2019 Retrospective

David Stark / Zarkonnen
29 Dec 2019, 4:41 p.m.

My partner and I went to the UK to stay with their family over Christmas. It's been a pleasant and quiet few days, and I've actually managed to not think about work for a few days. That's pretty unusual for me.

Instead, I've been reading Conquerors by Roger Crowley, a fascinating if utterly gruesome account of the Portuguese rounding Africa and breaking into the Indian ocean. It's also made me re-play Imperialism 2, which is still one of my favourite strategy games ever. Much like other historical strategy games, it completely elides the monstrous violence of colonisation, abstracting it away behind resources and troop movements. Still, from a game mechanical point of view, it does some really clever things.

It's also a nice starting-off point to finally getting back to the long-promised diplomacy update in Airships. This has dragged on for so long because I spent large parts of the year chasing after networking problems and trying to keep people entertained with minor updates. Now, I think, the game is finally stable enough that I can get this update done. I haven't written any new code yet, but I did spend some time thinking about some diplomacy edge cases I need to deal with.

What else did I get up to this year? There was some travelling - we went to A MAZE game festival in Berlin, as we have for the last several years. We also went to Bangkok, as my partner had a conference there.

The other major thing I did was help organise Swiss Game Hub, a shared office / incubator for game development here in Zurich. We in the Zurich game community had been talking about wanting something like this for years, inspired by Dutch Game Garden and Saftladen in Berlin. So this year a bunch of us decided to take the initiative and get it started, funding it out of our own pockets. We had a great opening party, and people are signing up to work there, so I'm very proud of what we've made, and pretty hopeful for its future.

Right now I'm on my way back to Switzerland. Tomorrow we're spending the day playing Stellaris with friends, and the day after we'll go to a new years party.

It's been a strange year, and it seemed to go past very quickly, perhaps a sign of my age. It's been an awful year for many people, and there is plenty to worry about - the political situation in the UK and US, people fighting for their rights in Hong Kong, India, and Chile, the fact that Australia is on fire. In Switzerland at least, we've actually had a significant political shift green-wards, also a sign that yes, all those climate marches do actually make a difference. And living in Zurich, we've been thoroughly isolated from all the bad stuff I listed up there.

So it's been a good year for me, really. I lost some weight, made friends, got things done, travelled. I'd be very happy to have another one of these.

Do I have new years' resolutions? Yes, three. Whenever I'm not travelling, to continue on my low-carb diet. To do more blogging - this year has been mostly Airships updates and not much else. And to figure out a basic skin care routine because I'm, like, a grown-up now and should probably start thinking about these long-term things.

I wish you a good 2020. Let it be the year where, in hindsight, we all started coming to our senses.