four months late I feel like wrapping up my year 2021 "better late, than never". Apart from the you-know-what situation that's going on now around the world, I can say that for me it was definetly not a year to forget. I'd go even as far and say it is among my best years yet.
I started writing this wrap-up in December of 2021, but the work on TM1X, combined with the festive days and university duties got in the way. Without further ado, here's my summary of 2021.
Early in 2021 I began on my Master's in Aerospace Engineering, specializing in astronautics. Having taken more or less a break from regular studying for the past 2 years, it was fun again to learn more about my future field. Next to management, maths and maths, I also learned more about cool astro stuff, like solar sails, numerical orbital dynamics and also non-astro stuff like shape-based CAD and fluid simulations. I decided to keep it cool and take extra time to finish my studies - I'm not in a rush to be done with the student life (yet)...
I still work as part time student assistant at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, supporting various developments around metallic 3D printing. I created a video as well, showcasing one of our key technologies: A scalable machine concept to manufacture large additively manufactured components. Working there remains exciting and fun to me, as there's always new challenges to tackle.
In March one of my parents suffered a severe, health-related incident, which changed a lot of things. My visits 300 km back home became more frequent, which meant that study-, work and project-related things had to be put aside often. Not to speak about how different both their lives have become now, but they manage well by now. I'll leave out the details, but I can say that the situation has definetly improved a lot since the incident and good progress is being made.
In the very beginning of the year I met my current girlfriend through online dating. Turns out that I won the lottery on my first draw. It took us only a few days to find out that we're the right fit for each other. She is cute, smart, beautiful, funny, interesting and - most importantly - now also my best friend. It might be due to the lockdown, but also due to me having lots of free time back then which presented us with great conditions to get to know each other. We have since moved in together and I'm very grateful for her - she has helped me a lot in overcoming difficulties I faced this year.
I have played less than 10 hours of Trackmania this year. Not because I don't enjoy it that much, but rather because I never found the headspace to just get the controller and say "I want to play". Maybe I'll do that in 2022 again and hunt some world records like I did in Lagoon 3 years ago. I'm still WR holder on some maps!
This is Lars' and my Magnum Opus (video-wise). We have created a video together in the span of 5 years. You have to watch it. If you're interested, you can read more about it here.
I enjoy working on ManiaExchange a lot. It's just fun to build tools, see that they actually work and then looking at people use them. Having a team to work together with makes it all the more enjoyable to contribute to MX, next to nice community responses. We have implemented a lot of cool stuff this year and we're still not done! The future will also bring technical updates to MX and ItemExchange, which will increase performance, quality of life improvements and a styling overhaul.
Sadly, in the end of 2021, TMUF-X was compromised, which forced us at MX to do a lot of overtime before and during the christmas days and beyond. Thankfully, we have a great team behind the effort to create a new page. It surely won't be long until it's ready - at least for downloading and searching tracks.
Part of my MX work is also Trackmania News. I have worked a lot for it this year and very exciting things are going to happen soon. Bear with us, though - the workload ahead is still immense.
I want to sincerely thank the MX crew, with their new and older members, for the amazing collaboration and fun chats. Honestly having a blast with you all!
The near future
My studies are coming closer to an end and the master thesis is already visible on the horizon. Having a more relaxed semester ahead, I will try and conclude most of my TM-related projects for good. ManiaExchange is secured financially for years to come, thanks to the incredible community support, and will get its deserved updates and maintenance once in a while. In regards to TMNews, I'd be very happy to see it finished before I go.
Thanks for reading. If you want to support my work in Trackmania, the best thing you can do is to support the crew on ManiaExchange.