Having read some of my previous posts, you probably know that I’m here for the journey and not the destination.
But what if it’s not a journey toward making games?
Breakin’ it down.
When I was younger, I did a lot of creative things. I wrote songs, poetry, and some fiction. (Hell, I even finished a really bad novel once.)
No matter which medium I chose, it always felt like it was lacking all the others. If I wrote a story, it lacked visuals and sound. If I wrote a song, it had sound and (sometimes) a story, but it also lacked visual elements. I thought a lot about getting into filmmaking, but it lacked something too: variables. Alternative endings aside, a movie is very fixed in form and doesn’t allow for audience participation or fluid responses on the part of the creation itself.
Games have all the things (which is probably why they’re hard as hell), and, to me, they represent as perfect a medium for expression as we can attain at this point.
But there’s more to my story.
Coder to the core.
I’ve been writing code since 1983. I started professionally in 1985. To say that I love coding would be an understatement; for me, code is a thing that mimics how the universe (in my opinion) probably runs.
Code is magic(k). Open a window in a code editor or IDE (if you’re not using JetBrains you’re missing out) and there’s a blank screen. If you know the right words and how to string them together, then you’re doing creatio ex nihilo and that’s amazing. You can make things that do things… even when you’re not around.
From my humble beginnings as a novice programmer, I saw the magick of code, and I was hooked. I knew the day would come that code started catching up to my visions, and here, nearing the end of 2023, we’re mostly there. Large language models, photorealistic graphics, and amazing, mature tools like Unreal, Unity, Godot, Blender, and Gamemaker are free* for anyone who wants to learn them.
Games take code to a whole new level.
“Object-oriented” has been a thing in code for a long time, but when you’re coding in the realm of game development, you can see your objects not just as lines of code but as visible, moving objects.
Microservices is a newer idea but game development has been doing it for a long time… a player might have a script, a camera might have a script, and they do their things somewhat independently.
Message queues have been around for a while, and games do this too. Objects sometimes need to tell each other what they’re doing (or what they’ve done, or what they’re planning).
Also, it wasn’t until I started this game development venture that I found practical uses for sine, cosine, and square roots.
Game dev is leveling up my coding and my brain.
I’m here. What’s next?
Who cares?! This is frickin’ awesome!
Seriously, everything I’ve done so far has had its own reward. It was a reward given to me not because I earned commercial success or the accolades of millions of gamers… I got it because I showed up and persisted through some things that were difficult, intimidating, and confusing. (A lot of them still are BTW!)
I feel like I’m in my element, perhaps for the first time in my life. I’m in a place where one of the things I enjoy most—coding—meets the artistic medium that I always craved: a place of sound, visuals, music, and outcomes driven by human interactions and computing decisions.
What comes out of this might be a game or a series of games; I do have a story or two left in me. It might be a game that doesn’t look like a game at all, or it might be a game full of the unexpected. Or it might just be more videos of me learning things and having fun.
I think I’ve found what I want to do when I grow up… and I still don’t know exactly what it is.