Dan Violet SagmillerMember Since 27 Dec 2012
Offline Last Active May 20 2013 06:57 PM
(current game blog: Warp Wars City)
Started game development in the 4th grade, on some ancient Mac thing with some form of basic. On and off I continued to learn and grow my skills.
Crashed a couple bikes, and learned QBasic from the help files.
After helping out a community computer gifting project, I found Visual Basic. Shortly after that, I learned to make really good cheese cakes.
I was also making Quake levels, and Dark Reign mods. Shortly after that I graduated highschool, found a
nice terrible minimum wage job, until I found myself working at technology fore front company still a teenager, no college, making over 30k annually with an unmatched bens package.
After the .COM crash, I found myself more minimum wage jobs (oh fun) I even worked as a produce clerk at Walmart! (bleh) I think I was the only one in the break room working out key less binary decryption algorithms.
During those minimum wage years, I spent a lot of time tearing apart my car, and installing computers in it. an 88 Honda CRX, with no dashboard panels, and a touch screen where the vent control and radio used to be. Loads of fun.
Later on, I started making a comeback in the world of professional programming, and managed to land my first contract where I'm paid to do nothing. (I.e. they pay me a lot, making sure that as soon as a contract opens, I'm instantly available) During that luxurious month, I learned A* Path Finding, and started a more intense AI study in general.
Around the same time, I started teaching Game Development courses at Heartland Community College. It was originally just VB6 and Hangman, but I quickly turned that into VB.Net, 2D Space Shooter, 3D Bit Blitz Pro, C#, AI, Physics and networking classes. It grew over season (that about as fast as college classes can grow) Keep in mind that I still didn't (and still don't) have a college degree.
Then I moved from cornfields to mountains when Microsoft offered me a job. I worked in their metric management for mobile development for a year, where I developed really strong internal knowledge on VS Automation, C# dialects and Foosball. My resume reflects foosball under my job description at Microsoft.
I also had the opportunity to teach a single class at Digipen, probably the best Game Development college in the world, and if I'm not mistaken, the only college fully dedicated to game development.
Then I took my automation knowledge (said goodbye to foosball), and interviewed with Wizards of the Coast. I had a phone screen, then phone interview, then went into my in person interview. A storm trooper stood outside the door of the room I was in. I had decided for this job that was going to pay twice what Microsoft paid, that I should wear something nice to the interview, you know give them the right impression of me. So I wore flip flops, a sleeveless shirt and karate gi pants. Needless to say I got the contract.
7 months later, I flipped from contract to full-time for even more pay than I made as a contractor, and taking on senior automation, programming, and also taught internal classes on Game Development, AI, Physics, C#, Automation, and other fun things. Since employees receive free Magic The Gathering online accounts, with EVERY CARD EVER MADE, I had a duel with an intern, which we took a screen shot of at the time. by the 13th turn, I dealt approximately 170,000 points of damage. Unfortunately, we also found that MTG had a hard limit of -32,767, a negative int16, so that's all his score went down to. But considering its a game that usually last longer than 13 turns, and typically only a total of about 20 points defines the life of an opponent, that was a good game.
During this time, I had also started teaching at Bellevue Community College, where I took their existing one session Game Development class that lead to some pretty basic stuff, and turned it into a larger scale series. First I upgraded their use of vb.net and forms for game development and switched it to XNA. (I had previously been at Microsoft, and had plenty of available XNA resources) I helped retrain the previous game instructor (didn't take much) so he was comfortable teaching that as well. I got to teach C# Programming in general, Visual Studio Automation, Game Testing as a Profession, Game Dev 1 (building a basic forms RPG), Game Dev 2 (2D XNA Space Shooter). Loads of fun.
After a few years there, I finally decided that enough was enough, and I needed to see
foosball family again, I quit, (they did try to keep me, and over all one of the better places I've worked. This was also during the housing market crash) and a couple months later moved out to Wisconsin where I took another one of those Pay to not work jobs. Yay! After a couple of weeks, I ended up taking a position out here.
But the interview and the job actuality where quite different.
Interview quoted plenty of remoting. What it actually meant was remoting at 3 AM so I wouldn't have to drive in. Which also turned out to happen on my first weekend working there. I stayed at least 3 months to honor the minimum contract (looks really bad otherwise), but then bolted.
Shortly after, I took a job with Trek Bikes, a very West Coast feel company in WI. in general a great place, but no foosball and no games. Strange company though. They seemed to think they were agile, but they only vaguely resembled it, and had nearly none of the benefits of it.seemed to think a history of X thousands of bugs some how represented a good product. I can't say anything bad about their bikes though. They made good bikes and took that part seriously. Just their software division that had issues. After working there, and seeing their mentality to building bikes, I'd be more likely to buy their stuff than anyone elses.
They offered me a job, but it wasn't in a price range I was happy with, so I left, and took a job paying considerably more. Here I picked up my silverlight skills, and got to work directly with Bob Galen on Agile. He even reviewed the chapter in my book on Agile and liked the approach (Bob Galen is a sizable name in Agile, travelling around the world, working with major companies to improve things)
Oh yeah, I also wrote a book on game development. I'm also running some smaller classes out here on game development, and have a mobile class room. Unfortunately it used XNA, was still in review, and then Microsoft announced the death of XNA a week ago, Feb 1st, 2013. WAH!!!! Time to start over with Unity.
My current side project is a 3D Web Based City Builder in Unity. Hoping it will be a lot of fun and get completed.
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Guitar, Game Design, Teaching Game Development and Theoretical Physics,