One Year Retrospective

Posted On: 2019-09-30

By Mark

It has been one year since I began this journey of full-time game development. It is an occasion full of emotions - awe, pride, disappointment. I've accomplished a great deal, but it's hard to see that when blinded by the glare from all the things left to do. As such, this seems to be the ideal topic for today's post: what has been accomplished, and what still remains?


Whenever I think of accomplishments over the past year, A Notebook Prototype immediately jumps to mind. Of all that I've done, that by far is the work I am most proud of. This is somewhat unsurprising - over the course of the year I've only released three publicly visible works:

While I am proud of each of them, A Notebook Prototype was the realization of two dreams I'd had for several years: creating a game with a complete story and creating a game with the Notebook mechanic*. Being able to realize both those dreams at once was, frankly, inspirational. The larger project I am working is quite ambitious, so realizing my dreams in A Notebook Prototype was a key part of getting to a place where I actually believed I could achieve it.


In the past six months, quite a bit of what I implemented still hasn't seen the light of day*. The most prominent of these is a mechanic that is something of a counterpoint to the game's combat - something that that, together with the combat, will (hopefully) form the foundation for the rest of the work. I have also implemented several systems, from saving world state to tracking NPC opinions, some of which are longer-term goals than others. Importantly, I've implemented all of this in the structure intended for the final project, which should serve to validate that this new structure brings the maintainability benefits that were intended. On the non-technical side of things, I've created several resources that are intended to serve as long-term reference to communicate tone and design - including character art, environment art, and music.

Looking Forward

Regarding what I will aim to accomplish in the coming year - the first and most critical of these is the next prototype. I still don't have any estimate for when it will be available, but it is the focus of all of my work at this time. As such, I don't want to make any long term plans quite yet: once I have the chance to get feedback on the new mechanics, I will be in a much better position to project into the future.


Thank you for reading this retrospective of my first year developing games full time. If you've been reading alongside me this whole year, you have my deepest gratitude for joining me on this ambitious (crazy?) adventure. I hope that you continue with me in the future, whether that's reading along or playing my games. As always, I am happy to hear your thoughts and feedback, so, if you have any, please let me know.