2021 in Review


It’s the time of the year again where I use the excuse of “this is a free topic to write about” and churn out the last post for 2021. It’s been an interesting year, and it’s tested me in different ways. I’m going to reflect on what happened throughout the year and bring some perspective to what the year had brought. I’ll be referencing back to my “To Better Things” to measure my “success” for the year.

I’m typing this post only a few hours after arriving home from a week-long excursion to my mum at the coast. It was a good 2300 km of driving, but I tried to have fun with it, and we also took a relaxed approach to the driving side, making sure to split the drive in one direction over two days. I’ll start by reflecting on what happened to my personal life. While the pandemic had put a rather large damper on my mood in 2020, I’ll say it had less of an effect in 2021. A lot has happened, and I was lucky enough to visit both my parents and have my parents visit us.

Vaccines

I’m going to take a position here: I’ve received both Pfizer shots, and when the time comes by to get a 3rd booster shot, I’ll happily get in the queue. I’m trying to be very aware of being respectful of different people’s views and beliefs. I have my motivations and reasons for doing what I’ve done, and I had an interesting interaction with my wife that made me realise it can be challenging to shift your view on a topic if you’ve been holding on to a “truth” that ends up not being true.

We were listening to an audiobook that included details about general relativity and how time dilation affects interstellar travel using means of travel very similar to how space ships move about the galaxy in The Expanse. I might write a review of the book at some stage, but I’m trying to keep things as vague as possible to avoid sharing any spoilers. Anyways, when the topic of time dilation came up, I took the opportunity to try and explain the concept to my wife as she was feeling perplexed. I’m by no means an expert on the topic, and I’m sure there are some gaping assumptions in my explanation, but she was so confident that “time is constant” it turned her entire understanding of the world upside down. After further explaining how I view scientific concepts I don’t 100% understand, we managed to work through her confusion. Still, it was a weird experience hearing her get upset because I was proposing a phenomenon contrary to her view. My point is that she had a very emotional reaction to explaining the concept.

I noticed this and ended up wondering if it’s perhaps the same thing that leads to “vaxxers” and “anti-vaxxers” having such strong differences in their stances. Scientific evidence is not enough to sway opinions, as people intrinsically tie motions to their views. It’s important to have empathy when talking to people with a different perspective. Sometimes, their emotional commitment to an opinion will be so strong you won’t convince them otherwise. It might be frustrating, but we need to reach a point where we “agree to disagree” and move on from there. Hopefully, reaching this agreement won’t lead to the world falling apart, but we will be stronger working together instead of against each other.

Sim Racing

2021 was a HUGE year for me in terms of sim racing. I took part in a LOT of racing, but I managed to exceed my expectations BY FAR! I’ll split my thoughts into two sections: SRSA and Endurance Racing.

SRSA

I set myself the following goals for 2021:

  • Consistent top 5 finishes in Division 2 of the simGP series
  • Finishing Division 1 races or placing in the top 10 in division 2 races for the simGT series

SRSA divides the year into two six-month-long seasons.

2021.1 Season

I can’t remember exactly where I finished in the driver standings, but I remember being very happy about it. I managed a podium finish in the first race of the simGP series, racing in the Division 2 split and racing in the Division 1 split for the rest of the season. Considering that a division split consists of about 22 drivers, I can confidently say that I’m within the top 20 fastest drivers for the season at SRSA.

The simGT series is a bit of a different situation. A division split can consist of up to 40 drivers, so it’s a little “easier” to get into the top split, but the amount of people taking part tends to be about double that of the simGP series and might offset how “easy” it is to get into the top division split. That said, I was delighted to race in Division 1 for all the races I raced. I even managed a top 15 finish on a wet Monza! I vaguely remember setting the target of trying to match a fellow commentator for the driver championship, and I managed to get close but simply couldn’t pip him at the end.

2021.2 Season

I kicked off the 2021.2 season with quite a bit of appetite to keep on improving. My team had “stabilised” a little, and I was getting more comfortable. I raced in the Division 1 split in both the simGP and simGT series throughout the season and had a lot of fun. I also got my hands on a direct-drive wheelbase which helped me further unlock solid consistency.

In the simGP series, I managed my best finish of P8, and I finished 8th overall on the driver standings! I also managed to do some dash streams of my races, although I’ve been having technical difficulties with the broadcasting software crashing halfway through a stream. In the end, I have the first and last round streams up on my YouTube channel.

I had a solid overall simGT series as well. I managed a best finish of P9 and finished 11th in the drivers' championship. I need to note that how SRSA had to run division splits skewed the drivers' championship slightly. Some very fast drivers would’ve normally finished above me, and a last-minute release of the BMW M4 GT3 just before the last round meant a handful of drivers abandoned their points for the season to drive the car in the very last race of the season. I’m still thrilled with how the season had gone, and it’s only showed me that I have the potential to be “up there” rubbing shoulders with some speedy drivers. I went on to also have a fantastic last race of the season on Spa Francorchamps, even though I ended up throwing away an excellent qualifying session. You can find the dash streams of the season’s races below, but again the streams where my broadcasting software crashed had been omitted.

As a small mention for the 2021.2 season, I made what I felt was a pretty decent set of liveries for the simGT series. You can see screenshots of the liveries on the various cars during the countdown sequence at the start of each stream.

Endurance Racing

Looking back, I realise I’ve taken part in a LOT of endurance racing across different groups that host these races. SRSA, GRG eSports, RaceFace.Pro, ACCSS, The SimGrid and some ad-hoc races. GRG eSports had been where I started endurance racing, but I’ve now progressed to having the appetite to take part in some serious endurance racing.

ACCSS was a single race where SRSA had been invited to front a team consisting of some of their best drivers. I was not a driver but instead served as part of the support staff, specifically serving as a race engineer. Using my trusty tool, Second Monitor, I played an important role in strategy calls for the 10-hour race we had on Silverstone. The lead-up to the race had me putting my spreadsheet skills to the test, and the race itself had me scrambling to keep track of the race as a whole. It was a great experience, and it’s further solidified my view that drivers can gain a lot from having eyes capable of looking at the broader race for strategy calls.

As I’ve noticed my skills improving, I’ve developed an appetite to develop my racecraft further. To that end, I’ve been partnering with some more capable friends to take myself to the next level. It’s had me take part in what the organisers of the Kyalami 9 Hour had hoped to be a virtual counterpart, going from starting in P50 and working our way to P11 in less than 4 hours. Due to technical difficulties, the organisers rescheduled the race for next year, but I’m hoping for an epic event when it rolls by next year.

Writing

In short, I managed to write 12 posts this year, including this post. While I technically didn’t post something once a month, I aimed to write enough posts to have written something “once a month”. It has been a valuable way to destress or organise my thoughts on a random topic. I realise that “LazyGameDev” might not be the best moniker for this writing, so I’m considering transferring everything to a different domain and holding on to the current domain for something else I might dream up in the future. I’m not writing a “goal-writing” post right now, so I’ll speculate on the details next year instead. I want to pat myself on the back and say, “I did it!”.

Home Improvement & DIY

While probably not much has happened on this front, I’m pleased with the changes we’ve brought into our house. Replacing the electric stove was a relatively small change that made a HUGE difference. Installing solar power is a HUGE change that hasn’t had much chance to show the difference it can make, but it has left me happy in the knowledge I can continue working.

I’ve also started a small project to replace the current frame I’m using in my sim rig. I’m finding the GP-style of “laying down” a little too uncomfortable for longer races, and when friends want to take the sim rig for a spin, I cannot adjust it to a comfortable position for them quickly. I’m hoping to have the new rig done before the start of the 2022.1 SRSA season, but only time will tell. I’ve been enjoying the woodworking a lot, and I’ll most likely apply it for some other projects around the house as well.

Professional

Wow, I’m an obnoxious asshole sometimes. I reread my goals for my career for 2021 and had no clue what I was saying at the time. It’s taken a lot of effort on my end and even more effort from one of my team leads. We’ve tried to resolve some of my shortcomings, but we’ve made some progress. I’ll add that the year ended up taking a very different path than I had initially expected, but I’m pleased it had done so. Emotionally I’m in a much better space than I was a year ago, and I have the prospect of an exciting opportunity in the coming year. Again, I might expand on that in a future post. The year just proved to me again no matter what I might have planned, I need to be flexible and adjust to what is happening around me.

Conclusion

2021 wasn’t a “dumpster fire year” for me. I can’t say it was one of the absolute best years as it’s had its fair share of disappointments, but I’ve experienced some awesome moments as well. I’m feeling good about closing off this year on a high note, and I hope that whatever life throws at me next year, I’ll be able to handle it or, at the very least, learn from it.