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Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Report Card: 2015
Posted: 12:38:00 AM 0 comments
I often do a "Year in Review", but this year I thought I'd change it up a bit. Last year, in addition to reviewing what happened the previous year, I added some goals for 2015. This year, instead of just reviewing what happened last year and adding the goals, I figured I would also add in a kind of "report card", where I grade myself on how I did towards those goals from the previous year.

I'll be honest. These goals stayed with me all year long. When I thought about what I want to do, I compared that to my goals. Having goals I actually thought about has made me learn a bit more about myself than I knew before.

So, without further ado, here's the 2015 report card!


2015 Goal: Complete and release full versions of "All In My Head" and "Paper"

There's no beating around the bush here, neither of these goals happened. In fact, I was musically silent for the first half of the year. I did, however, come out with three different pieces of music, but none of them were original works.

In 2015, I started a podcast with Dr. Zing and Morfod called the Self-Destruct Sequence Podcast, which is a podcast all about Descent. Dr. Zing kind of dropped off the face of the Internet a few months ago, but Morfod and I picked it back up late last year, and have been having fun with the episodes this year. I mention this in the music section because when we were putting the first episode together, we wanted to have some Descenty music, and I delivered in a big way.

Our title music, Self Destruct Sequence, is a remake of the level 1 music, while our outro, Mars Processing Sequence, is a remake of the level 8 music. Both had electronic elements, and two guitar tracks each that I performed myself. This is the first time I've actually been happy with guitar tracks that I've created, especially the lead guitar parts. Hopefully I can take my experience from this and translate that into better guitar tracks in my music in the future.

The third piece was something I couldn't get out of my head, a piano cover of the song "The Wight to Remain" by Danny Baranowsky, which is best known as the music to Zone 4 Level 3 in the game Crypt of the NecroDancer. This has always been a beautiful track to me, and could be the launching point of a piano-only soundtrack to the game, if I get so inspired to complete some day. I even put the song's score up on if you so desire to try to play it yourself.

So while I kept the dust off of my music, I didn't do what I set out to do. At all. I tried to work on "Paper" once, but couldn't get any inspiration for the one part I still don't have a working idea for. Maybe that will change in 2016, but unfortunately, this gets poor marks this year.

2015 Grade: D

2016 Goal: Complete and release full versions of "All In My Head" and "Paper". For real this time.


2015 Goal: Finish the updated site

Well, you're looking at it, baby. I'm still quite proud of this accomplishment, and it really took a load off my shoulders last year when I completed it. It's even gotten a few updates since that fixed some bugs and added (and, sadly, removed) some features.

So with the main 2015 goal accomplished, what else have I done in 2015? A quick glance at my GitHub profile shows I've contributed to Descent's DXX-Retro source port (this was the mouse fix), and started a series of Descent 3 tools written in node.js, including the rebirth of Descent DSN. However, in recent months, coding's not exactly been a priority to me.

The main project I have going right now is getting Six Gaming's official website off the ground. It is going to be started pretty much directly from with a Six Gaming theme. At first it's just going to be a static page with links pointing to most of our presence on social media. Later, it will include episode-specific links for the Six Gaming Podcast, and the final version will be a full fledged social site where people can come to find other people with whom to play games they enjoy.

So 2015 was good, and 2016 has a clear goal. Looks good to me!

2015 Grade: A

2016 Goal: Finish the Six Gaming site


2015 Goal: Grow Six Gaming into a bigger and more general gaming community

So at the beginning of 2015, I had this great idea to make Six Gaming a big community, not just for World of Warcraft, but for all the games we play. Over the years, we found that many of the gamers in Six Minutes To Release enjoyed other games as well, so it made sense to want to cater to that while keeping the close-knit community we've created from the core members of the guild over the previous 7 years.

Two major events accelerated this goal to fruition. First, Showsan got the jump on me. When he returned from his service in the military, he came in and lit a fire under everyone. He basically rebooted the Six Gaming Podcast, gave it a new format and new life. Since then, we've added a ton of cohosts that bring their own unique perspective on the games that we are playing. The Podcast has stayed fresh and has been enjoyable because of it, and we recently completed our 100th episode, which we call... Episode 48. Don't ask.

Second, Warlords of Draenor happened. What a bad expansion! I would rehash what I've already written, but suffice to say that not much has changed, and on top of it we're looking at another 6-8 months until Legion, which will make a 12-14 month content drought, similar to the one at the end of Mists of Pandaria, and exactly what the devs previously said they didn't want to do. Add in their stance on flying, and I honestly couldn't tell you if I trust Blizzard to get WoW right anymore. Legion is their last chance to get it right for me, and until then I am probably going to be doing some different things.

Like Descent. Descent: Underground made it known that Descent still exists for a lot of people, and despite the issues they are having (a topic for a future blog post), I am genuinely excited for a release of a new Descent game, even if it's not by the same people who gave us the first three. Naturally, a new Descent game has raised interest in the original games, and Descent 1, 2, and 3 have all seen an uptick in activity.

Case in point is the Descent Champions Ladder. It went from 1,408 games played in the fall 2013 season, down to 938 games in spring 2014, and down further to only 504 games in fall 2014. At the end of that season, Descent: Underground was announced, and the spring 2015 season saw a massive ressurgance with 2,218 games played. The late 2015 season, which was only 3 months, had 1,416 games played, and not even 3 weeks into early 2016 we have 510 games played.

Playing Descent again has been awesome, and has inspired me to learn a new control scheme. I used to be all keyboard, and now I do mouse and keyboard. I play at the high bronze/low silver level on the DCL currently, but I feel I have a lot to learn about the game both mechanically and philosophically.

I've also been involved with the Crypt of the NecroDancer community, racing most recently in CoNDUIT 7, and will be playing again on CoNDUIT 8 on the 29th. I'm not that great, which is why I'm in the "junior" league, but it's still a whole lot of fun getting some competition in. I still need to complete story mode and an all characters run to unlock Coda (I have no false impressions that I will BEAT Coda, mind you), so there's still plenty of room for improvement. I'm mainly known for having the Bard Deathless world record at 112 wins, and have performed fairly well at deathless mode with a few other characters as well.

I've also done a ton of streaming on Twitch. While I've stopped playing League of Legends, I still stream things such as my DCL games, Crypt of the NecroDancer runs, and even some Sublevel Zero speedruns. Basically, if I play it, it ends up on Twitch at some point.

Gaming has become a central part of what I do. I play a wide variety of games, involve myself in the Six Gaming, Descent, and Crypt of the NecroDancer communities, do two weekly podcasts involving games, and stream many times a week. I don't see this slowing down in the near future, so the only thing to do in 2016 is embrace it.

I have plans to start a regular Descent-themed competition show on Twitch, and am most interested in growing my stream large enough to get partnered. I don't think partnering will happen this year, but I at least want to get started. I've played with some ideas for growing my YouTube channel as well, but nothing's really stuck, but I'll keep trying.

2015 Grade: A+

2016 Goal: Substantially increase my streaming presence on Twitch


2015 Goal: Get back to the Bay Area at least once

I think I nailed this one, at least in text. However, my experience thus far has been... less than ideal.

So instead of taking a trip to the Bay Area, I actually MOVED out here. In October, I packed my things, drove West a few days, and settled into the Belmont area. Central to everything, I've done... nearly nothing since I've gotten here. Sure, I've ventured to Pier 39 in the city, finally ate some Iguanas down in San Jose, and have occasionally taken in some of the area's scenic routes, I've yet to really do something... defining when it comes to the Bay Area. Seriously, I've seen more of the Bay Area the last time Kathy and I came out here in February 2013.

This is compounded by the fact that many of the people I knew and hung out with here are gone. One of the reasons I gave for moving out here was to be close to people I knew and give myself opportunities to "get out" every so often. I have done that a grand total of zero times since I got here.

There have been several reasons why I haven't really capitalized on my new living situation. The first is that I work remotely, yet am wanting to work locally. My job in Houston allowed me to work remotely when I told them I was moving and giving what I thought was going to be my two weeks. While the remote working part of the job has been going okay, I know through my experience with Sift that this isn't something I want to do forever. I have been really slow on advancing this agenda, however.

Second is that I've found myself in somewhat of a funk recently. I can't really put my finger on why, just that I find that I don't have the energy to do a whole lot since just before Christmas. My focus has been poor in coding-related projects, and I don't really feel that I've "settled in" very well. I don't at all regret making this move, in fact I think it's the best thing I've done for myself in a long time. However, I need to really break out of whatever it is that's causing me to, for lack of a better description, lose time doing nothing.

So, yeah, I made it out here, but... what next? Well, the first thing is going to be transitioning to a local job. Even before then, though, I need to find a way to get more active again. I have a plan, it's just acting on it - or more accurately getting over what's preventing me from acting on it - is proving challenging.

I hate these lethargic, stagnant days. I've had them before and have gotten past them, and have no doubt I will again. But the time until that happens can be downright depressing some days.

Oh, and there's this house thing. Yeah, we want a house. Soon.

2015 Grade: C

2016 Goal: Get more active, find local employment, and begin planning moving into a house


I've had an up and down year for sure. I recognize that my strongest point currently is with gaming, and recently that has been the outlet I go to in order to unwind and have a good time. I also find enjoyment in coding, but need to find a way to motivate myself to finish projects like I did with While my music still remains on the back burner, I am doing my best to keep sharp and avoid going flat... okay, I'll stop with the music puns! I recognize that I need to make some changes in order to improve my quality of life in my new surroundings, and am hoping that I can get those taken care of quickly.

2015 Overall Grade: B

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