Saturday, January 15, 2011

Let the Journey Begin!

Hello internet!

I've been meaning to do this for quite a while, and I've finally decided to do it. "This", of course, is to create a blog where I can post both my progress on becoming an apt game programmer and  random thoughts about gaming in general.

As the "about me" blurb in my profile suggests, I've been gaming for a LONG time. One of my earliest memories is playing my older cousin's Atari 2600 as he babysat me for some extra cash. I was pew-pewing at the age of four, not even sure what I was doing, but completely drawn in by the glorious flashing lights and sounds of such classics as Missile Command, Space Invaders and Plaque Attack. Growing up I continued to evolve my gaming experiences through mediums including the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis. Now, at the age of 27, I continue to partake in interactive experiences of a much higher level (Left 4 Dead, Mass Effect, and Starcraft II are just a few examples). However, even as I buy new graphics cards so I can play the biggest and brightest triple-A titles, I never forget the classics. I never forget my roots.

Which brings me to my career choice: Programming. I always wanted to make games. My friends and I, in between playings of Mega Man and Castlevania, used to invent video games on pieces of paper. We drew out level designs, item drops, and enemy spawn points (ah, how I wish I had kept those binders full of random gaming ideas...even though most of them were basically Super Mario clones). During my junior-high year, a recruiter from Memorial University of Newfoundland paid my school a visit, and spoke of the computer science department, and how I could learn programming methodology. My eyes lit up. I had decided then and there to attend MUN, get my computer science degree and program games that would change the industry!

I did indeed go to university and  I got my degree, but somewhere along the lines of doing so reality set in. Or more accurately, the disillusionment of what I thought "making games" was. I know now that there are many, MANY different aspects to building a game. There is level design, engine programming, A.I., and so many others. I now also know that there is no room in the industry for a specialized "idea guy", where a studio would hire me to come up with awesome game ideas to pass them along to the team (which is what I had pictured in my youth). On top of all that, there were sadly no gaming studios here in Newfoundland (a fact that has changed over the last two years). And while I was not completely opposed to moving away, I do love this province. So in the end, I choose to take my degree and get a job at a respectable non-game-making company.

My degree was not a waste however, since during my studies I discovered a great love for programming. Building a program to make use of that bubble-sort algorithm I learned gave me great joy. No kidding! It was awesome! :-) So, no regrets on that front. I do enjoy my job and all the neat problem solving that comes with it.

I still, to this day, have that nagging itch. That "want" to have my hands in game development. Which brings this first (and as it turned out longer than I had expected) blog post full circle. In the future I hope to use my base programming skills to learn how to be a great game programmer. Even if I never work for a gaming studio, this journey should improve my overall programming abilities. And hey, who knows...maybe one day I'll release that next big indie hit, or even create a gaming project on http://sourceforge.net/ that would bring some joy to the open source crowd.

I hope as this blog gains more content/code snippets/game rants that it will prove to be useful to people with the same ideals. As we say in the Starcraft community,

glfh (Good luck and have fun!)

2 comments:

  1. It's about time Gord! Looking forward to seeing how this goes. Whether it's coding or gaming (both video and pen/paper) I'm sure you've got a long list of stories to tell.

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  2. Can't wait to read more. There are sure to be plenty of epic gaming posts in the future! ^_^

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