Each year I state that I cannot believe how fast the year has gone by, and 2010 was no exception ((Article starts with 2010 but moves to my reflections of 2011)). It just seemed like yesterday when I was sitting in my study typing up my goals for the year. Now that I look back, like so many other years, I am surprised at all the hidden and wonderful things that sprang up during that time that I would never have guessed.
So big for 2010 was going back to school. I had talked about returning to GVSU for more than 20 years but I never did anything about it. Last year I finally made the move and signed up for two classes — Never an A student, I just wanted to complete a Bachelor’s degree. I surprised myself by getting two A-minuses. That did well for my confidence as well as my lowly GPA.
[[ I have continued my schooling for another year wracking up a splendid number of As and Bs. I did, horrifyingly, get a D+ in Statistics only to find out that afterwards that GVSU wold honor all my hard work 25 years ago that I did as an exchange student in Japan. I am only 5 classes away from graduating and will need to make some very tough decisions in the year to come on what I want to do afterward -- do I try for a Masters in History, Library Sciences, or just let it go.]]
The other big shocker to 2010 was when in July I started messing around with Civilization IV as a modder. I never thought I would be able to do that — even in my most wild imaginations, I thought at most I would tweak a few units. But six months later I have a marvelously huge mod called ExtremeMod that will be debuting its third installment here next week.
[[Still kicked around ideas for my modding, although I admit I was not as fervently creating mods as I was in 2010. I still added or tweaked mods, as I found it fun. Joe and I still spent almost every Monday playing a variation on a theme. At the moment, I am modding a guy's creation that he called Rewriting History. I am unsure what goals I would set for myself here, as I bet there will be some grand games in 2012 that I do not even know of. I hope that I will have the smarts to mod one of them. All in all, 2011 was a huge year for modding and playing Civilization IV]]
Third, 2010 also was my 10 year wedding anniversary which Cherry and I went to Sutton’s Bay in early March and spent a wonderful week in a mansion all by ourselves — eating, swimming, and going on a ton of tours. It was a bit cold but we had so much fun!!
[[2011 wasn't especially good for family trips. Cherry and I did get to go to a Michigan Football game in Ann Arbor -- great B&B, museums, eating, and a beautiful day at the game! We had a short lived Summer vacation at the cottage in Glen Arbor marred by a sick car and family squabbling. Cherry and I also went to a GVSU game that was extremely cold as well as did several runs and walks which we trained for but mostly failed at (LOL)]]
So what will come in 2011? Who knows, as long as I keep my mind open and my creativity flowing. I have some ideas formulating now on games both RPG and computers. I am also very excited about finding out exactly how long I need to go to finish up my degree. And there is always a chance of a new position or job opening in the future.
[[Oh my did 2011 have some great opportunities for gaming and job potential. Phantasm Adventures and Bloodbath saw much needed attention, and still does. I also got the opportunity to submit an application to Sony for a Everquest 2 job and several to Osprey Publishing in Oxford England -- sadly none panned out, but it was sheer excitement in those weeks and months planning on moving either to San Diego or Oxford England]]
So without further adieu here is my predictions & goals for 2011:
Reading: I say this every year, but I just never read enough. I waste too much time on the computer and too much time playing games. Not going to put a specific page count or book count any longer, but I think it would be nice to look back on 2011 as the year I rediscovered books.
[[Keep dreaming -- once again I utterly failed at my resolution to read more. I had some very interesting magazine subscriptions and did read those but no books. I bought several books last year, but most just languish on the shelf. I will say going back to school and having more than 6 classes in 2011, I did get to read many books for the classes. Very exciting stuff, mostly because almost all of it was for History in one form or another.]]
Game Design: With the re-release of V&V (Villains & Vigilantes) I am proposing several new modules as well as talking to Jeff and Jack about releasing my old modules again. I am also returning to my roots and pulling out some old game designs and trying to finish my Bloodbath game this year and hopefully putting copies up for sale on Lulu (or is it hulu); of course, I could also say that about Phantasm Adventures, too. I will also be continuing to mod my Civ IV game and I would think it would be interesting if I could learn a bit of programming along the way to augment that.
[[The V&V module never materialized. I blame all of that on computer games and myself. I need to put effort back into writing games again, then just playing them. So much potential out there to write and publish great games but kept dropping the ball in 2011 in getting stuff done. I had tremendous success with Bloodbath and Phantasm Adventures (in Japan) and hope to see both of them in print again in Japan in 2012. I also did a lot of modding for Civilization IV and that was a ton of fun -- cranked out three great mods and kids even today are asking for more and bigger updates. Lagged for behind in true game design though, and once again found myself stuck behind the computer playing games rather than writing them.]]
Game Nights: I am looking forward to my weekly game night with Joe and Wade, and this year I hope to add maybe 1 person. Or better yet, it would be so fun to return to table-top RPGs somewhere and host or play a game for a couple of months.
[[Game Nights proceeded like they always have, mostly just Joe and myself. Wade did make it over a smattering number of times, but he got over more in the beginning than the end sadly. Never did add another person, nor did we get to do anything other than computer games. We had a great year of gaming, but it never really matured or developed past two guys playing the same game!]]
Career: Now that I am back to school, I want to concentrate on finishing my degree and then make the decision either to push on to a Masters or even a PHD and become a teacher. If that is not to be, then I would still like to expand my opportunities into other areas and perhaps other IT fields.
[[Did extremely well last year with school. I took 2 classes every semester and did well on all but Statistics (see above). I am so close to having my BA. Not sure what I want to do with it yet or how to proceed. I am confident then next year I will graduate or be so close that it would only be a matter of a class to graduate -- unless I decide to add a minor such as English on to my degree? See my thoughts in my upcoming 2012 Resolutions]].
Education: Like I said above, finishing my BA is critical. Though I admit I probably will not finish my BA in 2011, but more like late 2012. I would also like to take some At Home courses including a language (not a computer language but a spoken one) and perhaps just become a bit more studious.
[[Never ended up taking any courses at home, nor did I pursue any language courses.]]
Old Habits: Old habits are hard to kill, but this year I would like to move away from constantly playing MMOs and put in no more than 6 months into the games — maybe every other month.
[[Joe and I did move away from EQ2 for an extended period of time. We got to try a few more things and I did try some other games, but ultimately I am back to playing the game again. Need to put EQ2 away in February and look into doing other things. I want to do more game design and interact with more game designers.]]
Health: Less trips to the doctor and just more exercise — If I can do that, I will be satisfied. Last year seemed like I was constantly going to the doctor and they never helped me out. In the end, I still had allot of pain and nothing to show for it except bills. Eat well, Sleep more, and exercise!!!
[[Every year I try to do the doctor thing and every year it ends in utter failure. 2011 was no exception. I wasted so much time, money, and effort and nothing came of it. I must learn just to exercise more!]]
Some other things I am looking forward to this year is possibly the release of Diablo III. If this game does come out, I want to get my hands on it and start modding it — if they allow such a thing.
[[hahaha -- never came out. Mark down another year]]
I am also perhaps looking towards the end of the year to getting a new computer with Windows 7.
[[I did get a beautiful new Dell in late 2011 and it had Windows 7 on it. Very fast and quiet, I am simply loving it more and more.]]
[[Also discovered Twitter in 2011 and added over 10,000 tweets in the year. Made some marvelous friends there and made some very good connections -- including finding the job offerings at Osprey Publishing that ultimately fell through but was simply fantastic along the way]]
I am so backwards in the phone technology that another goal this year is to get some fancy Iphone or Droid and learn how to use it. I know that seems minor, but this year I will be exceptionally tight with funds and something like this will be more of a dream than anything else.
[[Never did get a smart phone. I laugh because I am in IT but I don't have any of the fancy phones. but I truly think that if the company didn't pay for them all the guys at work wouldnt have them either!]]
Have fun!! That’s my final and most important resolution; next year when I look back on 2011 I want to smile and think of all the great fun and rewards that were made possible by exploring and having an open mind. I look forward to the surprises that this year will hold and the most marvelous thought is that I don’t even know what they could be. Even if I tried to guess, I could be so far off the mark, so I will just get on board and wait for the ride to begin (which by the way it looks around here it will be any moment)!
[[2011 had its challenges -- I had some serious car and truck problems costing thousands of dollars to repair and some VERY SCARY days driving back and forth to work. We also sadly lost one of Cherry's beloved cats and had to put it down. School was always an adventure and I had many sleepless nights worrying about class, tests, papers, and all the challenges of being a student again. My wife's husband also had surgery go awry and he is not doing well -- even as I write this I do not know if he will survive or not, but we are all praying for him.]]
[[Another great thing that happened is Joe finally got a new computer -- It sounds ludicrously easy and funny, but the guy had not bought a computer in nearly 8 years and gaming with him over the net was becoming increasingly problematic. For years...literally....years he would talk every week on getting a new computer, and then each time make an excuse not to buy one. Finally he got a decent little Dell i7 that should last him until 2020]]