C64, C++, Drumming, BJJ, and my 12 Month Game Challenge

George Hemingway
June 5, 2014

I'm a part time independent game developer from Melbourne / Australia and 2014 is turning out to be a big year for me. My first title has just entered closed alpha, and later this year, I'll release it into the wild. Until then, I thought I'd take this opportunity to give you some insight into why I love developing videogames.

A photo of me working on my latest game

Gaming in the '80s

My gaming adventure started back in the early '80s when my father gave me a Commodore 64. I was probably 7 at the time. My fondest gaming memories however started later that decade when I was playing the likes of Sid Meier's Pirates, Gunship, and Pool of Radiance ('88 version on PC).

These games triggered my imagination. Gunship was so immersive that I seriously thought I could fly a helicopter. Lucky for me, I was never given the opportunity! On the other hand, the Sid Meier's Pirates experience was so absorbing that I navigated the entire world and produced a hand drawn map on continuous computer paper. Who knows whether Sid Meier's intention was to turn us into cartographers, but it's clear today that many of us still have a strong nostalgia from playing videogames in this era.

The C64 startup screen The C64 startup screen: So much nostalgia :-)

Transition to Game Developer

My obsession with developing videogames started during my Bachelor of Computer Science at Monash University in 1994. Initially the art of programming felt quite foreign, but once I grasped the key concepts, I felt like I was given the power to build or compute anything imaginable. In the 90s, I wrote an RPG in DOS which rendered the scenes in ASCII, and later tapped directly into the VGA card (via mode 13h) to write a 3D software renderer. What's interesting is the time spent sitting in front of a Borland Turbo C++ compiler felt more powerful than any gaming experience I've had.

The Borland Turbo C++ compiler A hello world example in the Borland Turbo C++ compiler

12 Month Game Challenge

Game development is a part time venture for me. I have a full time career in software development, and continue to raise my wonderful family. Many years ago, I played drums for a Melbourne metal band, and more recently, achieved my purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Finding time to develop my games has been a constant challenge, but my relentless passion has always been there.

Last year, to satisfy my driving passion, I gave myself a challenge to complete a game in 12 months. Time's nearly up, but thankfully I'm on the home straight. Along the way I've faced many obstacles, and these must only be too familiar to other developers: indecision on the original idea, indecision on game design, indecision on target audience, scope creep, more indecision, and finally the hardest one of all: getting the project over the line.

Please Stay Tuned...

My ambition is to tap into the key concepts that make gaming so important to me. More importantly, I want to inject my own creativity so that I can hopefully contribute something new to the vibrant scene.

I'm also doing some interesting things with technology, and for those interested, I'm using the Saltarelle Compiler to cross compile C# into javascript and pixi.js to render using WebGL. This allows my games to run directly in the web browser across many platforms, and from a development perspective, I feel at home working with a strongly typed language.

Thanks for listening and feel free to keep in touch.

A drawing of me that my son drew Signing out with a drawing from my 5 year old son. It's a drawing of me and I love it when kids express their creativity.

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