So 2016 was pretty bad globally, but really quite good for me personally. In June I finally quit my part-time job at Waitrose, because 1.) it was killing me; I should never have stayed as long as I did, and 2.) it started to seem like I might be able to make a living picking up odd projects and commissions.
And so far it definitely seems like that was the right decision. I'm on track to earn more this tax year than I would have if I'd stayed at Waitrose, doing work I'm far better suited to, and far more interested in. It's a bit unsettling to not know where my next paycheck is coming from, but financially I'm in a pretty good place right now. It looks like this might just be sustainable.
I also made the decision to no longer release projects for download on the internet, which feels like a big weight off my shoulders.
Over the past couple of years I've come to realise there's no chance I could ever make a living selling the kind of games (etc.) I want to make on the internet. But even without the expectation of making any money, I found that the constant presence of analytics - or more, the constant awareness of just how few people were downloading the things I made, how few people cared - had such a negative impact on my own motivation that I needed to make a clean break. I needed to find a better way of getting my work out into the world.
And I'm honestly really happy with that decision. This feels like a far healthier way to make things. Anyway, on to the things I worked on in 2016:
2016 was the year I finally released this one. Another weight off my shoulders :)
Cancer genome visualisation/sonification project
Got a small commission from the University of Glasgow to handle the technical side of a project dedicated to visualising and sonifying cancer genomes (to see if we could better identify the harmful mutations involved). Lots of fun research involved.
We did I think 3(?) more performances of Whispered Truths in 2016. The above video is of my favourite one, at the Hidden Door festival in Edinburgh.
A very simple procedural story generator.
A game of interpreting your computer's idiosyncratic descriptions of a room as music. A sequel of sorts to awaitingTheProjectedCurve. The lack of response to these two pieces played a big part in my decision to stop releasing work for download.
A controller I built for Hummingbird, to take to Games are for Everyone Vol.4. This was a really fun project, and helped remind my why I had spent so long working on Hummingbird in the first place. I like that game.
Play On Exhibition
And finally, in December I won a tender to build 4 interactive exhibits for the Play On Exhibition at the Edinburgh International Science Festival in 2017. I'm super excited about this one :)