I continue reading (mostly listening to audiobook versions, in fact) almost every day for the past few years. It’s in my daily routine when I walk the dogs. It’s a very different proposition from laying down and dedicating some time to read them. I have an urge for a secondary task when I am performing a no-brainer routine, such as… walking the dogs. Otherwise, I feel like wasting my time by walking and not thinking.
This is the list of this year’s books that I ingested. These lists are -definitively- not comprehensive ones. Since I always forget to update my GoodReads personal records or write about them on this blog, they are just the ones I remember. I will edit this post in case I remember other entries.
This year I’ve already compiled a mid-term list back in July, so it’s just the books from the second semester.
For more books, you can check my online read list on GoodReads.
This year my game library is over 1000 games. 1/3 I’ve never touched it. 1/3 I’ve barely played. So I can stop buying games for a while and still have a lot of fun.
About to finish:
Most of them I barely started. Installed to check the general flow or if it was working at all. Some It’s WIP. Few are collecting dust.
Yet, there are some games that I did not quit definitively, but they are still to be played (therefore, not yet fully rated). A few are installed even still.
I play them eventually. Most of them, are strategy games.
Finally, here is a list of games that I already have in my collection that I plan to play in the next months.
Slow year, I assume.
No one this year :(
In a year full of personal experimentation in other careers (like running for congress, for example :), I still programmed a lot. I invested a lot of time studying Docker and containers, Kubernetes, Home Assistant, and hosting web systems myself (like Nextcloud).
But game design is a passion.
I constantly get annoyed with Unity3D and the latest events on the business side, which had me worry even more. I tried to use Godot and failed. C# is far better in terms of easy-to-use and safety compared to C++ and even more to custom scripting languages. It’s more organized and well-documented. And I have years of accumulated experience. And Godot-C# integration is buggy, unstable, and full of gotchas. The way they re-implemented C# in the upcoming Godot 4 created so many artifacts to properly work that I got even more frustrated. I could not use
After watching a curious review on the GameFromScratch channel, I tried a new kid in town: Flax Engine. It’s a C++/C# engine heavily inspired by Unity. The from-to process is straightforward. After just a few of weeks playing with it, now I decided to invest in it. I am planning to port my closest-to-finish game I have to it by the end of the year. It’s 1 step back, 2 steps forward.
👎 Like Godot, there is no way, currently, to drag-and-drop assets and actors with a specific class. I always have to ask for a generic Actor in the editor and check if has the given class in the code. Annoying and error-prone.
👎 Still lacking several common features, compared to Unity and Unreal. It’s evolving and, most importantly, their competitors pave the way for inspired clones like Flax.
👎 Minuscule community compared to other game engines, even the indie ones. Recent GitHub reports the biggest Open Source projects do not place Flax into the top 10.
😐 Not FLOSS. It’s open source but it’s not free. The license requires paying royalties. It’s very close to what Unreal asks but more generous. I would love to see it converting to a full FLOSS model in the future.
👎 Old C#/.Net version. A branch with the newest .NET 7 was created and developed. The current version uses .Net Framework 4.8 and it is a pain to install on Linux.
👎 Still lacking Docker image for CI/CD (well, Unity and Unreal also do not have official ones). I may implement a repository myself, inspired by GameCI ;)
👍 1-1 adaptation from a Unity developer. It’s not as feature-rich, but it’s very competent.
👍 Open community. A lot of issues and Merge Requests on the project’s GitHub page. I’ve been talking to devs in a Discord channel and they are receptive.
👍 Small footprint. The editor is only a couple of megabytes and the “cooked” game is also small. If possible, running it in an Alpine-like image will create a minuscule image to use CI/CD.
Stonemaier got famous when the owner, Jamey Stegmaier, blogged every aspect of his first Kickstarter campaign. People felt confident with his struggles, thoughts, and solutions.
After some success, Stonemaier created another hit. This time the game was not designed by Jamey but by newcomer Elizabeth Hargrave. Wingspan (which is currently at the high tier in BoardGameGeek) lets you collect birds that provide special powers, that accumulate turn after turn. I bought it as the last year Christmas gift for my wife last year, and it became one of the most played games in our collection.
The components and art, OMG, are all high quality and adorable. The board, the cards, the dice tower, the eggs… ohhh… don’t even mention the colorful eggs. The colors do not have any gameplay meaning, but they are adorable. People always react when seeing those little eggs.
The care in creating each bird card is astonishing. The flavor text is rich in details, and most of them have a real implication in the game itself. Bird size, breeding pattern, type of food… it’s all grounded in reality!
There are birds objectively better than others, but the external objectives and bonuses may increase the usefulness of birds in each play. Considering also the huge number of cards, at least for the sake of replayability, it’s a major plus.
The core value of this game is the engine-building mechanism. Each time you get a new bird, its powers will be used in later turns. So by the end of the match, some super powerful combos will be created. It’s very satisfying to activate a multipoint machine!
This game is a multiplayer solitaire: while you can somewhat manipulate resources and face up birds a bit, it is best to be occupied to “do your best”. My nephews were hooked all the time, but mostly commenting about the birds’ looks and imagining their next moves.
It is very difficult to keep track of other people’s boards. So it is really hard to counteract. None will take mental notes tracking other players. But for those who do this, it could represent a major strategic advantage.
The abilities are fun but require a lot of reading to understand. While the texts are not long, the font is a bit small.
The dice tower, despite being cute, is prone to damage over time. I already not using it in my sessions, to preserve it.