The Elemeeple on Solo Gaming

A blog and YouTube channel about solo boardgames: reviews, playthroughs, and the occasional rant.
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Tacking Into the Wind

Ava Jarvis
United States
Bainbridge Island
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I've debated on whether to post this on Rediscovering the Joy of Gaming or here, but this blog has more posts in it, so what the heck, let's post here.

For several months now I've spent quite a lot of time trying to determine what I want to do, as opposed to what I think I must do in order to survive. I've trimmed sails, cut back on expenses severely, had nightmares about the money running out, and...

... then I went to BGG❤FAM, which is perhaps the very opposite of cutting back on expenses. But I'd already registered for it back in November when things were a bit... less bad maybe (it's so hard to tell sometimes) and the plane tickets and hotel were already accounted for, so off I went.

And continued to wonder, and worry, but I enjoyed myself quite thoroughly regardless.

When I got home, it took a few days for the inspiration to hit, but I realized (and this is something that is perhaps rather obvious):

I love board games.

Board gaming is in many ways more than just a hobby for me. It was, and continues to be, a life line. Whether I'm gaming by myself or gaming with other people, board games have always kept me alive.

So I began to wonder if I couldn't somehow do something involving board games for a living. I know various designers and publishers, and have an outstanding invitation to the Gathering. It's kind of a small place to work from, but it's better than trying to be yet another full stack developer on the island.

Of course, I know that board game design and board game publishing are not up my alley.

But software development is. Almost eleven years of it, in one of the toughest environments outside of the game industry.

I haven't developed games before, but I'm plenty sharp enough to learn, and learn very quickly. Starting from zero game development knowledge I've already managed, in maybe 12 hours, to develop a little application that deals cards on my iOS devices and my desktop. It's eventually going to become a shorter version of Mah Jongg that can be played two-player.

(No, not that tile-matching game. This Mah Jongg.)

This game, I'm going to take it to the very limit so I can show at some convention or other (is it too much to hope I can hold out until the next Gathering?) what I'm capable of doing. I want to implement all the bells and whistles to make it an endearing experience in terms of animations and music. I want it to deploy to iOS, Android, and all desktops. I want to add an AI as well as pass-and-play. I want to add a game lobby outside of Apple's Game Center, and asynchronous play, with additional social login integration and social sharing if at all possible. Leaderboards and achievements are possibly an additional thing. Push notifications a definite thing.

(For the technically minded, I'm working through Unity's 2D frameworks, and very probably going to use GameSparks for hosting back end server logic.)

To be honest, the thing I'm most afraid of at this point is the App Store approval process. I have rarely seen that process be a pleasant one.

Doing all that is, realistically, going to take a few months because I've never done any of this before.

I'm pretty excited.

Of course that excitement has lead to a certain amount of over-exertion on my part. I have to remember I can't pull all-nighters like I used to.

And on that note, I'm going to go to sleep as soon as I go through all the subscriptions that have been piling up on me.
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