HEYITSXEN
← Back to blog

New Year New (2024)

Will I finally do something productive this year? Probaly not


2023 rewind

2023 was a weird year for me. I felt like I got lots done this year, but it feels like I didn’t get anything done? Technically they are both true; I just did lots of things I had to do and not want to do. TLDR: it was all for work.

Here are some highlights of Xen’s 2023:

  • received a pretty good upgrades at work, but it came with more stress and pain,
  • turned 30 (now with 50% more back pain!),
  • still no boyfriend (wow big surprise)1,

We are now in 2024 and I got to spend the first week off work! However I ended up spending most of it sleeping, recovering from a very exhausting year. Lets hope the rest of the year goes better than just recovering from work trauma.


So am I doing in 2024

Work

I don’t (or realistically, haven’t) felt satisfied at work in the past 6 months or so. I’m not learning much and I haven’t really progressed in my career. I got a pretty good pay increment but I am currently hard capped in my current role2. The next step is to go for a promotion but it looks very unlikely.

KC Green's web comic strip "On Fire," meme.

My current fear is that I have become stuck at this level and won’t be able to progress at all until another review. This basically meant I wasted an entire year working my butt off for quite literally nothing. And do you know what really grinds my gears? They keep telling me to wait and see as “things could change” for the next review due to the unknown budget (which is another unsettling layer and not reassuring at all).3

It’s like they say right? If you want to move up you got to move around companies. Something I don’t really want to do but feel forced too at this stage! And companies wonder why they can’t keep their team together.

I think this year I should aim to be less stressed at work, as there are plenty of things I can’t change. It’s not like the other engineers really give a shit about the quality of the product. Towards the end of the year our project went to complete shit, and I was so emotionally checkout, it was like tranquillity (an accurate depiction).

Jack Sparrow arrives to Port Royal on the sinking Jolly Mon. Gif from "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"

In tech, there are always new technologies and stuff that I reeeeeally need to put some time into learning so I can progress in my career. While I am still primarily focused on front-end development (as thats where my interest is), I need to start looking into back-end (at least start learning it in my free time). Some technologies that have caught my eye are:

  • web transitions and animation libraries,
  • another JS framework other than React (possibly Svelte or Vue),
  • give Next.JS another shot (I just didn’t like app router, stuck in Vercel architecture, and I really only need static for my current projects)
  • React Native,
  • some back end development (thinking about boot.dev),
  • Firebase (heard very good things about it from one of my old managers)

Play

I somehow went from playing Guild Wars 2 ten years ago to playing daily now. It really is my comfort MMORPG to play and I have regressed into my uni days again. I describe it like my equivalent to people who can’t leave WoW or Runescape.

The next FFXIV expansion is coming out in June or July and I will probably end up no life for like 3 months. It seems like most of my year will revolve around quarter three. NGL I don’t really know if I want to or can wait that long :nerviousdog:

Bob Ross painting gif: "Just beat the devil out of it". Me and 50% of the player base playing Pictomancer on day 1 of FFXIV Dawntrail

My switch is covered in dust4, I should really get back on it again (or at least put it away). I bought Super Mario Wonder and haven’t played it yet. To be honest, I don’t really feel like I should be playing video games anymore. Indie games seem to be the best investments these days!


Make

There are a couple of things I really want to get done but lets see if I can find the motivation and time to do these things! I have a feeling most of these will be abandoned half way though.

Square Hole the Game

Basically it is a quick and very short game about the square hole meme. I want to create it in RenPy because I read a few visual novels and was quite interested in the engine itself. This idea has being brewing in my head for over a year, I just never really commited to it at all.

The overall game play will be in the PoV of the person putting the shapes in the holes. The player will be able drag and drop the shapes into the holes and there will be different endings based on what the player does. I think the difficulty will be managing the game state with drag and drop, should be a pretty good challenge.

Text Adventure Game: on the web

A long LONG time ago (like primary school long ago) I used to play an online text RPG called Kingdom of Loathing which was a really funny and engaging game. Looking back it was like the first game that required dallies tasks and had time-gating mechanics: the precursor for most mobile games are trying to compete for our precious attention.

Kingdom of Loathing character creation screen

I think I could put together an engine using a web framework but the hardest part will be state management and creating reusable components (and adventures). Think I could get away with TailwindCSS, shadcn/ui (very excited to try this out), and React (with Redux toolkit). Should be an interesting idea, will probably need to do some research on other text based adventure games.

I am 100% underestimating how difficulty this will be…

Writing stories

I really need to get into writing more. I first wanted to get into creative writing as it will force me develop my spelling and grammar but it will also allow me to get the stories out of my head (or at least get them out on paper). I’ve never been able to articulate the thoughts in my head well, communication has always been a difficult process for me even at work.

I ended up impulse buying the Story Deck and World Deck by Peter Chiykowski and I want to challenge myself to write some stories and worlds. Aiming for 1 complete story and 2 short stories this year, I think that’s achievable with the other projects I want to start. One of the more difficult parts is trying to type and wordsmith at the same time so I started writing notes out on my Ipad, seems to work better for me but its a bit slow.

3D Modelling

I say this every year! I want to get better at 3D modelling but I just haven’t put the time together. My latest fixation: voxel art, as it looks more accessible to me (and I also love the art style). This is a part of a bigger goal: wanting to be a creative developer.

Lets just leave this here and not make it a New Years Resolutions to already break.


What I’m looking forwards to this year?

You know what is the worst and scariest part? I’m not looking forward to much at all this year. Is that something I should be worried about?

Currently the only thing I am looking forward to is finally moving out to my own place this year. The only thing I’m currently looking forward to is finally moving out into a 1 bedroom apartment5. It’s very exciting but also nerve wrecking because I’m overpaying for an small apartment in a very overcrowded and overpopulated city.

It feels messed up, I feel messed up. But hey you know what, I just keep telling myself:

One day at a time

But how long does that last? Sorry to end on a bummer.


Footnotes

  1. I’m gonna start leaving this out now, this is more of a self-inflicted bummer at this stage.

  2. I still believe this isn’t what I’m worth, but I will humble myself.

  3. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty luck to have a job in this market. But you don’t join government to be underpaid and overworked without job security.

  4. Theres not a lot of Switch games that catch my eye, not sure why.

  5. Sydney’s housing market is cracked ATM, the prices are so unrealistic.

← Back to blog