Where did I go wrong?

by Administrator 12. December 2006 21:23

A friend just sent me a link to this Channel 9 video and I watched the first couple of minutes.

http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=261254

For those of you who don't have 40 minutes to watch this, its a video interview with Frank Savage @ MSFT, who heads of the XNA development team.  Frank worked on Wing Commander III and has a ton of street cred in the gaming industry.  MSFT wisely continues their trend of hiring the smartest people with the most cred and vision that they can find.

Anyway, allow me a moment of self reflection.  When I was 11 I made a spaceship game on BASIC for our 8086 PC.  It had colors and a cool spaceship I drew using arcs and lines, and the spaceship shot out this cool lightning bolt when you hit the space bar.  I got it to draw terrain (fixed skyscape that repeated over and over again) and was working on enemy spaceships.  At the time, I didn't understand that game developers give the illusion of many things happening at once by giving every object in the game world a chance to update itself every "tic" and that redrawing as often as possible was responsible for seeing various things moving on the screen at once.  I was trying to see if there was a way to get threads to work on BASIC, the old BASIC with 10 PRINT "HELLO", 20 GOSUB 2000 so I could have one thread per enemy spaceship and bullet.  Hey, it made sense at the time!   This caused me to wonder, where the hell did I go wrong?  I could have been one of those guys you read about, certainly no John Carmack in level of skill or innovation, but if I'd stuck with game programming maybe MSFT would be hiring me and people would say "Yeah, wow, you're that guy who worked on CornBlaster II" or something like that.  Oh well, I suppose I'm still young, if I only I could get off my ass and stop playing FFXII long enough to get back into game programming after an 18 year hiatus.

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About the author

Damon Payne is a Microsoft MVP specializing in Smart Client solution architecture. 

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