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The joys and pains of being an "indie"...

I've always wanted to create video games as long as I can remember. This blog is about how I'm actually trying to make that dream a reality.

Author: Dracis

Learning the trade: An ongoing blog on becoming a game developer

Posted by Dracis Tuesday June 12 2007 at 12:58AM
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I"ve been meaning to do this for several days now, I've just had a hard time deciding where to start.

 

One thing I see here on MMORPG.com in the development forums is alot of people wanting to become a developer. Most just have an idea, some have a bit more, but it's alot harder than it looks.

 

As with most developers, I've been playing video games for years. Nearly most of my life actually. I just never knew how to get started. I first started off trying to make Flash games, but I'm no artist by any means. Then I found a lovely little program called Game Maker that wet my appetite. I've made quite a few games on that, most just for friends and family. Game Maker wasn't enough for me though, so I enrolled in some classes and learned C++ and DirectX programming.

 

Now let me say coding isn't for everyone. You need math skills and good ones. One thing I've tried to instill in my daughter. It's been hard for me to learn, because I'm more of a hands on type of person. That and I guess I have the old dog/new tricks thing going on at times. You're brain really does turn to mush as you get older. Alot of time I can see the code in my head, but I just can't translate it from thought to the computer.

 

Another thing to know about becoming a developer is finance. Let me state for the record, I'm no financial genius. There have been very few times in my life that I haven't been in debt, so going into game development wasn't much of a stretch for me. I can say that right at this point I've spent about ten thousand dollars on our little company. All of that coming right out of my pocket. A good chunk of that money is on our game engine and on various programs for our artist.

 

We went with a game engine, just because it was easier to actually adjust the engine for our needs than for me to code the whole darn thing myself. I'm pretty good, but I'm no coding genius either. I plod along and take my time. If I can find a code snipet here or there that some one is willing to share, I'm more than happy to use it instead of trying to figure it out myself.

 

There's alot more to it than just this little bit I'm writing here, but I guess I'd like you folks to tell me what you want to hear. Is there some question I can answer? Is there something about coding you want to ask? Do you want to just hear about the day to day things that I go through?

 

Let me know and I'll bash it out for you folks here.

 

In the beginning...

Posted by Dracis Tuesday June 5 2007 at 10:51PM
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Oh, where to begin...

I'll  do a brief intro about myself and then carry on tomorrow with the gory details.

My name is Chris "Dracis" Harpan. I've been going by Dracis, Dracis Draconian, or just plain 'Drac' for about 6 or 7 years now. I'm nearly 35 years old and I'm disabled. I'm also the co-founder of a small independent video games development company. While we have no huge games to speak of yet, we're working on it.

Before I got sick, I was in telecommunications for over 10 years. I worked for a company that built fiber optic networks all over the country for cable tv. I was a construction lineman and foreman. In other words, I climbed alot of "telephone" poles and hung alot of fiber cable all over good ole U.S. of A. After my daughter was born, I got off the road and began to work for the telephone company. I worked for Ameritech/SBC/AT&T until i got sick.

I have a disease called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. I have a chronic case of it, along with chronic meningitis and occiptial nueralgia. In other words, I have alot of head and back pain, with all sorts of other things thrown in. Ramsay Hunt is caused by having chicken pox as an adult. I've had this disease for nearly 3 years now.

After I became sick I had no idea what I would do with my life. Even though I dela with alot of pain on a daily basis, I didn't just want to sit on my buttocks for the rest of my life. So I enrolled  in the programming courses at The Game Institute. I've always wanted to make games and now I actually have the time to devote to doing it.