Posted by : Jameson Durall Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!  As I look back at 2011, I realize that it's actually been one of the biggest years of my life. There's been a lot of changes and improvements in personal life as well as in my career.  So, I'll take a few minutes to go over everything...I'll get the personal stuff out of the way first.

When we moved to Champaign back in 2008, we only had 2 days to find a place to live before I started work and our stuff was on a truck heading our way.  We found a tiny house that seemed to have most of what we wanted, but after a while we realized the 800sq ft was way too small.  This year we finally moved into a much bigger place, nearly doubling our living space.  It was a huge deal for us and making our home life better.

I had been driving a 2000 Chevy S-10 that I bought new shortly before graduating from Full Sail in 2001.  I racked up 125k miles and while it had never given me any major issues, I could tell that things were coming soon.  Also, living in Illinois with a lack of 4-wheel drive made things difficult for a quarter of the year.  So, I bought my dream vehicle this year... 2011 Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab.  Jumping 11 years in a vehicle made me feel like I bought something from the future, it is amazing and I love it.

I had been running a blog series on my path to weight loss, but found that every time I would make some old habits would bring me down.  Late this year I finally decided to participate in a weight loss program that is run by my doctor and am seeing amazing results.  I'm down 32lbs already and cruising toward my goal of at least 50.  But the best thing is that the diet is teaching me to eat better and my habits have radically began to change.  Once the diet is over, I'm confident that my new way of eating along with my added exercise will help me be healthy for years to come.  I've already been taken off half the meds that I have taken for over 5 years.

I talk a lot about Disney World on my blog and used to only get there about every other year. This year we had two full family vacations that included Kian doing Jedi Training Academy and being Prince of the Day.  In addition to that, I was able to visit on three other times for at least a day and got to meet some of my internet friends for the first time.  I also got to experience my first Food and Wine Festival with my dear friend Wendy.  It's been a year full of Disney and a frequency that I hope to continue.  We already have a February trip planned for our 10th Anniversary as well as a June trip for our first Star Wars Weekends!

Now on to how 2011 has been for my Game Design Career.  After finishing up development of Red Faction: Armageddon, I moved into the role that I set out 10 years ago to achieve.  As of April of this year I am Design Director on an unannounced project at Volition and am having a blast.  Things have been going really well so far and I love my team.  Now if we can just get the price of THQ stock to rise...sigh.

I focused a lot on doing regular blog posts on Game Design which I found not only helped others but also kept me thinking about things that I either took for granted or didn't evaluate enough.  I also started posting on the #AltDevBlogADay site and it has really kept me motivated to post.  What I didn't expect is that Gamasutra has picked up several of my posts and put them on their site.  It's really nice to get emails and messages from friends informing me of the posts and giving congratulations.

Last, but certainly not least, It's been a huge year for me and Full Sail.  I stayed a  couple of extra days after our January Disney trip to visit Full Sail and do a presentation about my career.  In June, myself along with two other teammates came back to do a Red Faction: Armageddon presentation and meet with students.  I later came back to be part of the Alumni Advisory Board that looked over the curriculum and give expert feedback on where they can make improvements to the Game Development and Design programs. I really enjoy helping out and interacting with students...I was exactly where they are 10 years ago and would have died to have someone in the industry to talk to.

By far the biggest news was my induction to the Full Sail Hall of Fame and the festivities last month that were absolutely amazing.  The weekend was filled with dinners, drinks, concerts and lots of flair...they made us feel like Royalty.  It was a truly humbling experience, especially looking at the amazing people that are also included.  I made some great new friends and can't wait to go back for next year's ceremonies. I have a big post about the Hall of Fame HERE that even has video the entire ceremony.

Yeah...I'm not sure how I will ever top this year, but I promise I'll do my best :)  I guess I do have a few resolutions that may help:

  • Read more Game Design books and articles
  • Play more games, including with my son
  • Continue my weight loss and keep it off
  • Get back into Programming
  • Improve my Photography skills

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