Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Game Design Part 1

Ever since I was little I've loved playing games. When I was small we used to play games like candyland, checkers, aggravation and (probably a little later) rack-o, war and other card games.

I was introduced to video games at age 5.  It was in the fall and we were in Sears.  My dad pulled me aside and showed me the atari 2600.  I was glued to it and we got one for Christmas that year.

Since mid-elementary school, I've been programming with the intent of making games.  I started with basic on the commodore 64.  We figured out that pressing ctrl and break at once would sometimes take you back to the basic interpreter where you could view the basic source code and make modifications to variables.  You could then continue the game with your (usually fatally flawed) modifications.  Later at the library, there were computer magazines you could check out for a week at a time.  I still remember trying to type in the game "canfield" in GW-Basic.  I never got it to completely work, but I did figure out some errors in the printed magazine and got it to kind of run.  I remember having no idea what the asterisk, slash or parenthesis did, though I eventually figured out it was math related.  I found the issue, this is apparently January 1988 that I was working out of.  I think the cover helped as well, I was also interested in astronomy at this time.

In this era I was also enamored of the Grail Quest series of books and began shamelessly plagarizing by using the contents of the first Grailquest book I owned and making it into a GW-Basic game.  I never got very far but I sure did have a good time with this series and learned a ton about programming. I did ghastly things like changing the screen background color randomly as well as randomly changing the text color.

In that era I played around some with my good friend's Apple IIgs and was introduced to all sorts of good games (and good times!), playing hardball 2 while waiting for the bus, zany golf, space quest, monte carlo and others.

Later on in high school I did some BBS programming which I briefly mentioned at one point.  Did I ever actually do a post about slycrel?  Maybe another day.  I enjoyed playing Doom and Doom 2 with the guys at school along with master of magic, civilization and others.

One of the guys I played with from school was the principle's son.  There was a policy of no gaming on the school networked computers, but my friends went so far as to create a key logger that got us admin access.  We played both sides of the fence, keeping other kids out (sanctioned) and playing games ourselves (unsanctioned).  I got a preliminary knowledge of novell netware 4 doing that, which was very interesting to me.  I've never used it since, but conceptually it was a big deal, my first real networked IT experience.

After high school I had just about given up on gaming when I found half-life.  Half-life gave me faith that the rest of the world wasn't stupid and that good games were still out there.  I decided to not give up on gaming at this point and still have some hope.  College was just around the corner, and who knows where I would end up.

(To be continued...)