I got into game development professionally almost two decades ago to fulfill a childhood dream. When I was around 10, my family visited my brother at college. He took us to a little dive sandwich shop for lunch; that lunch changed my life forever. They had a Space Invaders arcade machine, and I was fascinated by it. From that point on, I became obsessed with electronics and computers. I would check out electronic and computer reference books from the library and pore over them for hours. I had no clue what the pinout diagrams, circuit layouts and assembler code meant but they fascinated me. (I’m still fascinated by them actually, but now at least I know what the mean. 🙂 )
Two years later I got my Atari 2600. I *loved* it. One day I got a new game from a little startup called Activision. You may have heard of them. In the booklet that came with the game cartridge, they included a head shot of the single developer who had made the game. This was truly revolutionary, since developers had always been behind the scenes before. It was an epiphany for me that people actually made video games for a living. At that moment I knew that I wanted to make video games when I grew up. However, my family was far from supportive. My father felt it was foolish since there was “no money in video games”. So I took a different path and ended up going into astrophysics, another passion of mine (my father was still unhappy with me, but that’s a different story 😉 ).
I enjoyed doing scientific research but I was still obsessed with games. Not only that, I felt a compulsion to make games. The whole time I was working I would come home and try and make games as a part-time thing. Then one day I got the news that my father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had at most 6 months to live. It made me take a very hard look at my own life. My life was good but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t do the thing I was passionate about. So I took a crazy risk and left my cushy research job to pursue my dream.
Fast forward 18 years and I’ve learned a lot and accomplished a fair bit. Check out my LinkedIn profile if you’re curious. 😉 I don’t regret my decision at all, but it’s time for me to take on another challenge. This time it’s to go indie to see where that takes me. I want to explore building games from emergent systems. I want to see how big of a game a small team (hopefully) can build. Though most importantly, I want to make games that are fun and that people enjoy and want to play. Join me on Twitter, Facebook, or the dev blog if you want to see what I make and join me in my discoveries.
p.s. If you’re interested in my thoughts on management check out my blog Captain By Rank.
p.p.s If you’re interested in booze check out the booze blog I co-run Booze Nerds.