So I made 4 resolutions at the beginning of the year.  Unlike many people, I am a fan of resolutions and, more important, I am a fan of writing them down and putting them out there for the public to see.  This is a place where social pressure can be a healthy thing.  I wanted to take a moment, look over last year’s resolutions, and reflect on my successes and failures.  At the beginning of the new year I’ll post my resolutions for 2014, and those resolutions will be largely influenced by my success or failures in 2013.

Resolution 1: Design one game in GameMaker.

This is one resolution that I would have been able to say I completed on a technicality IF I had written “make” instead of “design,” as I made a few games using the GameMaker and Stencyl tutorials throughout the year.  I can’t claim credit for any kind of design, though.

While I would say this resolution was a failure on the face of it, I do feel that the resolution succeeded in keeping a gentle pressure on me to learn more about the products.  I have a stronger baseline now, and I hope to pursue it further into the coming new year.  Still “Make a game” might be too ambitious of a goal, so for 2014 I will choose something that’s a little easier to break down into workable pieces, and a little more specific in nature.

Resolution 2: Complete 12 pieces of 3D digital art for the art shows.

When I sat down to write out the results of this resolution, I initially thought that I had failed.  I suppose it’s the nature of any kind of year-end review; it’s easy to forget the work that you did at the beginning of the year OR to think that it was actually completed in the previous year.

As it turns out, I completed 15 pieces instead of 12.  It was my intention to complete one per month, but I find that a more effective approach is to schedule them around events.  This year, in addition to meeting my deadlines for commissioned work, I made it my goal to always have a new piece for each convention.  In doing so, I gave myself a hard deadline, but I also had a direct connection between my work and my customers.

This year, I completed 3 character commissions, 4 contract pieces for the Shadowfist card game, 2 commissions for show conventions, and 6 personal projects.  This is apart from the videos and animations I completed for work.  On the whole, I think this resolution was met, and I’ve earned the right to set a more aggressive goal for 2014.

Resolution 3: Complete 12 pieces of brush-pen art for the art shows.

Unfortunately, for the work that I’ve done in 3D artwork, I haven’t done as much brush work as I’ve wanted.

I realized something recently as I went back through my sketchbooks:  I have a lot of sketchbooks, but nearly all of them have only one or two sketches in them.  There’s one image at the front of the book, and no more.  Likewise, I have a lot of art materials, but I haven’t used any of them up.

I think the root cause of this is the fact that, deep down, I lack the confidence to commit to a second piece in a sketchbook.  When I have a sketchbook with a really good sketch in it, I find that I don’t want to add another because it might not be as good as the first one.  As I think about it more and more, I realize it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what the sketchbook is supposed to be.  Reflecting on this resolution has brought this root cause to the front of my mind, and my hope is that it will help me to overcome it.

So with that in mind, when I make my 2014 resolutions, I am going to change the nature of this goal and see if it improves my results.

Resolution 4: Complete one (and only one) blog entry per week, and place more emphasis on the importance of games in society.

I think the record will show that I completed the first part of this entry, even if I wasn’t always on time.  As to the second part, I think the entries were a little stronger this year.  I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I’m getting into a good rhythm.  I’m also exploring, in my own mind, why games are important to me, and why they are important to society.

So that’s it for this year.  Next week I’m going to give my comments on UFC 168, and then we’ll be into the new year.