I relate about them in the future. I’ve also updated the website! I’m officially rebranding as Red Glacier Games, which has a sort of mystery to it that I’m fond of with other studios named similarly.

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Atavism Dev Log 15 – A Plague of bugs

Update 15: May 2nd – 15th

It feels like so long, yet so recent since the last time I typed one of these. Long because of all my semester finals, travelling, new living space, and new work schedule, but recent because I’ve accomplished barely anything since last time. In reality I’ve spent still nearly two-thirds of the usual time per week working on the game and I also can’t blame myself for not getting much done over finals, but the last two weeks have been extremely unfulfilling bugfix work that ended up generally much harder than they should have been.

Basically everything I set out to do was so hard that it took forever to fix (usually due to dumb mistakes, lack of familiarity, or obscure reasons) or so small that it’s not too notable anyways. Regardless, I shall list everything I did just to vent about it then formulate a plan for the next two weeks.

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Atavism Dev Log 14 – Parrying and a Demo Level

environment

Update 14: April 18th – May 1st

It’s been a busy fortnight between semester finals and Atavism, but everything is coming out pretty well. My work was generally split into two parts; the first week of which was spent on making a level to show off the Tribesmen for my Gamedev club and the latter week of which was spent implementing some new features. I’ll be talking about these things, a bunch of smaller stuff that got done, and then, as always, about what I’m going to be aiming at doing for next update. Without further ado, let’s get down to it.

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Atavism Dev Log 13 – Group AI, Health, and Feedback

Update 13: April 4th – April 17th

Hey I’m back again. Last week I announced that I decided to switch to a bi-weekly update schedule so that I’d have more to talk about, which is already paying off because I have a ton to talk about this update! I’ll first be talking about the changes to the AI that I made, then talk a bit about the health system and some of the feedback I’ve implemented before I talk about what I’m aiming for on the next update.

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Atavism Dev Log Delay And New Schedule

In short:

I’ve been busy this week about as much as I usually have been, but I’d like to say that I’ve thought about it and decided to move the blog schedule to bi-weekly, meaning that I’ll have one out every 14 days instead of every – on Wednesday as they always have been.

The reasoning for this relates to my general dissatisfaction with posting weekly while working at school, something I mentioned during last week’s report. While weekly posts made a bit of sense when I was working far more hours per week, they still take time out of my day to write and ultimately don’t convey a whole lot that’s worth drawing out just for a blog. I’d much rather write a longer blog every two weeks about more important notes of progress than struggle for something to write about every single Wednesday.

As this blog is more for posterity than for communicating with an active user-base, I’m pretty comfortable with doing things this way.

I suppose my aim with this blog was to chart my progress, meaning that as long as I have interesting information to chart, the timescale doesn’t matter. Twitter is better for posting the shorter kind of stuff I’ve been putting here, so I’d recommend that if anybody reading this would prefer it. As it stands, I’ve found a blog is more of a good way to reorient myself to my design goals, making it a necessary piece of the production as I brainstorm out my immediate goals and look at how they’ve been coming along.

With all this in mind, yeah: Two weeks, should result in longer posts. See my twitter for shorter-term but less consistent content. Next blog is next Wednesday.

Cheers!

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Atavism Dev Log 12 – Attack Process and a New Look

Week 12: March 28 – April 3rd

We are back to the regularly scheduled devlog with a busy week and some good progress. I mull over the art style a little, talk about the current and future state of combat, then mention a few small things I did before talking about what’s coming up next week.

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Status Update: GDC

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“Infinite Schism” by Leilani Bustamante

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming…

Hey folks, it’s Wednesday. This is going to be fairly sparse, but I want to get this out fast to get back to work, so I’ll try to recount what I’ve done recently and show a few pieces of art I’ve enjoyed recently to make it visually interesting.

I’ve been listening to a NieR Tribute Album recently, which isn’t a genre I typically listen to, but it takes a bizarre and super fresh take to what is probably one of the best soundtracks of last decade. Anyway, onto the blog.