Looking Forward to 2013

I started 2012 off by publishing a book on HTML5 gaming. I also started building three games (TileCrusdaer, Super Resident Raver and Jetroid) and didn’t finish any of them. I did end up with a decent Ludum Dare 25 game. At Roundarch I was heading up several large projects and doing full time management which I ended up not liking too much; I missed coding. So I left enterprise consulting and took a job with Microsoft which has turned out to be absolutely amazing! On the personal side of things my wife finally convinced me to move out to Long Island so we sold our Williamsburg apartment and bought a house. I’ve never lived in a house before, it’s kind of crazy. Now I have room for my own home office and it turned out to be a good move since I now work from home for Microsoft. Finally to top off the end of the year, we had a new baby on December 28th, only a few days from the end of the year. So how can I even top this in 2013?

I doubt anything can actually top 2012 for me but for starters I am finally going to get a chance to focus on gaming fulltime in 2013. Since I was 5 years old I had wanted to make games for a living and now with my new job at Microsoft I get to actually do something even better; help other make games! With this new opportunity I have been lining up a few thing so make 2013 the most impactful year of my entire career. Here is what I have panned:

Working on a New Book

I have decided to do a new book, even though I swore I would never write one again. The book is tentatively called Releasing HTML5 Games for Windows 8 and will be published by O’Reilly again. The book will cover everything you need to know in order to publish an existing JavaScript game or build one for scratch for Windows 8. I am a big believer in HTML5 gaming and for this book I wanted to be platform agnostic so I could write a companion guide for any HTML5 game book out on the market. The goal is to show game devs how easy and rewarding it is to publish their games on the Windows Store.

One Game A Month

As soon as I first heard of Christer Kaitila’s plan to start One Game a Month I was thrilled! It just so happened that I had several unfinished games that begged to be completed and released into the wild. I mean what kind of Windows 8 gaming evangelist would I be if I couldn’t knock out 12 games in one year? Plus a good portion of the games I release will be the basis of my new book so my plan is to have the two undertakings work hand in hand with each other. I have been working hard on my first game, which I released a little early due to the baby coming ahead of schedule. I hope to start working on my next game shortly.

Reviving Game Cook

I started http://gamecook.com years ago and didn’t really do much with it. Originally I wanted to have a game development site that covered all of the “ingredients” you would need to make a game. Now it just has a list of games I’ve finished. So this year I plan on spending more time building up this site as I focus on my own game work and I started a new twitter account @gamecook to better segregate my personal game development from my work related efforts. I am still not sure how this will work but stay tuned for another update and start following my new twitter account as well.

Focus On My Family

At the height of my consulting I was traveling every week, 4 days a week, between NYC, Boston, Rhode Island, Indianapolis and Chicago, not to mention the 11 or so conferences I spoke at. Even before that stint of travel I was always working long hours. I missed a lot of time with my first son. Since I now work from home I plan on being around a lot more for our second child and trying to make up that lost time with our first. Not to mention being able to help my wife out who, like most typical New Yorkers, would never ask for help and does everything on her own. I still have a very time consuming job as an evangelist but throughout the last 3 months of a very difficult pregnancy, everyone at Microsoft has told me “Family First” and I have never worked at a place that made me feel like that sentiment was true before. It’s always difficult to balance work and family, especially when you are a workaholic like myself so I plan on focusing on what really matters most in my life and giving my family all of the attention I can this year.

Wrapping Up

Perhaps the most important thing I need to do in 2013 is stick to the above plan. Instead of running off and starting a million different projects and only completing a few, I am going to stick to the plan. Microsoft could change my focus from gaming to something else as the year progresses, and I still love building apps and working with enterprise clients, but I have decided to take advantage of the opportunity I have been presented with and have fun. That’s a lot different than what I have done over the past few years of working myself to death to afford living in the city. I feel like I need to “repair my developer soul” from years of difficult consulting work. And while I have fun with sharing my own game development on Windows 8, I want to help others realize their dreams and do what I can to get their games over to Windows 8.

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