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2018: The Year In Review

DZ-Jay

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As we close the year 2018, I look back at my accomplishments. For a procrastinator of such high caliber as myself, the list doesn't look too bad. I did managed to finish some projects, and that is always a good thing.

I also started a new blog and kept at it for several months with semi-regular posts. Not bad at all.

Thinking back to my very first blog post, I find the following five items at the top of my "To-Do" list. These were all projects in which I was either actively engaged or planning to start in the very near future.

  • P-Machinery 2.0 Advanced Game Engine (P-MAGE) - A comprehensive and optimized game engine and development framework for Intellivision games, built up from scratch to be fast, efficient, and easy to use. It's about 80% done (it's always about 80%, and has been for the past five years), and hopefully will see a release next year.
  • <REDACTED> - My next Intellivision game, which I will keep unnamed for the time being. It's actually just in the technical design stage at the moment, waiting for P-Machinery AGE to reach 85% maturity so that I can start coding it simultaneously. The story and game-play mechanics are all defined and documented, and it plays really well in my head.
  • CvW 2014 Special Edition - Yes, it's been several years, but I have yet to deliver the custom-made Christmas Carol Special Edition to the winner of the 2014 CvW championship. The good news is that the game is complete and thoroughly tested by myself and a secret beta-tester elf who will remain anonymous. I am just waiting on manufacturing to deliver it on cartridge. Many problems in my life during the past few years conspired to delay this project gravely. It will happen this year, that's my promise.
  • CvW 2015 Arcade Marquee - Another casualty of the same family and personal problems that affected the previous project. The actual custom marquee is finally completed and in my hands. I am now waiting for my carpenter to finish building the light-box to mount it on. The design was made by a graphic artist and it is fabulous! I can't wait for the owner to receive it.
  • Christmas Carol Children's Book - The Christmas Carol game for Intellivision came to life through a very strange and convoluted set of circumstances. One other consequence of those strange circumstances was that its story formulated in my head as a whimsical world of Christmas adventures. Although hard to pick apart from 8-bit animated graphics, the cut-scenes and most of the level progression in the game -- all the way to the boss level and saving Christmas -- attempted to depict a story arc that had popped into my head as I was developing the game. I always intended to write it all down as a children's book, but never got around to, until now.




Well, then, let us see how I did this year:
  • P-Machinery 2.0 Advanced Game Engine (P-MAGE)
    I am disappointed to report that not much progress occurred on this front. This project was completely frozen while I worked on the others. However, I do intend to continue it in the new year (yeah, I know, famous last words, and all that). I also still aim to release it in 2019, so nothing has been lost.
  • <REDACTED>
    My next Intellivision game also did not get any progress at all. I had promised my wife that I would at least start coding it before the closing of the year, so I failed on that front. On the other hand, she should be happy and proud that my procrastinating energy and effort was not wasted on trivial stuff but on actually writing the Christmas Carol book -- which, I will remind you, was not even in my "Top-5" list until just a few months ago, when my wife and I decided it should be done by Christmas. So, a reasonable trade-off, I suppose.
  • CvW 2014 Special Edition
    I am deeply embarrassed and ashamed that it took this long to fulfill this commitment. I have a million and one excuses for it, and all of them are reasonable; but the bottom line is that it took four $%@*# years to get it done. That's just unconscionable, and I regret it deeply.
     
    On the other hand, I am glad to report that I did complete the custom-made Christmas Carol Special Edition and even shipped it this week to the CvW 2014 grand prize winner, Fushek. The whole posted parcel is constructed as a very special Christmas present for him, which I hope he enjoys opening as much as I did putting it together. The custom game itself is great, and includes three bonus levels interspersed throughout the original 8 stages. I'm sure he'll have a lot of fun with it.
  • CvW 2015 Arcade Marquee
    Another commitment shamefully delayed for several years, which also adds to my regrets. However, I am also happy to report that this project is complete. I received the custom-made light-box with the mounted marquee from the carpenter just yesterday, and I plan on packaging it all up and shipping it to the CvW 2015 grand prize winner, grips03. Both Fushek and grips03 have been exceedingly accommodating with the delays, and wonderful sports.
     
    I can't wait to hear grips03's reaction when he sees the beautifully crafted box and marquee. It is so good, I wish I could keep it. :)
  • Christmas Carol Children's Book
    Well, you should all know by now the fate of this project. It's the only thing I've been blabbing about in this blog for the past few months!
     
    The story is complete, although it's still very much a draft manuscript which needs proofreading. My wife and sisters have volunteered to do so. One of my sisters is a high-school level English teacher, so that's a big plus!

    I still need to draw some illustrations for it, but my wife and I agreed that it's not worth killing myself to get it printed by Christmas when my granddaughters don't even know how to read. So, I will work on the illustrations starting next week, after Christmas, during the rest of my holiday vacation. Then I'll start the search for an agent and publisher.


So there you have it, three-out-of-five is not a bad record to have -- especially if you consider that it's only three-out-of-five from the top of my "To Do" list. It doesn't include some of the less glamorous items like starting a blog; completing a new version of the IntyBASIC SDK for Mac and Windows; clearing our credit card debt, in spite of some rather expensive ventures and family setbacks this year; kept our dear old kitty, Puppy, alive and kicking for another Christmas Season; played and frolicked in the first snow of the year; and a few others.

I feel good. 2018 has been good to me and I intend to keep it in high regard. I can't wait to see what 2019 brings!

Hold on ... I can wait. In fact, I rather wait. I'm in no hurry for the future to rush in and take another year off my lifetime. (Man, how I wish I could freeze time.)

And now, excuse me while I get ready to pick up my granddaughters. We're taking them to see Santa Claus, and they're all excited. This is another good moment I wish I could freeze. :)

See ya'!
-dZ.

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