June 10, 2013

my history with programming

I have been playing, designing, and building video games for many years and this site contains some of my work, including my first completed for-pay game. Video games are my passion and I am working towards becoming an indie game developer.

At a young age I played games like Math Blaster Pro and the always popular "print stuff with a dot matrix printer" on the family's old Windows 3.1 machine. One day I was introduced to Worms and Gorilla and shown how to access the QBasic source code. I fiddled around with the code, but my mind had not yet ripened enough to make any meaningful code changes. I spent some time at elementary school in the computer lab, with Yvonne the schools IT lady, playing a puzzle game (Blob maybe?). My mother, always trying to keep me having fun and learning, noticed that I enjoyed computers more than my sisters, so she signed me up for summer computer camps where I learned basic "animation" and HTML. These were lots of fun and further piqued my interested in creating things on the computer. In Junior High some friends and I made visual games in Hyper Studio and choose your own adventure text games in Chipmunck that were pretty awful. Around this time my friends and I started playing MUDs because teachers couldn't tell it was a game, this had the unintended consequence of teaching me to touch type. This is where I met my friend Sam, Sam and I had some great times making things on the computer, and Sam ended up teaching me the fundamentals of programming from late junior high to early high school. In high school I started learning C++ which quickly resulted in me making proper ASCII art games. Sam and I actually got so far ahead in the assignments that the teacher wouldn't give us the next ones and we had nothing to do but fiddle with code. Calculator games were a big thing in high school, but while others were playing them I would program. I took the calculator manual to math class and I would sit and work on making an RPG. From there it was a short leap to teach myself actionscript and flash. My love of programming brought me to the doorstep of the University of Calgary where I completed a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science.

During one summer break off of university I was on a long road trip to a sailing race, hours of time in the back of a truck, what better to do than program a game? With a little math help from a friend we managed to put together my first proper finished game D'Pirate Sausage. It is about racing sailboats and is more fun if you have a little bit of sailing knowledge. Something remarkable happened with this game, people really enjoyed playing it. I had the only copy on my laptop and was continually being asked to bring it out. One time when I arrived in the neighboring province for a race, a kid who had played my game an entire year ago asked me to bring it out so he could play! The feelings I experienced from people enjoying a game that I made got me hooked, and I have been writing game prototypes ever since.

After a couple years of working in software while creating game prototypes and attending Game Jams I decided it was time to follow my heart. My current prototype was going to be more, it was going to be a finished game. Motivated by current technology lowering the bar of entry for indie developers, I quit my job to become a full time game developer. A couple months later I ended up with a finished game, MoonBus.

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