My 2014 year in review

Year in review 2015

Inspired by Raymond Camden’s blog, I decided to make a year in review of my own.

My blog

I’ve been pretty active on here this year. I make at least 3 posts each week, and I try to keep it a mix of personal and work related items. I figured I’d make it a place that I would like to read, as someone interested in gaming, game dev, tech, or startups / vc.

Here are some of the more popular stories from this year:

 

 

Work

I started my job at Microsoft on January 14th, so it’s been nearly one year. Time flies. It’s been an absolute blast, and I still think I have one of the coolest jobs. I work with people who are incredibly smart, have a variety of backgrounds, and are wqually as passionate about tech and programming.

Even better, I get to work with the community on a daily basis. That’s everything from students to startups, and game developers to studios who I am a huge fan of their work. Someone explained evangelism to me as “having your own business within Microsoft” and it really feels like that. The amount of flexibility the role offers, along with how much I learn along the way, puts me in a great spot.

I’ll have a longer post about this at some point, but I wake up every day and wonder how I got into this. I moved down to Philly from Long Island about 18 months ago, to work on game consoles at Comcast, and I wound up working with Microsoft only 8 months later.

 

Video Games

I really didn’t get to play too many games earlier in the year, because I was trying to get onboarded with work. November and December though…. well that’s a different story, largely thanks to the Steam and Xbox Holiday deals. In the 8 weeks, here’s what I’ve gone through:

  •  Wolfenstein: New Order
  •  Dragon Age: Inquisition
  •  Shadow of Mordor
  •  Battlefield 4
  •  Aliens: Isolation

All of those games were fantstic, in their own right. Aliens: Isolation is the scariest game I’ve played in my life. I truly felt like I was on that ship.

I cranked through Dragon Age over thanksgiving break, and had a blast with it. Dwarven rogue +  3 mages FTW. Way overpowered.

Shadow of Mordor though….. whew, that game is something else. I LOVED the influence system that they put in there, with the ability to take control of Uruk’s, and each with their own personality. If you haven’t purcahsed this game yet, go ahead and get it. It’s my GOTY.

Wolfenstein really blew me away too. That was definitely a pleasant surprise. It  looked beautiful, and added a bit od depth to the otherwise boring FPS genre, in that your character was upgraded alon the way, based on achieevements you went after.

 

Conferences, Presentations, etc

I went to PAX East and West again, as well as GDC and MAGfest. I make it a point to go to each of those, every year. On top of that, I attended GDC Next in LA for the first time, as well as Unity’s Unite conference in Seattle. I don’t know if I’d recommend GDC Next again, due to how small it was, but LA was definitely a nice city, and Santa Monica in particular. That place really won me over.

I’m trying to cut back a bit this year though, as there are just too many conferences to keep attending. I’m even skipping MAGfest this year, which is a bummer because it’s so close (DC), but I’ve already got a ton of travel booked for January.

There were smaller expos that I went to as well, including Too Many Games in Philadelphia, which started off as basically a flea market for retro games, but now has bands playing, classic consoles to play, and YouTube stars in attendance. I have a blast at this place every year.

I also went to the East Coast Game Conference in Raleigh, NC this spring, and althugh it was a bit small, it was still nice to see that there is such a large and growing game development scene on the east coast.

2015 and beyond

So what’s next for this year? Who knows. I’d like to finish a full marathon, instead of just those half marathons that I’ve been running.

I’d also like to play some more games. I started picking up Sim City and Rise of Nations again, and have had a great time with them. I love those games where you get to micro manage a world.

Either way, I’d like to blog more, create more games of my own, and start another WebGL project, using BabylonJS. But I’ll save that for the Global Game Jam in January.  I’ve got to finish my other game, first.

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