Bring on 2017!

Greetings everyone!

First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I really hope everyone enjoyed their holiday season with their families and are enjoying the new year! 2016 was a sad, wonderful and stressful crazy year for everyone I think. If you follow me on social media, you already have heard me say this, but it's time to show 2017 who is BOSS!

It's already been a busy new year for myself as I wanted to post an update here a few days ago!

Time to cap off the year right with a solid post here for my portfolio and to reflect on the upcoming events and challenges! Don't worry, I plan on taking all of you along for the ride with me! It's going to be a very exciting year and I hope you are all ready for a ton of updates from me!

So I have seen a lot of people that I follow posting their "New Year" resolutions all over social media and I really like that idea. I don't really like calling them 'resolutions' as I like to make to think of them more as goals. I could literally start typing away at this list for days, however, below are my goals that I believe I can accomplish by the year's end. Some of these I already do, but I just need to do them even better! Anyway, here are my goals for 2017!

1.) Obtain a career!
  • If you have been following me, you know that I have been working extremely hard at trying to obtain a career the last 6 to 8 months. I am not only working so hard because I want a job for myself but because I want to be able to support my family. I want to be able to raise a family and at the same time, enjoy what I do for a living. The Wife and I want to start having kids in the next couple years and I have to start preparing financially. That's why 2017 is going to be an extremely important year for me. I have to start working harder than I ever have before!
2.) Certifications and Continued Education! 
  • By the year's end, it is a major goal of mine to ATLEAST have my CSM certification from the Scrum Alliance. I would already have this if it wasn't so expensive. At the moment, I just don't currently have the funds to toss. Believe me, I am trying to save.
  • I would also like to obtain a few certifications from various learning sites regarding game development that I can put on my Linked-IN. I talked about more of other things I would like to obtain in my previous post as well. It all comes down to the benjamins!
  • Getting a Unity Developer certification is also on my radar, however, it's all about the money at the moment. Like a broken record, I swear, lol. It's been rough since the wedding but that was expected. That's why obtaining a career for me is also important because I need to acquire a more stable income. At the moment, the Wife is basically my sugar mamma. I bartend and serve every chance that I get but I do take off a lot for game development related events. Any chance I get to improve my experience or attend an event, I am all over it!
3.) Healthier Lifestyle!
  • Ever since I got out of the military, I have not worked out basically at all. I eat like crap and I drink a ton of sugar! It's time to shape up!
  • There is a lot to achieve on this list and I know myself better than anyone! So I am not going to jump in this full throttle. I am going to ease my way into this because I know that it will be much easier for me to handle!
  • I am not going to bore you with the rest of the list because it's your basic "blah blah blah" typical new year resolution. Just know I am working towards a healthier life a step at a time!
4.) More Engaged!
  • All around!
  • More engaged with my Wife and family!
  • More engaged on social media! More streaming on Twitch!
  • More engaged with the game development community!
  • More networking!
  • MORE MORE MORE! *out of breath* ... lol
5.) Read More, Intellectual Communication and STOP PROCRASTINATING!
  • Reading is something I have always struggled with. I have always been a visual and hands-on learner. If you follow me, you know there are a few books that I have been reading on my down time. My goal is to have all of those books read very soon, and you'll know why later in this post. :) Otherwise, yes, more reading! Input ... NEED INPUT!
  • With all the certifications, interviews, events, and more coming up in my life, I need to be as sharp and educated as I can be! Reading more articles, tutorials, and books will help me stay current with the industry and my knowledge of it.
  • What do I mean by intellectual communication? I mean sounding smart and becoming a better speaker. I tend to have a hard time articulating my thoughts into words sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I can hold an intelligent conversation with someone. This is more of a personal goal for myself. It's something I have struggled with my entire life. I know I am smart and I have the experience to prove it. This year, especially with a lot that is coming up, it's just something I know I can personally improve upon.
  • Procrastinating? Jeremy? No way? - Yes way! We all tend to do it from time to time! Don't get me wrong we all deserve to relax every now and then. My procrastination, however, is strongly tied to my ADD. I have to make sure to keep focused on what I am doing and don't lose track of the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been working so hard over the last 5 years, learning everything I possibly can about game development, there are some nights I literally feel like I'm just staring at my computer screens, knowing that I have a billion things to do. That's why I have been maintaining this site here, as reflecting has become extremely important for me.
That is basically the short version of what I would like to accomplish. Onward!

In my previous post, I had mentioned that Extra Life was very close to raising 9 Million dollars. Well, guess what everyone, Extra Life did it! They haven't finished up the final tallies of 2016, but they for sure raised over that. It's a huge statement for the gaming community! I am also proud to say that after this previous year, I will be receiving my 'Silver Hero' Medal in the mail soon for raising over $1,000 so far with Extra Life. I will make sure to post a picture of that after I receive that in the mail. Even better news, they are already launching Extra Life 2017! I have a couple other things that I need to attend to but this is on my list! I will be creating my own page and running my own team again! This year, I plan on recruiting people to my team throughout the year to join. I actually have a different game plan this year for how I want to try and raise funds. This is by far one of my favorite events every year! You can expect more updates on this from me in the coming weeks! Below is the Extra Life 2017 promo video, already on YouTube! Check it out!

What's that Jeremy? You have some exciting news for us? But of course! No, it's not a new job...YET! It is a temporary job that will provide me with a sea of endless networking opportunities to try and obtain a job, however, with the possibility of more interviews! (If you follow me on social media, you may have already heard about this.)

I am honored to announce that I was accepted to join the CA (Conference Associate) program at GDC 2017! For anyone reading this, who knows what this is, you know just how awesome this is! This is a HUGE opportunity for me and I can't even begin to express how excited I am for this. Just attending GDC has been a major life goal of mine and the fact that I am going for my 1st time as a CA, leaves me speechless. I have applied in years past but was never accepted. They only accept 400 people for this program and it's not easy to get into. I was trying to save some money to attend the event anyway and wasn't quite sure if I would be able to afford to go. Now, there is no question about it, I am going! What is a CA? A Conference Associate is a program that GDC started for hungry industry professionals, indie developers, students, etc. to get the chance to work and help run GDC. It's an opportunity to work the event for a little bit and obtain an all-access pass when you aren't working. So now, I am currently awaiting more instructions from GDC as there is a short process of becoming a CA. I have already bought my plane ticket and started putting together an itinerary for the trip. I won't know my exact CA schedule until the day before the event but I plan on having a schedule of everything that I want to attend ready to go. This is going to be a HUGE chance to network for me! I already created a new business card and ordered a ton of them! I plan on cleaning up my resume and printing a ton of those to bring with as well. I am already planning to meet up with a few of my contacts too after talking with them. My best friend, who attends the Art Institute in California, is also attending! We plan on having some serious conversations over the next couple weeks regarding this event! We both want to make the most out of this amazing opportunity! If you are reading this and you are going to be at GDC this year, send me a message or email! I need to get a lot more things together and accomplished before this! Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks on this. What is GDC? Click on the image below for more information!

I am still currently in the middle of a couple interviews. Yes, I am still waiting to hear back! I have been extremely patient. I have also been talking with a couple new contacts on Linked-IN who are interested in me as well. Nothing is serious yet. I do keep in contact with my recruiters and I have already discussed my recent GDC news with them. They are all very excited for me! It seems to me that relocating is hurting me obtaining a face to face interview with a lot of these companies. The Wife and I have already been discussing our moving options if I don't obtain a job by May to somewhere that will help me get one. Although, becoming a CA at GDC, is going to be a GREAT resume piece and it is going to help tremendously with finding a job. I am still working hard every day either studying, reading, or engaging with the companies I am currently in talks with. This has become a part of my daily routine now. Like I have said before many times, finding a job it a job in itself!

Now, let's talk some Raid+!

In my last update, I mentioned that I re-vamped the Developer Blog and kicked off our 'Dev of the Month' with myself since I gave the page an update. Well, we have added a new blog post and the NEW Dev of the Month for January is up! Head on over and check it out by click on the images below! :)

We also have collaborated with the 42 Ale House and have the next series of dates out for this years Local MKE Game Developers Nights! We are very excited to continue our professional relationship with the 42 Ale House and continue this wonderful monthly event! The first one of the year is this Thursday! We will always stream this event LIVE on our Twitch page as well! Click the image below to take you to our Facebook group to find out more information and upcoming dates! Remember, this event takes place on the 2nd Thursday of every month at the 42 Ale House!

We have only a couple more Local MKE Game Developer Nights before our next major event at the Midwest Gaming Classic 2017! Everyone at Raid+ has had an extremely busy beginning of the new year and we plan on getting a lot of work done on our upcoming game between now and the MWGC.

Enjoy some screenshot below of some recent updates on our progress since my last post!

Screenshot compliments of Noah

Screenshot compliments of Justin, working on the bombs!

Instagram post showing off the progress of our game!

Good ole' Raid+ meeting time at DJ's house!

In my last post, I mentioned everyone on Raid+ was considering participating in this year's Global Game Jam. Well, we are doing it! I am actually very excited for this as it gives me another opportunity to get a small game and experience under my belt before GDC. Looks like everyone, except 1 person, on Raid+ will be there! The last time Raid+ participated, we were voted "Best Game" in our local competition! This is always a lot of fun and I am glad I am able to participate this year! Click on the image below to take you to our Jam Site! If you want to check out the other games I have made in previous years during the GGJ, they are in the sidebar on the right with all my other information. :)

Other than that, the 4-player split screen is in it's MOST basic form. There is still a lot of work to be done for it, but at the moment, it's fine for now. It's currently working in a level one of our designer/artist's is building out called the Slaughter House. He made a short video showing off his progess on his level with the camera's. Check it out below! :)

In our last meeting, we discussed our game plan for our next upcoming sprints as we officially move into an "Alpha" phase of our game. At the moment, we will be gathering and implementing a lot of tech, version control, and pipelines for animation. I will be doing some research on Prefab Loadouts. Our players will have the options of choosing their loadout before a game and we want to load in the correct prefabs when the game loads up. I remember doing something similar when I was making my interactive display and modularizing it.

I still am actively updating and posting on all of our social media sites as much as possible, with a lot of work to catch up on with that! You can expect a TON more frequent posts from Raid+ this year!

Other than that ...

Since my last post, another life milestone happened in my life I feel is worth mentioning! Just broke 200k miles on my car! Believe it or not, I have had my car since I was 16! (Now 28) The history of the car (lived in all these states): South Carolina to California to Wisconsin to Chicago to Virginia to Florida and back again in Wisconsin. That doesn't include many side adventures through or to Atlantic City, Tampa Bay, middle of nowhere on CA/Nevada border, to the Mountains in Colorado and so much more. I'm thinking at least another 100k?!? Long live the mighty white box!

A little while back, I had backed a good friend of mine's Kickstarter! The backer rewards arrived right before Christmas! Andrew, if you're reading this, HUGE THANKS AGAIN! These hand signed Kickstarter backer rewards are awesome and I wish you nothing but success my friend! I already am almost finished reading one of these. Luckily one of my goals this year is to read more!

That is basically about it since my last update!

2017 is going to be a great year for me and it is already starting off even better than I could have imagined!

It's time for me to work towards my yearly goals and become, not only a better game developer but a better person all around. There are so many possibilities and opportunities that are coming up, I need to be prepared for anything to happen.

Until next time ...

Keep on Devin'!

\m/ >.< \m/

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