I’ve talked about how 2019 went, now it’s time to talk about how I hope 2020 will go. I’ve got some really exciting things planned for this year, as well as a few changes to how I post things, and of course some projects I’d like to take on but probably won’t happen. I have a clearer idea of what I’d like to accomplish this year than last year, so let’s get into it.
The main focus in 2020 will be Ascension III. I have two fairly ambitious goals, one for the game in general and one technical goal.
The main goal is to go from the very limited gameplay demo of 2019 to a vertical slice demo with a little bit of combat, a little bit of exploration, a little bit of dialogue and a little bit of loot. I have a list of things that need to be fixed or implemented to make this possible, as well as some design work and then actually building the environments and gameplay.
The technical goal is to implement mod support. I have a solid idea on how I’m going to do it, but there are still some core changes I need to implement to lay the foundation, as well as actually getting mod support itself working. This is a feature that will probably never see real use, but I got my start in modding so it’s one that’s very close to my heart and I’m very excited to get it working even in a limited form.
It’s going to be quite a bit of work, but I think it’s doable. I’m hoping to have the new demo out in time for Full Indie this year- so sometime in the fall- and mod support implemented by the end of the year. It’s not guaranteed- there are a lot of things that could go wrong- but it’s what I’m shooting for.
Once again, I talk about this in more detail in a devlog post on itch.io. Actually, it’s the same devlog post as the one I linked in the 2019 end of year post, so if you’ve already read it then you’re already up to speed.
The other big project for 2020 is newip. It’s behind Ascension III in priority, but ahead of everything else. There’s only so much I can say here because newip is so nebulous at this point, but the goal is to make it a lot less nebulous by the end of the year. I’d like to make some of the key decisions I’ve had on my mind, like what newip will be (in terms of medium) and what it’s going to be called. I’d also like to nail down some of the key elements like plot, characters, and setting, and formalize what I’ve already figured out.
Originally, I wanted to launch a pilot or demo of newip at the end of 2019. That turned out to be far, far too ambitious. I’m not expecting to do a real launch of newip this year either, but I would like to put out a more concrete teaser. Maybe an actual trailer, I don’t know. But something that shows what newip is going to be in all its aspects.
Once newip is little more locked down- or maybe before- I’m going to start posting more concepts and tidbits from it. I’d been very quiet about newip in 2019 (admittedly because I didn’t get to work on it as much as I would have liked) but I’m hoping to show a lot more of it in 2020.
To be clear, despite how much I’m hyping it up, newip is definitely a much smaller project in scope than Ascension III. It might be a more important one going forward; I don’t know yet. I’m very excited, though, because it represents something new I want to try and play around with.
I don’t have any site upgrades planned for this year, unlike last year. I would like to clean up the tags and categories a bit, but it’s not a firm plan. I’d also like to move away from MediaFire for file hosting, but again I don’t have a firm plan for that.
I’m also planning to finally make a vector version of the logo. No, there isn’t one already. The one I rolled out was actually mocked up in Photoshop as a proof of concept, but for various reasons the “real” version was never made. That will be corrected this year.
Some games still only have a page on itch.io. Last year I’d mostly cleaned things up, adding pages for every game here and making sure they were linked both ways, but I missed a few. This will be fixed soon so each game has a page here.
Oh, and I’ll rewrite the About page.
Getting my work out there has always been a huge challenge for me. I’m getting a lot better at making things, but getting them seen is still a struggle. I made some steps forward in 2019, though not as many as I wanted. Going into 2020, it’s not my main focus but being seen, showing my work, finding and engaging with communities are all things I’d like to work on.
I’ll probably do a post on this at some point. Maybe.
There are some concrete, actionable, immediate changes I want to make with respect to how I disseminate information. Right now I have three primary channels that I regularly use to post updates:
- Twitter posts. Great for quick updates, but very limited.
- Posts on this website. Very visible and official-looking. Typically reserved for major announcements.
- Devlog posts on itch.io pages. Low visibility, project specific. I started using this for deeper project-specific stuff in the second half of 2019.
It’s a bit of a mess. On top of that, I occasionally post videos on YouTube though those usually go along with an announcement somewhere else. I’ve also toyed with posting to certain subreddits and the itch.io forums.
I don’t plan on radically changing that, but I do want to streamline things. I’ll keep using Twitter as a sort of stream-of-consciousness dev blog, but I’ll also be posting more frequent updates to this site. I only posted a handful of progress updates last year, plus a few announcements. I think using itch.io project devlogs for more detailed, more technical posts is something that worked, so that’s something that will continue. For some of them I’ll also post on here and link the devlog post.
I also want to experiment with other channels some more. I’ll check out a few more subreddits and some game dev forums to see if it might be worth posting things there, though I don’t intend to post full devlogs in duplicate. I might do more videos in conjunction with progress updates- however, this depends on how time-consuming they end up being versus how useful they end up.
Things I’m not promising
There are some things that I’d like to do, but I’m not willing to make firm statements on. And there are some things that just aren’t going to be a focus this year. I only have so much time to work with.
I’ve resolved to do more writing this year, but that’s a pretty low bar given how little I did in 2019. However, I’m going to go about it differently. I don’t expect to take my ever-stalled book anywhere, or start writing a novel. Instead I’ll be focusing on small projects written for fun. Some might be good. Some may even see the light of day.
I’d like to do Inktober again; that was a lot of fun. Will I finally get around to NaNoWriMo? Probably not.
I’ll be at BC Game Jam 2020, and I’ll make something for So Bad It’s Good Jam 2020 if that happens this year. Of course, I have no idea what my entries will be yet!
I think 2020 is going to be a tipping point for CommonCore, my RPG/FPS framework for Unity. It’s finally going to be at the point where I can quickly and easily throw together than silly, janky games I used to build in GZDoom. Why I stopped doing those is a topic for another day, but I’m excited about maybe doing one of those again. I have a few ideas, but any of them would be a just for fun, if time allows project, so I’m not going to even tease them.
I also want to release more open-source code and free art. This is very much something I’ll do if I can, though, depending on what I make and/or what I dig up.
All in all, I have much more solid plans for 2020 than I did for 2019. The big focus is on Ascension III and newip, of course, but I’m also going to do some housekeeping and try to get some fun little projects in. We’ll see how things go in practice- I don’t have a great record for sticking to plans- but I think my goals for this year are clear and manageable, which hasn’t always been the case in the past. Of course, if there are surprises and things have to change, then I’ll rework things and let you all know.