So when I got back from the Christmas holidays in Ontario, I wanted to start writing a blog to help describe the project that I was about to embark upon. Well it's February now, and I haven't been very dilligent about sharing my thoughts... so forgive me as I start out in my first post.
I am an out of work game programmer. I've been in the business of software development for 10+ years now. Vancouver was hit pretty hard by the layoffs and studio closures of 2009. I am one among many people who find themselves out of a job waiting for the economy to pick up.
I'm a kinda weird 'guy' when it comes to programming. Bit of a 'jack-of-all-trades' kind of a fill in the blank person for a development team. Here's the deal... I have two degrees from Simon fraser University. My main 'techie' degree is in computing science with specializations in databases, and user-interface design. However, I also have a degree in English Literature, with minors in Philosophy, and Political theory. Go figure huh??? I was one of these wierd left brain-right brain people who could jump between doing physics, calculus and algorithms, and discussing Romantic poetry, Kantian Epistemology and how post-modernism is an intellectual cul-de-sac. I pretty much like my knowledge broad, and I like to be able to link LOTS of ideas together in a myriad of different patterns.
Ok so where was I??? Right! Christmas break, and what I've been doing for the past month while I hunt for work. Well. I used to enjoy programming. There will be more on this to come... but what I really love about making games is the challenges of building interactive stories. I love trying to apply standard storytelling techniques to building interactive worlds that people find engaging. So rather than sit around... I decided I would try to rebuild a world that had meant so much to me in my past.
I used to LOVE the Ultima games written by Lord British. In particular I loved his fourth game: Quest of the Avatar. For many, this game was a milestone in terms of its design and gameplay. (more on that later) So I have decided to rebuild this classic game in Adobe Flash. I've been working night and day on it for the past few weeks. My original goal was to have an Alpha version (i.e. be feature complete) ready for the end of January... well that didn't work out.
But I got pretty damn close! So I'm going to share with people on this Blog how the development process has gone and what I've gained by reliving a crucial game of my yesterdays from the inside out. By building it and remembering all the incredible things that made Britania (the world of Ultima) such an incredible place to visit.
Not only will I be providing technical stories here... but also some of the personal experiences that shaped my life as I played through each iteration of the game. It's wierd because when I first started writing down all the ways that these games affected me I was quite amazed that I had nearly a full page of short-form anecdotes.
So I'll try to keep the posts coming daily, and perhaps post a link to the play-testable version of the game when it's ready for outside eyes.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see ya in future posts,