Tag Archives: year reviews

2015 Review

“2015…I have no idea what’s going to go down, but it’s going to be an adventure, I’m sure of it!”

That’s what I wrote at the end of last year’s review, and oh was it ever true. This year has been a non-stop whirlwind. I remember back at the ETC in our first semester we had “Adventure Modules” that we had to partake in and write about. One of the lessons picked up was that adventures aren’t always fun – an adventure implies some level of danger, and the risk of getting hurt is just part of the package.

I did SO much in 2015. Quite probably too much, and I’m not even sure how to approach dividing this up. I’ll just dump memories as they come to me, I guess, because I’m having trouble with more thoughtful writing.

Continue reading 2015 Review

2013 Review

This year was full of many adventures and exciting times. I feel kind of like it was a ramp-up, and that 2014 might explode…but for good or for awesome? Only time will tell. Here’s a few memories from 2013.

 

Work

At work, we finally revealed the project that I’d been working on since Resistance 3 shipped, that being Sunset Overdrive. It felt great to be able to share the trailer with the world, and I worked on many things for the first half of the year, both exciting and challenging. However, during the summer, I made a transition to working on something else that was more of a process experiment. I will be able to talk about that in more detail, soon, but the second half of 2013 was incredibly refreshing and fulfilling, work-wise. I continue to be ever grateful for Insomniac and my job as a game designer. Meanwhile, I’ve turned up the networking knob a bit for 2013, partially under the encouragement of Nick, and have been more active in reaching out and connecting with my fellow game devs, through the internet or Game Dev Drinkups or whathaveyou.

 

Pets

Mr. Davis has had some ups and downs this year. He had to have some teeth pulled at the very beginning of the year, and then had a frightening bout with pancreatitis which has unfortunately turned into a chronic condition. However, in his normal day-to-day life he remains happy, and continues to be a valued source of unconditional love in my life.

 

Personal

Nick and I moved in together this year! So far it has been wonderful, and Mr. Davis is also happy about the arrangement. Meanwhile, I feel like I’ve had a lot of insights this year, and forged deeper bonds with friends and mentors. Whenever I review it in my mind I feel an overflowing of love and gratitude, and I’d like to take part of 2014 to express these feelings in a more overt way. Financially, I continue to plug away at the student loan, and if all goes as planned, it should be gone by the end of 2014! Hobby-wise, playing League of Legends and watching e-sports has only been on the rise. As far as games played, I’ll save my top 5 games of 2013 for another post.

 

Side Projects

I got involved in more out-of-work projects this year, including a few game jams and my first solo Ludum Dare. I also buckled down and participated in National Novel Writing Month, which is something I’d always meant to do but put off. Not only was I successful, but I opened some manner of portal in my brain and a giant story is trying to squeeze its way out. I have been honestly surprised at how consuming the experience has been. 2014 will see it out into the world. In other side projects, I made an effort to work more non-fiction into my reading rotation, and feel like I’ve absorbed all kinds of interesting new bits of knowledge as a result. Mentoring continues to be a part of my time, both through Game Mentor Online and through connecting directly with students via my various alma maters, as is photography at the animal shelter.

 

Health

This year I felt like I was more successful than ever with consistently riding my bike to work. Nick and I also established a frequent hiking habit which has been beneficial. And ever since moving into the new apartment, I have been walking a lot more on a regular basis. I feel really good about myself right now, but have an antsy urge to get harder/better/faster/stronger, just because. I think it is a desire to channel the blossoming of energy that I’ve felt grow inside of me this year, possibly as a result of all the side projects.

 

I have a sensation that 2014 is going to be full of creative energy and positive relationships, and I am excited and curious and wiggling with anticipation for whatever surprises it may have in store for me.

2012 Review

2013 is already ramping up, so I’d better get my wrap-up post under way! 2012 was a busy and exciting time at work, and though I can’t talk about specifics as my project is still super secret, I will say that I feel I’ve stretched out my feelers into new responsibilities, and thus learned lots of new and exciting things and brushed up on a few older skills that were lying dormant.

I also got more involved with the next generation of game developers in a couple of different ways. I started volunteering as a mentor for Game Mentor Online, and have had a wonderful experience with that. I also did some traveling and “educating the youth” visits throughout the year. I find I really do enjoy helping someone find their path and teaching them what I can, just in small sessions or with one person at a time 🙂 This trend will likely continue – I’ve picked up a second mentee through GMO this year and am scheduled to talk to some girl scouts about working in games in February.

2012 Marked my 10th year of blogging, which boggled my mind somewhat! To celebrate, I started up my daily doodle blog, which I’m not sure counts since there is no writing involved and everything is scheduled months in advance. All the same, it was a thing. In spite of the anniversary year, my blog was pretty quiet in 2012, filled with recipes more than anything else. I’ll see if I can remedy that for 2013, and I’m also contemplating moving to WordPress from Blogger. Still undecided.

Last year was also my start as a volunteer with Sante D’or, which is the shelter where I adopted Mr. Davis. I’d wanted to get involved in volunteering somewhere for awhile, and had been keeping up with the group on Facebook, so I dove right in and started visiting the shelter regularly to photograph the residents. The experience benefited me twofold – I love to help snuggle and care for all the shelter kitties, and I feel it’s also helped me improve my photography skills.

Not too shabby for my first year as a “for reals” adult (according to little kid Lisa, 30 was a grown-up). 2013 has many ambitions of its own, so onward!

10 years!

Holy crap, it is the 10th anniversary of my blog!  I started writing 10 years ago today in my Livejournal, chronicling random thoughts and college adventures.

And here I am today, continuing to chronicle random thoughts and adventures.  And also recipes.  Lots and lots of recipes.

What will this blog hold 10 years from now??

2011 Review

– This year included a lot of adventuring around LA, what with my do-one-free-thing-in-LA-each month goal.  I definitely discovered some fantastic local festivals that I want to attend again, like the Kite festival and Shakespeare in Griffith Park.  It got me on the metro and around the city more, and I feel a little more informed about this place because of it.

– This was also like the year of e-sports for me.  Spurred on by my enthusiasm from last year’s Blizzcon, I got very involved in watching the NASL matches, staying up late with Nick to watch GSL finals, watching MLG events, and going to some tournaments (NASL finals for seasons 1 and 2, MLG Anaheim, and Blizzcon).  It has been great fun, if not incredibly nerdy.

– On the game development front, Resistance 3 shipped this year!  My first grown-up-game-designer cred!  Hooray!  I also started writing for Mike Acton’s blog, #AltDevBlogADay, which has been really fun and successful.  Indiecade this year was once again thwarted by sickness, alas!  But I did do a games-related podcast this year, and was a guest speaker via Google Hangout for a college game design club.

– I managed to go the entire year without a visit back to Kentucky until Christmastime, and I nearly went crazy from homesickness.  It’s amazing to me how recharging I find Kentucky.  As soon as I set foot outside the airport, I feel its energy rushing up through me, and I always leave feeling refreshed and renewed.  So, for my health, I’ll be making some extra visits in 2012.

– Unfortunately, 2011 is winding to a close on a very sickly note.  Poor Nick got terribly sick when he got to Kentucky, and since returning to LA I’ve been nursing him, so no extravagant New Year’s Eve party for us.  Eh, no matter, I’m in a low-key sort of mood anyway.

In general, 2011 has been very straightforward, “business as usual.”  Lots of cooking, cat-walking, starcraft-watching, game-making, and other such common day-to-day activities in my life.  It felt hearty, like I got a lot of sustained mental nutrition out of the year, if that makes any sense.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to what 2012 will bring, and hoping that one thing will be less sickly-times for my boyfriend.  Onward!

2010 Review

– 2010 was a very social year. Granted, a lot of it was geeky socializing (Venture Brothers marathon, D&D, board game night, frisbee golf, Magic the Gathering, craft fairs, crawfish festivals) but I was still probably more regularly socially active than I’ve ever been in my life.

– Goal 1 for 2010 was “Get a Cat,” and so I did! Mr. Davis has become a beloved member of my family and a huge part of my life. He is simultaneously the most affectionate cat I’ve ever had while also being the most headstrong, and I love him very much. I miss his snuggly face and can’t wait to get back to it!

– Goal 2 for 2010 was “Go to Japan,” and thanks to the generosity of host and friend, Scott Coffrin, I had another short but AMAZING trip to the country. I really do love that place.

– The biggest bonus for the year was starting my relationship with Nick, my awesome boyfriend. Last year’s review noted how I was putting off the attempts of dating, and it wasn’t long after that I found someone. Turns out all I had to do to find someone amazing was stop looking, and he came into my life 🙂

– I joined a CSA, which is a small note, but one which I’m proud of (both in that I’m supporting local farmers and doing more experimental cooking, and that I’m actually eating vegetables now).

– 2010 was a big year for me at work. My team was tasked with creating our level into a demo for Sony, and trying to get it to a polished state as a visual high bar for the rest of the game. If you’ve seen the recent stuff for Resistance 3 with the gameplay on the boat, that’s my level! It was a big challenge but a fun one, and my awesomesauce team really pulled together and made something great and fun. It was really exciting when we hit that milestone, and it’s even more exciting now that gameplay from my level is out and about in the world.

– I started playing Starcraft II, went to Blizzcon, and discovered I really like watching RTS games in a tournament setting.

– I visited home and educated the youth about game development, and then turned around and went to another fantastic Project Horseshoe.

– Didn’t get home for Thanksgiving, but had a really fun Orphan Thanksgiving Dinner in Burbank.

– Had a fantastic winter break! First of all, I am ever grateful to work for a company that is not in education and still has a Christmas Break! Second, it was really fun to bring Nick to Kentucky and show off my hometown and introduce him to my family and my most beloved of friends. Showing Louisville to someone who had never been made me look at it through the eyes of a newcomer, and it made the whole experience of being at home feel fresh.

– Meanwhile, I’m finishing off the break with a crazy relaxing time in Sarasota. Many a day I have slept in, and upon waking, reached for my laptop and spent hours WoWing in bed, which is like having breakfast in bed only way nerdier. We’ve had strolls on the beach and met up with Nick’s family and friends, and just mostly chilled. I feel very relaxed and ready to jump back into the swing of work next week.

Maybe it’s a little out of form to post my year review before 2011 has fully rung in, but I anticipate a relaxing evening, some socializing with Nick’s old friends, and then falling asleep in the laziest of fashions. I’m really excited about what the next year has in store!

Decade in Review

I’ve seen lots of these go around, and in spite of being a year short, they seem fun and insightful. It’s certainly a nice way to scope one’s accomplishments in the long term.

So, Lisa’s Accomplishments in the Past Decade…

1) Graduated from High School

2) Ran the longest (and probably most enjoyable) D&D campaign I’ve ever been involved in

3) Went to and graduated from Centre College, stuffing my brain 4 years full of liberal arts experience and knowledge

4) Learned to paint with oils, painting many pieces therewith

5) Became a glassblower, and spent several years in the intense artistry of working with hot glass, making many pieces in the process

6) Took a computer science class on a whim, having no prior programming experience, and ended up double majoring in it

7) Ate sushi for the first time

8) Started my Livejournal

9) Immersed myself in the world of theater tech, ultimately becoming a props and puppet designer

10) Went to England and saw 30 plays in 3 and a half weeks, all over the country

11) Built a glass furnace from the ground up

12) Sold my first art

13) Used Napster

14) Won an award for the comic I drew for the college newspaper.

15) Got a job in regional theater building props

16) Ate my first lobster

17) Quit the theater

18) Had my first romantic relationship

19) Began keeping betta fish

20) Became a web developer

21) Got a job at the high school from which I graduated

22) Got my first apartment and spent 2 awesome years living there with Scott

23) Helped out on a number of independent animation projects, as producer and occasional animator

24) Started playing World of Warcraft

25) Went to Japan

26) Started a video game club for the students at an all-girls high school

27) Applied to, was accepted to, and eventually graduated from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center with a Masters Degree

28) Found my calling as a game designer

29) Started a career

30) Lived in and visited cities all across the United States, including Louisville, Danville, KY, Stockbridge, MA, Westbrook and New Haven, CT, Pittsburgh, New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, TX, Orlando, and probably a few others that I’m inevitably forgetting.

Phew! I did a lot in 10 years!

2009 Review

On my birthday last year, I made the mental note that 27 was going to be a good year, and it turned out to be true! I feel like I have grown leaps and bounds in just one year, and I’m very grateful for everything that has happened thus far. Let’s sum up 2009…

– I opened the year in the most restful of ways: a self-imposed 2 week sleep experiment, wherein I slept as much as I wanted and when I wanted. I not only caught up on much needed rest, but learned a good deal about myself and my biological needs, enough to no longer feel guilty about sleeping too much. In a way, it was a means of forgiving myself. I have since become much more accepting of myself and my peculiar lack of energy and rest needs. It’s amazing how simply not feeling guilty about something can change so much!

– I finished off my last semester at the ETC with a game design internship at Schell Games, working on unannounced projects and doing design work on the Disney Fairies MMO. My time at Schell was amazing and full of fun and good learning. I think my favorite thing about the company is the commraderie of its employees, the quality of which I haven’t run into any place else. Schell Trek, our some-months-long lunch time Star Trek marathon, complete with trivia quizzes and pez dispenser prizes, was probably the best illustration of this. Not a lunch went by where the Schell Games lounge wasn’t packed full of studio devs, anxious to watch that day’s specially chosen episode. It was a fanatastic close to the spring. I love you Schell Games!

– The spring of 2009 also saw a lot of my time spent volunteering at Animal Friends, an animal shelter local to Pittsburgh. The relationships I developed with the animals there greatly improve my quality of life. I am anxious to get back to shelter volunteering now that I’m in LA, but when I moved out here, all the volunteer orientations for the local shelters were full. I’ll have to wait until later this January to get back into the swing of it. Volunteering in some capacity, I think, is an important part of my life that I am often prone to neglect.

– 2009 also saw my feeble attempt at internet dating. Spurred on by the recommendations and success stories of friends, I gave OKCupid a try, figuring a little social education couldn’t hurt. I talked with a variety of folks, went on a smattering of dates, but it all confirmed that, while it works wonders for others, internet dating is NOT for me. I eventually identified it as a major stressor in my life, so I isolated and DESTROYED it (i.e. deleted my profile) and I am happier because of it. Dating still sounds like a chore to me right now, so I’m putting it off for a more appropriate time.

– The biggest event of my life this year (besides graduating and getting my Masters degree) was my accepting the game designer position at Insomniac and moving across the country to Burbank. Some people are all about following their dreams and all that, but if you’d have asked me even 5 years ago if I expected to be working in video game development and living in Los Angeles, you would have received the blankest of stares. People have frequently exclaimed at my good fortune that I am “living my dream,” but while that seems to fit the perception of others, it’s not really true for me in the sense that this was never really a childhood dream of mine. I just happened to stumble into it, and realize that I’d finally found the thing to make me happy! Regardless of the route, the destination was the same: I LOVE what I’m doing, and I’m grateful every day for the position I have found myself in. I hope to be making games for a long time to come!

– As I have done every few years, I have been watching through Fullmetal Alchemist again, this time with Josh. FMA is by far my favorite anime of all time, and I love to share it with people who have never seen it. I hear from Scott that Brotherhood is fantastic, and hope to pick it up after I finish my run through of the original. Hulu, you bring us such wonders!

– I closed off 2009, as I have in the past, with wonderful, restful times spent with family and friends. Ballermas in Louisville (which I consider to have spanned all the days of my visit) was full of delicious food and fun games and happy puppies and wonderful friends. My dearest Louisville friends, I always keep you close in my heart! It was so good to see all of you! Similarly, I rung in the New Year in Pittsburgh with the ETCers, and did a lot of crazy, cross-cultural New Years traditions, including running across the street and back with luggage in one hand and cash in the other. Let’s hope it brings me prosperity and safe travels! I also spent a huge portion of time backseat gaming while Andy played Assassin’s Creed II, but that is a post in and of itself.

Anyway, I hope that 2010 brings adventure and opportunity to everyone! Happy New Year!