Some Indie Dev Background

5 April 2016 by Jeff

Hello World!

It’s a wonderful day to be developing video games. This is something I have done consistently for the past 16 years! When I was 12 years old, I began studying programming and developing video games. It soon became my passion to create graphics, sound effects, music, story, and programming into a cohesive piece of art.

My first exposure to this was thanks to my older brother, who downloaded and made a demo with the VERGE1 game engine back in 1999. I was always drawing characters and make-shift board games at that point, so he asked me to create the character sprites for his game. I still remember the sprite dimensions for this DOS-based RPG engine: 16x32 px frame characters with 5 frames per direction, 4 directions, and 10 extra frames for special states and animations. This completely blew my preteen mind that I was able to draw completely animated video game characters, and I was hooked.

Soon after my brother stopped working on his game, I picked it right up: I began scripting in VERGE1, drawing sprites, and composing music for them using Modplug Tracker. I found that my creative energies were centralized on one thing: Video Game Development.

When I was 13, I entered a 48 Hours of VERGE, a game jam where it was required to use the VERGE game engine. I successfully completed a short adventure game and ranked 2nd place in this small contest. The game is called Thorny’s Quest, and is in the style of Zelda. The game can be found on multiple sites and is documented here on the HoV site.

thorny Thorny’s Quest, my first game jam. Not bad for a 13 year old in 2001, right?

This was a big eye opener for me, as I realized I was capable of creating worlds and get a positive reaction from others. Nothing was going to get between me and this anchor of wonder.

As time passed, the communities I interacted with grew and created new, better tools to use. I specifically had a love affair with the Python programming language, and began making more games. Below is a list of some of the engines and libraries I used as a teenager:

  • Allegro with C++
  • ika, a game engine that uses Python, created by my friend Andy.
  • Sphere, a game engine that uses JavaScript, created by my friend Chad.
  • Pygame with Python. When I was 17, I participated in another game jam. This time, I created an RPG turned side-scroller by the end, called “SpringTime”.

springtime SpringTime, the first place game I created for a jam when I was 17.

This game took first place! Amazingly, this site is still up and documents how it went down. I look back fondly on these memories, where I slaved over a computer for three days straight to create a game as impressively as possible.

tactics Final Fantasy Tactics inspired game. This screenshot is dated August 2004.

I was also around this time working on a Final Fantasy Tactics inspired game with my friends from high school. We were all super into it and loved developing it. Although development never made it much past a few levels, it was completely playable and had original artwork.

tactics2 She’s casting Fire. It probably burns.

So, there’s some of the first game development I did in my life. It’s a part I hold dear, and am happy to share with the rest of the world what makes me the game developer I am today.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for games I’m currently developing!


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