This update won't be like the others. It won't be focusing on what I have done on my game. Or in this case, didn't. I just wanted to share my life experience of how I got here. Maybe some of you can relate. Maybe you won't. Perhaps, you had it a bit easier. Maybe you went to school for game making and you're on your way! Kudos to you! Or maybe you're like me: grew up in a low-income household with very little opportunities to get ahead. Life seemingly already predetermined. Or maybe your journey is something else entirely. And that's the point. Everyone's going to have a different story to tell. And I feel that's part of the challenge and a bit of the fun of anyone's game development journey.
When I was kid, my uncle owned an NES. I loved that thing. Of course, I was victim to the unplugged controller, but nonetheless I loved what I was watching. Eventualy I did get to play, and it was magical. Fast forward to the elementary school years and I would be exposed to all sorts of consoles through friends. Being raised in a low-income setting meant not owning all the latest and greatest. We lived a very frugal life. But somehow my mom got enough money one christmas to get me my own N64. She did her best as a single parent. I will always be grateful to her.
The young days of gaming.
This admiration for games would continue well through high school. Unfortunately, so did the low-income life. I couldn't afford to even get into a community college so I mentally checked out senior year. Well, freshman year if I'm being honest. Why bother, I thought. This mental wall caused me to rethink my expectations of choosing a career. Cook? If my mom could do it, then I could, too. Construction worker? I hear it pays more! Warehouse Manager? Maybe if I was lucky enough to climb the so called "ladder". Whatever the case, programming/development wasn't even in the cards. This was back in 2008/2009.
For 8 years, I put off my dream career. During that time, I watched as the Internet morphed the perception of online learning - academically and practically. Online tutorials and courses weren't as prevalent as they are now. Today, there are courses and tutorials for everything. And bad eggs aside, online schools have taken their place as a viable form of education and advanced learning, especially for those of us who can't make it to the brick and mortar schools. The entry for game development has never been easier whether you go it on your own or through a formal education with a school.
All this, along with other events, allowed me to advance my learning.
Pictured: the exact opposite of how I felt when graduating.
It's been 4 years since I had the opportunity to go to college. It's been over a year since I was hired as an intern and over a month since I was hired full-time with that same organization. Software developer - it's a cool title I've wanted for a while. But in the back my mind video game developer always sounded better.
It hasn't always been easy trying to put in time to learn more about game development. During college, if I wasn't doing classwork, I was working full-time. Now, I don't worry about school, but the current job I have drains me of all energy. A 2 hour commute added onto the 8 hour day will do that. Family obligations have always pulled me away since I was a child. As a kid, I actually babysat many of my relatives while the parents would work. I still have to worry about them and now my aging mother, too. Sometimes I feel like they're all my kids since I have been there for them for most of their lives.
This past year, life threw several curveballs at me, too. Because why not right? I had to move twice. With it came days of searching and seeing houses. I had to junk one car due to an accident and sell my other failing one. Then, I had to buy a car for me and I also helped my mom buy a car, too. When the hell did I become an adult and who gave me all these responsibilities! Oh and I almost forget to mention my first of many bouts with anxiety.
Somehow, through all the grind and chaos that is life, I managed to squeeze in game development tutorials and complete courses here and there. A few projects are stashed away on my hard drive - which unfortunately started to fail on me. But like I said, the new job has given me the income to get me a nice PC. Also gaming!
Which leads us to now. I just got done moving out and moving into a new house. I put development off to the side during this whole ordeal, but I still wanted to do something. I tried to make some levels, but I realized I am not that creative. Did you see my last post on my so-called level!? Yeah it would've been more of that - more flatness, ha. I asked my sister if she could sketch some designs for me to use. I asked for 3 designs and she delivered.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) they are very...involved. There's either going to be a lot of time spent making these levels on my own or lots of time spent searching for pre-made shapes for it. I was thinking basic levels with a few simple but creative obstacles. Maybe a ramp here and there, or a switch needed to open a door. What I got back from her was something like a sailor-moon inspired level with multiple floating areas and death traps. I can only appreciate her passion.
So that's been my journey, so far! I always liked reading stories about how certain games came to be, about game developers, or just simple facts about them. It was always interesting knowing the history. Now, it's a reminder of my own history. One I hope people will also look back on, too.