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Getting into game development?

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I became interested in developing games probably around the time I first played Ultima IV and Bard''s Tale II at an early age. I grew up on a farm in rural northern Ontario. My brother, who was in 4H, traded his cow for a Commodore 64. Shortly after, I got interested in pencil and paper RPGs. I became the DM for my gaming group, and also began absorbing a lot of science fiction and fantasy novels. Fortunately for me, my interest in games is coupled somewhat with ability. I have strong technical and mathematical aptitude, and I spent a lot of time tinkering with my computer, and eventually put myself through university and have a degree in mathematics and computer science (Go University of Waterloo!). After completing school in 1996, I worked professionally for a year in Canada. I also spent some time working with pencil and paper gaming conventions, writing and running events, as well as running a number of RPG campaigns. Then I moved to San Jose just for a different life experience more than anything. This was around the time that Ultima Online was launched. I got into the public beta with a CD from someone in my gaming group at the time. In the game, I met at least two people who are in the game development industry, one of whom told me about the game development conference. I bought myself a classic pass (not cheap!) and went to check it out because I was thinking of creating a massively multiplayer game with some of the players I hung around with. Shortly after, and completely unrelated to this, I met a business development manager from a games portal where I took a job working with game developers and companies in a business capacity. This led me to have some contacts into the games industry that I turned into paying contracts. The first of which was to create some simple touch screen games for coin-op devices. Having paying contracts let me get incorporated, do some team building, and create game assets for my own large projects. In the meantime, I have also been building a word of mouth reputation as a quick, versatile software developer. I have taken on some relatively unsavory software porting projects that I have turned into successes for some companies. I have a few games launched on mobile phones in the US through wireless publishers, and also have nearly completed some works I intend to self publish. I received my first royalty statement on a published game a few weeks ago, and even though there is an advance that it gets put against, the feeling I had while holding that letter was pretty ecstatic. This is a fairly brief and rosy version of the story. There are some bruised knees and skinned elbows in there too. I am sure that most of you know how unprofessional the game development marketplace can be at times. Anyone else care to share their story?

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While there are a number of people who have successfully "broken into" the gaming industry who frequent this forum there are more that haven''t. Though I would venture most are trying. That’s why I think this is a great thread to help motivate people.

So I''ll give my little story... (to represent the folks still trying to "break in".

For some odd reason my parents felt the need to buy an 8086 when they first came out. We only had one game at first, space invaders, but that was enough to get me hooked. We later got our hands on "Captain Comic", the keen series and by that time I was a full-blown gamer. I knew from the time I was about 10 or 12 that I wanted to program games. I biked 10 miles to the local high school to take summer classes in LOGO an old language for the Mac. I loved that course so much I took it 3 times that summer. I programmed a Mario clone in logo, which is not an easy task (for a 12 year old working in logo).

From that point on I got distracted doing and learning different thing, I wrote a few little parts of engines, an isometric scrolling tile engine, and overhead tile engine, some GL apps, some directx apps, even a winsock based framework for MMORPG games (1 year of work!).

I first ran into Steve Pavlina via the Thinlineofsanity.com publisher review of dexterity software. I was immediately enamored with Steve’s company and it''s success and decided to follow suit. That was about 8 months ago, since then I''ve been working 5 nights a week (with some exceptions, like the week my wife had our 2nd son) on a cool little puzzle game.

Let me be the first to say, making a cool little puzzle game is a lot harder then it looks. That said I’ve learned tons about all different kinds of technology as a result of this project. Had the opportunity to work on a wide verity of problems and even convinced some of my friends to help out.

It''s hard to believe after 6 months of work the project is still just getting started. However the more I learn the faster things go. You can check out *some* of what we''re working on by clicking the little samurai in my sig.

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