Tag Archive for: gamedev

Imagining Microsoft’s Next Generation of Games

01 Jul
July 1, 2012

A few days go I walked into the Starbucks by my house, hoping to find a nice seat in a corner and get some work done. When I stepped into the pleasantly fragrant lobby and looked up, however, my hopes were crushed.

The place was packed, every table and chair accounted for, minus a few tiny seats at a bar table too small to fit my laptop. As I walked over to get in line (begrudgingly stink-eyeing the people who occupied all three of my favorite spots) I noticed something peculiar:

A lot of folks had tablets.

In fact, there were only a few people in the entire lobby not using tablets. I observed lots of iPads, a good representation of Kindle Fires and other e-readers; as far as I could tell, everyone else at least had a smartphone. Walking through the lobby after ordering my drink, I peeked discretely at the screens I passed. Some folks were gaming, others reading Facebook; many had their earphones in, watching netflixhuloutube or whatever.

Interesting, I thought as I walked across the street to a different, less crowded Starbucks. The tablet craze is here to stay.

Are laptops doomed to be replaced by tablets and smartphones? That’s a pretty safe bet. Yet, I sense a bigger shift in the wind: a convergence that will define an entirely new generation of video games. It all comes down to Microsoft…

Read more →

Certain about Seattle!

13 Jun
June 13, 2012

Gretchen (aka FutureWife) and I decided to head into the wonderful town of Frederick and get some work done at the unusually comfortable grocery store called Wegmans. They have fast internet and a coffee bar here, stay open until midnight, and there’s lots of seats laid out in a nice little set of rooms pretty far away from the “grocery” part of the store.

Woah! We just watched two skinny, heavily tattooed individuals with very red necks cruise by our table on one of those motorized carts meant for handicapped customers. Huh, one gentleman chose to sit in the basket. This day’s fantastic already.

Anyway. Red necked individuals misusing grocery store equipment have nothing to do with the upcoming discussion. Or, perhaps, they do. I’m here to talk about moving to Seattle, Washington. That’s 2715 miles away from these amateur comedians, which I take as a pretty bold tally mark under the “Pros” column. Seattle: 1. Maryland: 0.

Read more →

Games Industry Mentor, Career Advice, and Programming 101.

04 Jun
June 4, 2012

Launching this blog has been an extremely educational experience. I wanted to post a quick update to discuss where I sit today, what I’ve been learning recently, and what I’m feeling called to do next.

During the process of writing my first couple posts, I’ve talked a lot about passion. Passion not just for video games, but music, art, storytelling; subjects that took over my heart, disciplines I spent countless hours developing. Yet everything seemed to come back to games in all the work I did. I imagined orchestral scores reminiscent of Martin O’Donnell’s work in Halo (it’s on iTunes if you want to experience some hardcore nostalgia). Actually, my first adventures into photoshop and the 3D modeling world were to make my own mods for Halo PC. Every avenue of the arts I explored somehow led me back to games.

That was no coincidence. I was meant to be heading towards a career in games, using all the facets of passion I’d discovered in high school to develop games. In my last post, I described exactly what my dream job would look like. While my interest in making games certainly includes the art and design side of the process, what really fascinates me is game-play. I realized in my research that my dream of developing game-play aspects, especially in a senior position, would never come into fruition unless I learned to code. Programming and the prospect of trying to learn it had never really set me on fire. Suddenly, in the context of coding elements like artificial intelligence and game-play mechanics, that’s changed. Explosively.

Read more →

Dream Job Description

02 Jun
June 2, 2012

“Okay, Chuck.” you say. “I get it. You think you’re talented, or whatever. So what exactly would your ‘dream job’ be called?”

Please, please. Call me Charlie.

There are hundreds of different roles within a typical modern day game studio, and like some kind of jerk on the internet, I haven’t been very specific thus far. I should really point out that Game Design and Game Development describe two very different disciplines within video game creation, even though both are used interchangeably to describe making games. In my humble little brain-dictionary, Design is done by the “art department,” and Development is done mostly by programmers. Designers figure out what the game will look like, developers make the game work and play the way it should. This may sound like silly semantics (and a little alliteration?), but I’ve chosen to make these distinctions because the gap between both disciplines is widening, and requirements for each are becoming more specialized. In fact, many universities now offer separate degrees for design and development.

Read more →

Maturing Game Development Dreams

29 May
May 29, 2012

It was during high school that I discovered my passion. 

Yes, yes, I played games an enormously inappropriate amount, but that wasn’t all I did! Actually, I worked extremely hard during high school. Just not towards making good grades. Sophomore year I discovered an amazing love for songwriting; I spent countless hours after school working in recording rooms where I taught myself to sing, play piano, and guitar. Junior year was my own little creative renaissance. Thanks primarily to Calculus class, I filled notebook after notebook with the creative concoctions of my daydreaming: rough character sketches, elaborate plot outlines, and hundreds of songs. I took a bus to another school just to take a course about 3D Studio Max, and then spent many afternoons creating my own weapons, armors, and other cool things I wanted to try importing into my favorite games.

Instead of crappy FM radio, I listened to video game soundtracks. I imagined and composed epic scores of my own. I played daily, and not just to lollygag away the time! I studied other players until I could beat them, learning every intimate detail about one game, then moving on to the next. I invented new ways to use in-game mechanics and dreamt about the ways my own game-mechanics would work some day. Nowadays, I can’t play a game without meticulously analyzing all of its nuts and bolts.

I’m really not trying to toot my own horn here, or convince you I’m anything special. When I finally graduated, I placed near the bottom of my class and had nothing to show for all the work I had done. Totally unfortunate!

My sheltered closet-nerd lifestyle imploded very quickly after high school, yet this burning passion for all these hobbies stays with me even as my focus shifts towards the “next step of my life.”

I’ve spent the last three years on a path very different from most guys and gals my age. I wasn’t meant for college after graduating. Instead, my love for music led me to tour with a music ministry band. I traveled with 5 other volunteers and played nearly every day for the best type of audience a musician could ever hope for: Christians. Even if you’re terrible, you’ll never get booed off a church stage. Gretchen was our band’s beautiful drummer, and rather predictably, I fell totally in love with her as we worked together that year. In two months, I’m marrying her. Since finishing our travels on the road, Gretchen and I have been working full time, planning our wedding, and trying to figure out where we’re going to live for the first years of our marriage!

Somewhere during that year I became a grown-up. Crazy. My laziness and lack of discipline? I threw those out to prepare the way for my new dream.

I’m ready. I’m ready to take all of my passion for games and make it my profession.

This is no pipe-dream, my friend.

This is a calling, emboldened by my all-consuming passion for music, for art, and for design. I see endless opportunities to use those talents as a game developer. They are part of what is going to make my work stand out as my career begins.