The Journey so far

My story started in 1985 when my first game was published. This game was modest but was significant for me in many ways. The royalties the game made allowed me to move from cassette tape to hard disk which helped me build games faster but more importantly the seed was firmly set in my mind that I could make a living building games. At the time I was studying to gain entry into a computer programming career through the traditional educational route with the goal of finding a junior programmer job on completion of my computer course. By the time my two year course was complete I’d developed 3 games all of which were published and we’re making tiny amounts of revenue but every penny felt like a victory. Over the next 27 years I was fully emerged in game development at every level without the slightest doubt that my course was set and making games was always going to be the way I made a living.

You may have noticed that 1985 plus 27 years does not get us to 2017 so what happened over the past 4 years? Something strange and unexpected, I moved to web app development. Unlike many developer transition stories you might have read my change wasn’t driven by frustration or bitterness with game development but in my case I accidentally dipped my toe into web technology and was instantly hooked. I know you’re probably thinking css, html and javascript isn’t that sexy but there’s way more to this stack than you can ever imagine. Here’s where I’ve been for the past 4 years

  1. Learning and loving Javascript. I know real programmers work in C++ but Javascript has some incredibly powerful and interesting concepts. Programming Javascript is fun and instantly accessible
  2. Understanding the full stack. Working in NodeJS is a joy. Working with NOSQL databases and making API’s is immensely satisfying. It’s possible to make everything end to end without a team of specialist programmers
  3. Becoming an expert at web frameworks. I started with AngularJS but I’m now completely besotted with React / Redux. There’s so much power in the patterns these frameworks use that it’s impossible to not be impressed
  4. Finding my place in the vast web developer industry. I’m not a web developer. I use web tools to make apps that use the browser as a platform. These tools also allow me to make mobile apps using technology such as Cordova
  5. Finding my mojo. Web development moves at a rapid pace with technology churning at a relentless pace. Frameworks come and go, Javascript gets new features, new patterns appear, everything keeps changing. Loving it because with each iteration software becomes cleaner and easier. Each change brings the ability to write less code and make more features.
  6. Developing my devops opinions. Making software is just the start. Deploying to a development environment and then to production using the cloud and docker containers is a wonderful concept.

Enough gushing for now. I’ll expand in the future but it’s safe to say I didn’t chose to leave game development I was enticed into web app development by the technology and tools. I would never say there’s no going back to games but for now I’m having so much fun learning and developing my web tech skills it’s hard to see how I could find the time for anything else.