Backstory Discussion

Hey, everyone,

While I am tinkering with Orx, and formulating some ideas, I thought I would get to know a little about every one, and also share a little about myself.

So, just a quick post about when you started, your first language, and why you program.

I'll start:

I first thought about designing games back in '02 when some of my friends told me they would absolutely play my stories if they were made into games. So, in summer of '03, I bought Game Maker(which was pretty new at the time), and tinkered around with it for a couple of years. I hated it. I then bought DarkBASIC in '08(my first real programming language) after a 3 year hiatus. The language later went defunct in lieu of their App Game Kit.

I messed around with a number of langauges from 2010 to 2016 including Java, Javascript, HTML/CSS, Python, C#, F#, J#(pretty much every #), C, C++, FreeBASIC, QuickBASIC, QB64(a 64-bit QuickBASIC dialect), before returning to C++.
The reason I program is to push my limits, force my brain into different thought processes, and turn my ideas into functioning toys that people can play with.

Thank you for reading, and I hope to hear from everyone,

[Edited for ease of reading issues]


  • I started a long way back, early eighties on C64 BASIC and machine code, then later on Amiga AMOS BASIC and assembler. Later in the 90s it was HTML and Javascript and ASP/VB. Then finally to C# as my work staple, then C++ and a number of other languages over the years.

  • Hey @WolftrooperNo86, nice idea.

    On my side, my first contact with programming languages was around 6-7 years old, copying BASIC programs from magazines, which in itself doesn't really count as programming.

    I started to actually learn how to program a few years later, in the early 90s, in x86 Assembly on PC.
    Most of my early asm work was revolving around demoscene work (you know, text sine scrollers, fire&wind effects, things like that) with a couple stabs at making games, none of which ever resulted in something playable.

    My first actually playable game (beside a couple of class projects made earlier) was released around 96-98 (can't remember precisely) when I was a university student, this time in C. It was a clone of the traditional light cycle game, with local 4 players support and a bunch of power ups. It turned out to be quite fun and ended up being copied around the university for a little while. Back then I was learning C as well as Java, LISP, Scheme and a little bit of C++.

    Lastly I started working in the video game industry in 2001 and orx was created around the same time (although the name came later), out of frustration I had with commercial engine limitations and the lack of imagination that went into them.

    I started playing video games in the early 80s and went on to study programming because of them (and the fact that I had no artistic talents).

  • @sausage Why do you program? What drives your desire to keep at it?

    @iarwain Wow, I see a lot of parallels between our stories, lol. You said you worked in the video game industry. Company? Notable projects?

    Unfortunately, my first two demo games(made in DarkBASIC) got lost: A pong-clone I made for fun, and a lunar lander clone made for a compo(it earned 3rd).
    My third demo and final demo were made in QB64.
    The first was a 30-line coding challenge using no conditionals(If/Then, Do/Loop, Do/Until, While/Wend, or Select/Case), and one command per line. I made a little dice game.
    My last demo was a Tetris clone made for fun. It has 5 game modes and is the first game that people seemed to enjoy playing(I had to pry my father and my friends off of it to continue working on it, LOL).

  • For me I write games really as portfolio pieces, really just for fun as a hobby. And it's more interesting that the coding I do during the day. But overall, it's another creative outlet. I like to be building or creating something all the time, whether it's a service, a game, some graphics, some electronics.

  • @WolftrooperNo86 I'm still working in the game industry as of today. :)
    Let's see, I've worked for a few different companies, and here are some of the titles I worked on:

    • Tork
    • Motocross Mania 3
    • Splinter Cell: Conviction
    • Playstation Move: Heroes
    • Resistance: Burning Skies
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified
    • The Walking Dead: Season 1
    • Poker Night 2
    • The Wolf Among Us: Season 1
    • Child of Light
    • Rainbow Six: Siege
    • Days Gone
    • DiRT Rally / DiRT Rally PSVR
    • DiRT 4
    • Onrush
    • Defiance 2050
    • Halo: The Master Chief Collection
    • Dead by Daylight

    And with orx:

    • Little Cells

    As well as a few gamejam entries:

    • Mushroom Stew
    • Breaktris
    • Ytterbite
    • Ripples
    • Lifetris

    And a bunch of projects that never got released, either personal or professional. ;)

  • Those gamejam entries are orx too.

  • Hi guys, I'm late to this party but I stumbled across this post last night and the talk of assembly and basic brought back some old memories so thought I'd share my story.

    My dad was an apollo era programmer at NASA and tried to teach me some assembly when I was 9 or 10...I think it was frustrating for him! Later when I was about 12 or so he ordered a Sinclair ZX81 computer kit (giving away my age here) with a big fat 16K RAM upgrade. I remember copying some BASIC programs from a magazine (such a weird concept to think about now) and learned a little bit from that. We got a tape recorder that we could load and save programs with...the highlight was a game called Mazogs that took about 25 minutes or so to load from a cassette tape. I was delighted to find this video of it:

    I didn't really come back to programming until my 30s with a lot of Java programming for art installations I was involved in, and also programming for PIC microcontrollers, later Arduino and lately RPi's to control electronics in the art. I make a living doing some programming in Delphi (of all things!) for a small chemical engineering firm.

    Game programming started as a way to get my kids interested in programming, starting maybe 6 years ago with Godot, playing with my own experiments using Java and later c++ and SDL, we still play with Unreal quite a bit for 3D games, and I stumbled on Orx last year think it is great for 2D games so plan to stick with it for continued experiments. This whole process really opened my eyes to the fact that video/computer games are really an intensely interesting art form (i'd ignored video games for many years) and the programming for them is really the most difficult type of programming I've had to engage in I think. It has been hugely rewarding for myself and the kids.

  • NASA programmer during the Apollo era, that's quite impressive!

    I found a few years ago a book for teaching 8-9 years old kid assembly (yes, it's a book from the 80s :) ), however I never got the interest of my kids with it. Who knows, maybe one day! ;)

    Also I didn't know Delphi was still around! ;)

  • Delphi is still kicking....I handle the frontend of a chemical engineering process simulation package...the simulation engine is written by the engineers in fortran 95.

    It dates back to the late 90s and I guess they had a programmer who suggested Delphi over visual c++ at the time. At this point, porting it would be a bigger job than we can allocate resources for, so Delphi it is.

    So far with my kids, my daughter (16) has gotten really into creating the game art, and my son (12) is mostly the idea man and bug finder at this point, though he does have an orx project he works on with my help. They both have some programming ability but neither has ever had that "aha" moment where they see how/why it is such a powerful thing. Like you say, maybe someday:smile:

  • That's nice that you can all work on the same game project. I still have to wait for a few years before being able to do that with my kids, I think. :)

    You mentioned Ludum Dare, do you expect to participate to the next one?

  • Yeah, that was the goal is that we'd practice a couple of times this summer and try the next one for fun. For working with the kids I've found that having a focused very short project like this really gets everyone inspired, as opposed to having a nebulous long term game to work on which inevitably results in a loss of enthusiasm over time, particularly for them :smile: .

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