I continue to explore and develop my ideas for my next game. Much of my exploration has resulted in dead ends, followed by back-tracking and course correction.
Over the holidays I returned to my previous conception of the game as revolving around exobiologists studying alien life. I moved the setting back down to a planet surface and fiddled with my terrain-generation algorithms...a lot (possibly too much).
On a related note, a Gamasutra article has got me thinking about clarifying my goals and methods, since my vision has been pretty muddled and nebulous over the last few months. The article is specifically about what makes team projects successful, but I think there are some interesting lessons for solo developers as well. I will expound upon this soon in another blog post.
Meanwhile, here's a screenshot from the holiday work: