Wow, the end of 2015 is quickly coming to a close and as such I thought I would write my annual blog post. I am doing it a bit earlier this year as I just come back from watching Star Wars and I am on a high (I’m genuinely excited to go and see it again next week… might see if there are any tickets to see it tomorrow night).

So yeah 2015. It has been a hell of a ride.

Lets start with work.

All year work wise has been pretty busy which is good.

It was a bit hit and miss in the first half of the year, working on a project that I didn’t really feel I was adding value to and one team member who felt like he wanted to find reasons to criticize me every chance they got. It was not great and to the teams credit, we were thrown into a less than ideal situation with a bit of a lackluster codebase, but hey you just gotta get on with it. The experience was positive overall though. I did learn a few soft skills about working as a team and how to deal with situations and some code skills about the choices you make when you decide to architect software and the old question of “if a junior came on the team, would they understand it”. A lot of things learned about how the project can be affected in the long run by decisions made at the start.

The second half of the year has been better with moving on to a different project. The work has been tough and sometimes unreasonable and it has been the biggest most complex project I have worked on to date, however the team we have are great. The project has been a roller coaster but again it has overall been positive.

I have managed to get my teeth into some complex stuff where sometimes I made a few mistakes along the way which I  have learned from and other places where I am pretty proud of what I did and where I have come from.

We also have done team code reviews on most of our commits which helps to make our code quality good, but is also there to teach us ways to approach solutions.

I have also been lucky enough to have one of the best team leads on this project too, who I have learned a truck load of stuff from.

I have also realised that there are things that need to be sorted right at the start when dealing with projects of this caliber. As I said, it has been tough and there have been a variety of problems that we still need to solve and probably won’t be solved on this project, but we have identified them and hopefully we can solve SOME of them in the next project right at the get go.

The final thing I have learned at work is sometimes you have to kick up a bit of a fuss. Not an unreasonable amount, but if there is something that is genuinely a problem or wrong, then it is worth making stuff known to people as they can help you do something about it. I have seen a couple of spineless people moan about stuff, discontent by their jobs because of it and assume it will never be fixed. This is wrong, if there is something up, mention it someone. If it is something with a particular person though, highlight t with them first though, don’t go telling other people behind their back. It is kinda week.

Lets move on to the hols I had and more life stuff. I was lucky enough to get 3 in this year with an awesome trip skiing in Switzerland, followed by a trip to the Norfolk Broads for some boating and then the Carribean for some sailing and snorkling. I still haven’t really overcome my fear of big Carribean sea creatures though.

It is good I got  have those hols this year as some of them are looking unlikely next year. Which is not a bad thing as it is partly due to me buying a flat (with a lot of help). One already fell through some £800 later after a bit of estate agent misrepresentation, however I found a better one and hopefully I will be moving in during the early part of next year if all goes smoothly (there is a lot that can screw up between making an offer and getting the keys).

One interesting life thing I learned though is that as you get older, sometimes relationships with others fall apart. This can happen for various reasons. Maybe you realise that this person has been like that forever and to be fair it is not someone you want around anymore or maybe you are doing well at something and they are resentful, or vice versa. I went through that with someone who I had known for a very long time, and unfortunately after a bit of unacceptable unpleasantness, some of it through actions towards myself and to others, I decided it was time to part ways. I understand why it happened, but it was still hard as it was someone quite integrated in my group of friends I have known for a very long time.

I have had a rethink of stuff regarding my personal projects as well. Since around 2012, when I though I ha come up with my masterpiece, I had been hung up on one game idea. I put a lot of time into prototyping it out and going through various iterations, but in the end it is a pipe dream. And after playing through games, reading manga, books and watching movies, I have re-evaluated what kind of games I want to make and what influences I want to draw from (it is mainly space and big robots).

And finally, video games. I think I have played more games or at least finished more games than I ever have before. I finally finished a numbered Final Fantasy – FFX which took me 10 years and 3 platforms to complete and Persona 4. There have been some masterpieces with Metal Gear Solid V, Fallout 4 and Xenoblade Chronicles X and some disappointments which I will give another chance in the new year with games like Witcher 3 and Tales of Zestria. At least I know, I still love playing video games and appreciate all the love, blood, sweat and tears that goes into them, and I am still thankful for being in the industry today, even after 3 years of the realities of development versus my original preconceptions as a fresh faced student 😛

I still have my last day of work for the year tomorrow and the Christmas period to come, however I can outright say that 2015 has been one of the best years of my life. Fine not all of it has been pleasant and I may have not met all the goals this year (one of which I am sure a certain someone will pick up on yet again… I am trying but internet dating is hard! 😉 ), but all of it has been overall positive. I have learnt a lot about myself, about others and still realise there is (hopefully) a lot more to go and to try and make every day as if it is your last, do what YOU want to do, not what is expected of you and enjoy everything you do. Otherwise, what the hell is it all for?

Anyway, thanks for reading and thanks for a great year! Now it is 2am… I should probably go to bed 😉



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