Year in Review 2020

Year in Review 2020

The year 2020 was quite a different year than usual. I’m sure it was like that for most of the people. Even the most privileged and well-off. But that is not the reason of this post.

I have decided to look back at my years and months documenting what I learn in blog posts. This is the first one of the series “In Review”. Nothing crazy or anything, just a place for me to document what I felt my main takeaways from a given period were. Mostly it will have something to do with personal development or technology, programming.

Main Themes

Main themes of this year were Zen and performance/productivity hacking I’d say. Quite unrelated rather opposite things. But in a way Zen lifestyle could be considered as optimizing life to reduce friction and achieve enlightenment through one’s daily life. I have learned new lessons about philosophy, motivation and living your life in a pursuit of meaning.

It is pretty hard to remember everything that has happened and reflect on the whole year. It is the first “In Review” post thus I do not yet have a backlog of entries which would allow me to easier compile a list of ideas, technologies that I’ve learned.

Squirrel Forest & Twitch

Squirrel Forest was a project that I’ve started in 2020. At the time of writing this it has almost been a full year since the starting line of code, however I have felt what real burnout means when in the beginning of the year I have committed to this project with everything that I have. I have spent close to 4 months straight working on this project streaming its development to Twitch in the meantime. I have gotten an affiliate status on the platform and spent close to 190 hours on-air in May. That is even more than a full-time job. However, this does not yield any direct benefit. I have met some cool people on the way so I guess that was beneficial in some way. I have realized that this is not sustainable. Especially with the lack of discoverability on the platform as a whole and on top of that a very small Science & Technology community there. Coming back to Squirrel Forest I am planning to release this game sometime in 2021. It is currently at a standstill. I am working on it though. I do open up the project, change a few things here and there, but that does not move the project forwards as much as I would hope. It is most likely because of the design flaws or the lack of coherent vision. I want to tell a story of a forest being restored by a couple of young squirrel brothers Zen and Ven. That is the premise. However, the game kind of morphed into a city/base builder game. This is my first ever commercially viable indie game. I guess at this point it does not matter much what comes out of it I will still be proud. I have learned a lot along the way. Got a bit overwhelmed with the project scope/size at the end of it. They aren’t really teaching us how to manage big codebases at the university. Although, most of the skills I’ve developed were outside of uni anyways..

Dosha, Performance & Motivation

Juggling many tasks/responsibilities at once has been my way of working I believe. I might just still tag this one with an imaginary “unclear” label. As I feel like focused deep work is also something I can do quite well and sometimes even prefer to have a single task to work on. My dosha according to an online quiz and some descriptions of them is “Vata”. Which could also influence my motivation style. Supposedly the definition suggests almost an ADD-like drive to work on tasks/projects. In this case I should have many things to work on and do context switching often. This sort of ties back to the opening sentence of this paragraph. It does match that. But then no one is completely this or that. The truth is most likely somewhere in the middle and the best type of motivation really depends on the circumstances. I will keep this one in mind and most likely get back to it in the future.

Programming

On top of the self-hosting tasks and other things I’ve finally gotten down to looking at SSGs (static site generators) and therefore re-worked my main website. I have learned about interfaces and abstract classes in C# during my game development journey. I have started a simple 2D game engine in C++. Participated in “Advent of Code” yet with the classes ramping up towards the end of the month I have not followed through with this challenge and stopped midway through. We also won a hackathon with a Java multiplayer text-based game “The Forgotten Empire”. And more things that I do not remember..

Career

Currently I am a freelance live streaming specialist working with a football club to bring their home games to the fans at home. This isn’t really related to my actual programming and development specialty, but as I’ve mentioned previously I can do many things and it might even be better for me mentally in the long run. I am currently in my final semester of university and I do need to start thinking about jobs and a career path that I want to pick. Although, it is not that simple. Technology careers aren’t just black or white. I could go into cybersecurity and start as an analyst, could become some junior developer somewhere in a company, frontend, backend programming, hardware… The list goes on. It is quite overwhelming. Not only that but if you choose a specific branch to steer towards it feels like there are so many sub-branches. Even programming languages.. I would say that I am quite proficient in C#, Java and C++. I know how to use Linux, navigate my way around in a shell, write simple shell scripts, manage servers, web frontend. But I really don’t want to work in web technologies. Maybe game development? Solo indie app development? That would be quite a leap and would require business skills on top of the full stack of technology knowledge. So, at this time it is absolutely unclear what comes next.

Exercise

I have got to be honest. I did not exercise as much as I would need to. I have attended Taekwon-Do classes and gradings, but apart from that I have not been in my top shape this year that’s for sure. Oh, wait.. I ran a half-marathon. Hmm.. That could be considered a good enough achievement. It’s not a full one but at least that’s something. I have done some running in the summer leading up to the event to prepare for it, but after that I’ve just gotten lazy again. I do not have a scale but if I stepped on I’d probably see that I’ve gained weight. Feeling good is something I’d want to pursue. So, let’s just say that I will do more exercising at home this year. And I’m counting on you future Marius to reflect on this in the upcoming posts.

Conclusion

The year has indeed been a mess. However, I felt like I’ve grown a lot and had more time for introspection. As for this post it is as spontaneous as a leaf deciding when it will detach itself from a tree and catch the wind. It is not perfect by any means. And does not include the full story. I might have missed quite a few things. But hey, we do have to start somewhere.