Hello and welcome, to the first Hedgefield Quarterly Review.
As the name implies, this will be a place for me to take stock of what I’ve accomplished in the past three months, and share it with you. It’s a nice middle road between a handful of tweets, and a yearly review, which I tried to do last year but resulted in an OVERWHELMING Google Doc that I haven’t dared look at since. The plan is to write these as a bookend to the close of each financial quarter, a good a time as any to look back and see whether I made any duckets (or not).
Work for hire
2020 started off strong. I was deep into production on an ambitious animation for Contronics. The last real animation I did, outside of character animation for games, was in 2010, during my internship. Now that I think about it, it was also a story about food that started on a farm and ended in a supermarket…
Gifsoy (2010) in classic 4:3 SD
Lettie lettuce (2020) in glorious 16:9 4K
Then, I had a team of three people. Now, I did it all by myself. I would have loved to have more people working on this, animation can be such a tedious chore sometimes, but it was empowering to see what I could do by myself.
It was the culmination of a weird time period where I suddenly found myself doing a lot of animation work. I guess it started when I decided to finally start a music animation project after thinking about it for years. The first one I published set in motion a string of animation work, proving once again that what you decide to put your energy into will be what you attract more of. Whether that’s a trend that will keep going will remain to be seen.
For now, I seem to be heading in a different direction again. I’m working on an infographic for a local government agency, made some GIFs for Instagram, someone commissioned me to draw their DnD character, and I’m gearing up to help out a longtime friend with their app idea. I also received my copy of the book I illustrated for at the end of 2019.
2020 is the year I went looking for a community. I joined a crew of devs that come together on thursday evening to work on their own projects and it’s been great. I’ve really missed having people with a similar frame of reference to geek out about games with.
In terms of projects, I’ve been toying around with a few ideas:
I’ve been working on a prototype for a third-person exploration game. This would be the spiritual successor to my gamejam game of last year Minimal Raider.
And for the final Idle Thumbs Wizard Jam, I came up with a concept for a good old classic adventure game, but didn’t have time to build anything, so I made do with a teaser intro video.
But also, I’m keen on finishing a few stale projects in my backlog. They still have potential, but they’ve stalled somewhere along the way in favor of pursuing new ideas, you know how it goes. I’d love to knock these out and clear the runway for new things.
The first is Last Voyage Of The Orlova. It follows an old lighthouse keeper as he explores a derelict ghostship about to wash ashore.
The other is Coyote, a western. This was the first game I shipped, back in 2011, which I remade in Unity a year or two ago for a gamejam.
Because of time pressure it was a straight-up remake, I couldn’t get to the new ideas I had for it. And while it is a fairly complete little game, I can’t part with those ideas, they would make the game a lot better. So I’m taking the time this quarantine to forge ahead with this project. I think I can knock it out with this time I’ve been given. That means one less unfinished game in the back of my mind.
Of course, I cannot leave the COVID-19 quarantine unmentioned. I feel weirdly at ease in it; I suppose it wouldn’t be much different from what I would do if I didn’t have to go to work anymore. I do miss seeing other people, and my heart goes out to all who are put in a terrible position by this situation, but as long as I am able of body and mind, I will treat the situation as an opportunity to further my personal projects and put some joy back into the world.
This has also been a great time for maintenance. I’ve cleaned up my Dropbox, updated all my active gamedev repos and moved them to Github, cleaned out my Pocket/Youtube/Netflix/podcast queues, got a new business bank account, wrote a license agreement/work-for-hire contract template, and set up my new home office – oh yeah, somewhere in here we also moved into the house we bought.
And, as if I didn’t have enough to do, I’ve made a start on reworking my comic Off-Stage for Instagram/Webtoons. The standard A4 page layout has served me just fine, but it doesn’t really work in this increasingly mobile-first world anymore. And there have been times where I felt restricted in how much I could stuff into one of those pages, some scenes need more space to breathe, so I’m excited to see what new freedoms this more flexible layout will give me. For now, it’s mostly a pain in my ass because not everything can be reworked very easily ha.
So, that’s a lot to take in. It felt good to write, but did it feel good to read? Got any preferences for projects I should spend my time on? Nice lifehacks? Cool games or shows I should check out? Other tips, tricks, thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know!