[Next year] is almost upon us, and I thought I’d give [current year] a proper send-off by going through the various highlights and disappointments I encountered in the past 12 months.

Work

👍 We’re getting there

We’ve made steady progress on the game and the launch of the eighth Starborne alpha test was a major milestone. With the open beta on the horizon and some new faces in the team it’s really starting to feel like we’ve entered the homestretch. I’ve also reached most of the goals I set out to accomplish this year and I’m pleased to report that I’ve been promoted to the role of Producer.

👎 Crunch Time

I was doing 70-hour weeks for about 3 months during the lead up to Alpha 8 as a result of inadequate planning and unrealistic deadlines. While I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished, it’s not something I see myself doing again. I consumed a record amount of alcohol during this period and I severely underestimated the consequences, resulting in me getting absolutely nothing done in December due to a complete lack of energy and motivation.

Starborne

👍 This KPI

We’ve successfully launched our final alpha test in October and the results are promising. Our monetization KPIs have more than tripled in some areas since the last test and the user acquisition is becoming more sustainable.

👎 That KPI

Our retention rate did not see the increase we anticipated, and we’ve discovered severe design flaws in the mid and endgame. While fixable, seeing these issue surface so close to the open beta is concerning.

Tech

👍 Gigabyte Aero 15X

6 cores, a gimped GTX 1070, a 144hz display and a solid keyboard in a package portable enough to carry from and to the office every day. It also has good I/O and a 94wh battery, making this laptop a top choice for content creators on the go.

👍 Huawei Mate20 Pro

I’m not really a power user on mobile, but the battery life on my Galaxy S6 got so bad I thought I’d give it an upgrade. This thing lasts me two full days off a single charge. Apparently the camera is quite good as well, but I rarely take pictures so I can’t really say.

👍 NordVPN

Circumventing geo blocks, government censorship, regional pricing and having the peace of mind while browsing is definitely worth the cost of a Spotify subscription.

👎 Sony PlayStation Classic

Sony did the bare minimum jumping on the classic console bandwagon by including controllers without analog sticks, limited hardware, and a questionable selection of games running on an open source emulator. The latter may be a saving grace though as it enables you to play games off of a thumb drive with little effort.

Shows

👍 The Man in the High Castle

While not a new series, season 3 aired this year. Set in a divided postwar America where the axis powers won the war, the show features great storylines, interesting characters and fierce political shenanigans. Definitely worth a watch if you’re into the setting!

👍 A Place further than the Universe

This is a show about a teenager who wants to make the most out of her youth and teams up with three other girls to join an expedition headed towards the Antarctic. The characters have a great chemistry and the story’s premise of getting out there to just do something really hit home for me.

👍 Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Unfortunately, the title is complete clickbait and it’s not about a bunny girl. The show instead features a charming cast of teenagers dealing with supernatural puberty symptoms backed by a strong set of protagonists who develop a wonderful relationship with each other over the course of the series.

👎 Goblin Slayer

Goblin Slayer is a gritty series about slaying goblins. If you were a fan of Log Horizon, you may enjoy this too as the show focuses around the strategy of slaying goblins and the execution thereof quite a bit. That said, there’s a gratuitous amount of violence and the tasteless depiction of rape makes the series feel unnecessarily edgy.

Games

👍 Octopath Traveler

This modern reimagination of JRPG classics prominently features a beautiful artstyle, tight battle mechanics and an amazing soundtrack. While the main plot is not as focused as you’d expect, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of the genre.

👍 Valkyria Chronicles 4

The SRPG series from Sega finally received another mainline entry, and after playing the disappointing Valkyria Revolution spin-off I’m pleased to report that it was worth the wait. The game plays like Valkyria Chronicles 1.1, and if you were a fan of the original you’ll feel right at home.

👍 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The hype is real. This is the definite Smash Bros. experience with an absurd amount of content.

👎 Mario Tennis Aces

While the core tennis mechanics are solid, a general lack of content, severe balancing issues and the usual Nintendo Online Experience™  made this title fall flat.

👎 Kingdom Come: Deliverance

“A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” The potential is there, and I may revisit it 20 patches down the line, but it’s such a damn shame the game was rushed out the door like this. Full review here.

Worldly Events

👍 GDPR

Europe!

👍 SpaceX doing cool stuff

Spaceflight continues to fascinate me and I can’t help but feel hopeful about the distant future every time I see Earth from space.

👎 Article 13

Europe?

👎 Dysfunctional Governments

The dumpster fires continue to burn, and lawmakers being completely out of touch with the people they’re supposed to represent is being tolerated at a disturbing rate across the world.

3.5
Good
2018 [IRL]
TL;DR
2018 was a solid year. It went better than expected and the surprises were mostly welcome, although we’ll have to wait until 2019 to see the implications. Happy new year!
Kudos
Celia
Egill
Alex