Learning Review 2023

On creatronix there is this learning yearbook post. I personally did not set out any specific (learning) goals at the beginning of the 2023, but the post inspired me to write at least a learning review. The idea seems nice as summarizing always helps to put achievements into perspective. I also guess it will be a great read in some years.

Overall this was a really successful year for me. Not so much professionally, but personally I learned so much in so many different topics and domains.

So here we go, this is my learning review for 2023.


I did take part in some Gamejams this year, which were all really fun. I learned a lot about various gamedev topics, had the chance to work on very different genres and most importantly I did work in quite some different teams with a lot of talented people. This is always a lot of fun!

Alakajam 17

The theme for this gamejam was "river" and I did create a small puzzle game about rivers that are not allowed to cross each other. The idea is simple and I experimented with some ideas. This was rather a relaxed jam as it was a project of very limited scope - which is a good thing. I am also really happy with the music, that was voted first place in the jam. Really proud of that one.


This was a nice one. I did replay spaceplan as preparation. I teamed up with two friends from school and we worked on Mines of Gloria, a game where you dig down a mine and can hire different dwarves to help you dig faster. For this it was also required to port my arbitrary precision integer library to c++, which was a good exercise (although it is not really performant). Also I did dive into chiptune music for the audio and we won 2nd place in music.

Note: The jam was renamed to "Incremental Jam", in case you cannot find it.

Kajam 13

In July there was a Kajam about Multiplayer games. As I played a lot of Mechabellum during that time, I wanted to create something similar. What we built was a adaptation of that game: Medibellum. I did dig into the asio library and I have to say it is a very well built library that follows some nice design decisions.


For the 2023 edition of FrankenGameJam we did create Fruit Lovin Monkey Pirates. More on the Frankengamejam event further down in this post.


2023 was said to become the year of AI, so here we go with that topic.


I did start to use chatgpt during this year. I am very bad at writing marketing text blurps. So here I took a big advantage of genAI, for writing game or music pitches. My favorite is the description of Medibellum:

"In the realm of Medibellum, you find yourself thrust into an ancient conflict between red team and blue team. As a valiant strategist, it's your duty to assemble an army of brave warriors and unleash their powerful might upon hordes of menacing enemies. But be warned, there are flanks!"

Almost like a limerick, love it!

However there are also a lot of examples where AI is massively failing. I am not as hyped anymore as I was in January 2023, but it certainly has quite some things to offer.


While stable-diffusion has been around for some time, I only started to use it in 2023. In fact I used it mostly for creating cover art for my music. Can you spot which of those covers are hallucinated and which are made by real artists?

Generating prompts is actually not that hard (check out e.g. PromptHero, stablediffusion.fr/propmpts or CivitAI). However, the AI only "knows" about what it has been trained with. E.g. I wanted an arcade machine for a cover, but could never get a decent one. It always created machines that looked like cars. Well, it seems that if you ask stable-diffusion, for synthwave there has to be a car in it.

Running stable-diffusion locally requires quite a powerful graphics card. As an alternative you can go for (the paid) chatGPT integration of dall-e or you go for any dedicated website, e.g leonardo.ai, which has a sufficiently good free tier.

Github Copilot

Copilot was another one to be tested this year. Hey, microsoft is losing money with every copilot user, so this seems like a nice reason to test it, right? Just kidding.

I was not convinced by it. The issue I see is that I have to understand the code that is produced. And I have to do that for my own code as well as for copilot-hallucinated code. While copilot seems to produce reasonable results for simple problems, it blatantly failed for any more complicated (i.e. non-standard) issues and sometimes even hallucinated function calls that were not even present. When trying to make it generate some documentation, it produced it in the wrong format and was often giving wrong descriptions for parameters.

It was no hard choice to cancel during the trial period. At some point in the future I might go and give the jetbrains AI a try.

Technical topics


It seems I am quite late to the docker-party, but I did manage to get more into docker this year. Far from an expert, but I did learn a lot about this at work and while working on the SynthwaveAtomChallengeCreator.


There were quite a lot of c++ topics in for me this year. I did continue my udemy course on design patterns, I learned about Link Time Optimization and I ported two of my repos from c++14 to c++20. Especially the c++20 was a very interesting exercise and I learned a lot about it. Keywords are [[likely]], math functions and constants (finally! There is std::numbers::pi) and quite some other helpful features.


While my main proramming language is c++, I did take a deeper look into Rust. Namely with some old advent of code tasks. Coming from c++ it surely requires a different mindset. Often it even felt that Rust was getting in my way or at least was trying to make me solve problems in a very specific way. Not sure what I will make with it in the future, but Rust is surely a topic to keep an eye out for.


Also did some dabbling in python. This year it was the SynthwaveAtomChallengeCreator, which is a discord bot that creates some instructions for producing a small piece of music in one hour. I did learn a lot about the mingus package, which is about musical notes, scales and modes.

Technical Interviews

When there was the chance to take part in the interview process of my team at work, I immediaetly accepted. This was an eye-opening experience. Sitting on the other side of the fence gives a completely new perspective. Also coming up with interview questions was a good exercise. Yes, I did ask for fizzbuzz. And I was shocked to see that 2 of 3 candidates did fail that task.

The interviewing experience will definitely help me in the future when I am being interviewed myself. Overall, I would love to continue interviewing people. This is also one of the most direct ways of shaping the future of your team.


I did start the year by finishing the "The Expanse" books related to the TV series. The remaining books are still on my pile. I didn't read much "entertainment"-literature otherwise.

For subject books, I did read The unicorn project (during the book club at my workplace, which was a huge success and a lot of fun) Doom Engine black book (okly skimmed through it. At some point I need to pick it up again to go through the details) The clean coder (re-read but it was worth the time as there is a lot of information in this one) Engineers survival guide (also a book club book, it seems that this is aiming more at managers than at engineers, so there were some irrelevant parts in it for me. It was still ok to read, but I would recommend other books) * The Pragmatic Programmer (great information, well written. Sometimes if feels a bit dated and basic. Sometimes it is up to date and dealing with rather advanced topics. Overall it has a lot of very helpful and actionable tips! Do get the 20th anniversary edition)


This year was full of awesome events and conferences. I can fully recommend almost all of them

Embedded World

I was able to visit the Embedded world conference and fair. While the fair was a nice experience, the c++-workshop I visited was giving me some mixed signals. While the half about multithreading was top quality, the part about c++11/c++14 was full of errors. Given the high price point, I am rather disappointed by that. I did not visit any other workshops, but the other talks were all great!

SoCraTes Day Franken

Went to the SoCraTes Day Franken with a colleague from my company. She is an industry veteran but was not exposed to the SoCraTes movement before. She was immediately blown away by the insane amount of motivated and skilled people.

Favourite session: Re-fuck-toring game. In this session a team of crazy people mobbed-up to make a fizzbuzz example as unreadable and bad as possible. Didn't have that much fun in ages and I am rather proud of our result.

Seneca Camp

What a blast! One of the best organized bar camps I have ever been to. Super friendly people, a welcoming atmosphere and great food! They even had club mate. The sessions were high quality.

Favourite session: C++ Template programming. We didn't talk that much about templates but a lot about creational design patterns. Also the "what I hate about your job application" discussion delivered some insights from HR and recruiters that you normally do not get that easily.

Game Camp Bayreuth

We did stay there in a hotel over night, which made it a bit more expensive. But it was absolute worth it. The hotel was only 5 minutes from the event location. Very nice attendees, had some awesome discussions between sets.

Favourite session: Video Game Music Quiz. Four teams competed in a jeopardy style game. They had to guess the game (franchise) by listening to a 10-20 second snippet of the soundtrack. A lot of fun and we made second place.

Game Camp Munich

Another game related event. The location (SAE Munich) was really awesome and the food was very high quality. There had been quite some new people that I had not seen in the gaming scene.

Favourite session: "1 hour game jam" where I created this little game. Also there was a lot of rant about unity.

Franken Game Jam

I did again co-organize the Franken Game Jam in Nürnberg. We had a new peak in submitted games and participants. Also a friend from Munich joined our team and we developed Fruit Lovin Monkey Pirates, a cute pixelart game where you need to collect fruit and deliver it to other islands.

Museums and concerts

I did visit quite some museums this year.


For music this year has been big for me.

13 in 30

I did join the Synthwave Dojo "13 in 30" challenge, where we did 13 song sketeches in 30 days. It was a blast! I learned so much from it and it kickstarted this whole year of music production for me. Also the "classroom" sessions were very valuable. I learned a lot about modes, how to write better melodies and the concept of "unity and variety". If you have the chance, join one of Alonsos courses. They are absolutely worth your time!


During the year I kept working in the "1 hour per song-sketch"-mode. It helps with getting some massive throughput. With that, I was able to release 2 albums, 3 EPs and two singles in one year. What a crazy year!


I did complete the main story in a number of video games this year:

  • Gothic 2 (classic that I wanted to revisit for a long time)
  • Police Stories (in coop)
  • Sniper Elite 5 (in coop)
  • Per Aspera (even twice, once solo, once coop)
  • Jagged Alliance 3 (nice modern take on the JA2 formula)
  • Sea of Stars (one of the best pixel art games this year, has an awesome soundtrack)
  • Resident Evil 2 Remake (Had it on my list for a long time, really enjoyed it)
  • Gunfire Reborn (Saw it in a speedrun from sgdq, played it a lot solo and in coop)
  • Halo Reach (coop, we want to play the whole series)

I also played (but did not complete):

  • a lot of Mechabellum (which is a multiplayer game and can not be completed)
  • Baldurs Gate 3 (act 1 in the beta)
  • Turing Complete (really enjoyed those puzzles!)
  • Core Keeper (coop, did get quite grindy in midgame)
  • Sable (awesome artstyle)
  • Peppers Puzzle (nice in-between puzzle game)
  • Highfleet (very well done)
  • Ghostrunner (which got too hard for me in midgame)
  • Sun Haven (great Stardew Valley clone) and
  • God of Weapons (thrilling combination of Vampire survivor and inventory management)

Overall 2023 had been an awesome year for game releases and there are so many games I have to go back to 2023 games in the next months and years.