26 November 2014

Which New Year's Resolutions Became Reality?

New year resolutions are great, but how often do we turn them into a reality? Did I really pursue some of them, or have I been too lazy chasing my dreams? A year ago I wrote down 6 new years resolutions and let's see how much of them became a reality! If you are interested in the original post from January 2014 you can click here 

Be careful what you wish for, because most of them did really happen this year. Crazy enough, just one of them didn't happen. Its amazing to see how much of them I did pursue and actually acted upon. 

Besides these resolutions, my blog's traffic has increased substantially. December 2013 my monthly page views were around 700 to a 1000.  December this year I will do approximately 30.000 views a month. This is an increase of 3000%, Holyshit! that's insane! Because of this I have surpassed the 100.000 total views within 1,5 years!

I have to thank you all for being so largely interested, its an extreme motivator to go on with this!

Anyway, back on topic! I stated 6 new-years resolutions last year, and I am going to tell you about them in more detail.

//Resolution 1: Did I Finish A Game? --- FAILED

Let's start with the first resolution and immediately the bad news. (I always like to hear the bad news first). 

Since September 2013 I have been the game producer on "Horrinth" a psychological horror game, in development by my own game studio KeokeN Interactive. My intention was to have a game release this year, although this turned out to be a very problematic game concept for us. A really hard 'original IP' to start your studio with. However, the resolution didn't completely failed. I wrote about a demo/prototype I was going to develop, and that did turn into a reality. The game has seen some rough grounds, and is still in development.

//Resolution 2: Did I Meet Someone Cool? --- SUCCEEDED

It feels great when a plan works out! In this resolution I had listed a dinner with Rami Ismail, Oliver Kern or David Perry. I would be lying if I would say I had dinner with either one of them, but I did have a meeting with Oliver Kern at Gamescom 2014 in the business area (it did look like a small restaurant). I asked him for advice on our upcoming horror game and what our best route would be in terms of publishing. I asked him about investors and Kickstarter projects and he shared some valuable information with me.

I also wrote about the importance of 'magnifying' your network. The funny fact is that the cool people at Little Chicken Game Company (some of them are strongly connected to me) created a cool game called 'SXPD' produced with a famous game industry veteran. Funny enough, this veteran was David Perry. The cool thing is David did come closer within my network. How's that for magnifying your network.

//Resolution 3: Did I Help The Industry? --- SUCCEEDED

Helping the game industry by continuing this blog succeeded greatly. Apparently I have triggered more minds and reached more people than I would have thought in the first place. I have seen twitter activity increase greatly on my posts and I have had more 'Gamasutra features' than ever. There is one thing I failed to achieve, and that is my goal to have written 30 articles this year. In the resolution I told you I brought down my blogging from once a week to every two weeks, unfortunately this kept dropping and is now only once a month. Running a company became a little harder than I expected.

My most popular post of all time was '6 Reasons To Start A Blog As Developer'. The post is read by 30.000+ people and by far my most popular one of all time. Quickly followed by the post 'Carefully Consider Changing Job Into Hobby' with 10.000+ reads.

I also publish my blog at Gamasutra and Linkedin. This year 'Why Interns Can Be Of Great Value' was featured by Linkedin in their Pulse publishing system and was the 40th article of the day. Gamasutra also done me a great service by featuring my posts 8 times this year!

For the people interested, the following posts were featured by Gamasutra:

Publishing A Game Jam Game
6 Reasons To Start Blogging As Developer
Should We Fight Piracy?
Thoughts You Might Have As Indie Developer
Camera Map Your Teaser Trailer
Performative Development For 100% Independency?
Unreal Proves To Be A Real Unity
Horror Game Design Can Be Scary

So did I help the game industry? Well, at least I triggered some minds with a few of these subjects. According to some of the tweets you send me I did help some of you, and I am very pleased to hear that.

//Resolution 4: Did I Debut As Producer? --- SUCCEEDED

Before I started my journey as the head of a my own game studio, I was the Producer on the global game jam game 'Size Matters' (now called iO). This year it was released on OUYA to find out how this game is received by our target audience. The game was also showcased by Gamious at 'IndieCade' in the United States. Because of great findings, the game has been scheduled for a Steam release on the 5th of December 2014. So I can officially say I debuted as a Producer this year.

//Resolution 5: Did I Meet New People? --- SUCCEEDED

I planned to visit a few events this year. Some of them I did attend and some of them I didn't. Especially the events in the USA are still a bit too expensive for a start-up studio like mine. However I did visit a few local events like Indievelopment, Gamelab and Indigo. Luckily Casual Connect was hosted in Amsterdam and last minute I decided to visit Gamescom in Germany as well.

At these events I met a lot of awesome new people, and I'd like to name a few. At Casual Connect I have been talking with Sparpweed's Richard Boeser, the creator of 'Ibb & Obb'. I have always liked the game from the start and Richard is a very approachable and genuine guy. He's honest and great to talk with. At Indievelopment I have had a short talk with Digital Dreams's Thijmen Bink about their innovative game Metrico. A fun thing about Metrico is I was their neighbor at the Global Game Jam 2011, the place where the Metrico concept was born. They are now doing business with Sony Playstation and I am very proud on them. At Gamescom I have met Grin's Wim Wouters showcasing their game Woolfe. He's one of the most enthusiastic studio directors I have met. Just by talking to him you wish Woolfe to become a success. I also met Karmaflow's director Ivo van Dijk again at Gamescom. He was clearly a happy man and he's right to feel this way. Karmaflow is going great and looks stunning. I closely follow them from the start already. I would also like to mention the people from the Argentine game studio Thotwise I have talked with. Great guys and I recommend following them, they are working on 'The Hum' a survival horror game.

//Resolution 6: Did I Find The One? --- SUCCEEDED

Finding "The One" sounds a bit cheesy right? I think there are a lot of interesting people to be found, but to be honest, I have found a bunch of very special people. At the time I wrote this resolution I was in a smaller office with one of my partners Johan Terink and my extremely talented environmental artist intern Leon Tukker. In February we had to rent a bigger place because this was the start of actual development on our horror game Horrinth and I opened a few spots on the team. Since then we've gone from 3 to 10 people working on KeokeN Interactive projects.

I have had the privilege to work with two great 3D artists Stefan and Viktor, both extremely experienced for interns if you ask me. An old classmate Remco, who became my Lead Programmer on a few projects. Recently I have collected a very rare species among programmers called an ethical hacker, a guy specialized in security and a lot of other stuff. We've not reached a limit with him yet. Kerim, an artist who is very versatile within this business (from concept art to graphical designs). Pim a programmer who created a beautiful storytelling system for one of our game concepts (The Ocean). And last but not least Maurits, a game designer/junior producer who has helped me greatly during the production of many projects within KeokeN Interactive, and did some great research.

If I ask myself this question again, have I found the one? Well, all the people I have worked with the past year were extremely talented and motivated. I am extremely proud on each and everyone of them.

New Year Resolutions are usually abandoned right after you've promised them. I however realized most of these goals. Its a great way to think back, and appreciate the things you've done and the people who helped make this true. If you want to fulfill your goals and dreams, you have to seriously go for it. Don't hesitate to take action, just do it. You will only find out if they work if you act upon them. This January I will make a new list of resolutions and goals.

Did you have any new-years resolutions and how many of them became reality?


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Twitter: @KoenDeetman
Facebook: Koen.Deetman
Company: KeokeNInteractive