I remember typing those words into my first hand-me-down computer in 1987 as part of a BASIC tutorial book I’d borrowed from the library. I was 8, and computers were my world. I was fascinated with the idea that one could talk to a computer in a seemingly arcane language, and through this conversation produce unique experiences for anyone to enjoy.
Language is a tool for sharing thoughts, but between humans there is an imperfect translation from the imagination of one person to the imagination of another. Computer language on the other hand is precise, reliable — there is no imagination filter in the interpretation. With code, you can teach a computer to show other people your imagination with incredible precision.
Computer code is therefore as much an art as a science.
It’s been 35 years since I wrote my very first computer program. Sad to say, the resources and opportunities available to me growing up were scarce, and I wasn’t able to fully pursue my passion for coding. Access to paper and pencil was far more ready, and my passion for art took center stage. I tried many times to come back to code (with mixed success), but making art is time consuming, and I had to make sacrifices to become a successful artist.
I’ve been a freelance illustrator and indie comic artist for most of my adult life. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of it, and I feel very accomplished in the level of skill I’ve attained. I started to think about perhaps transferring my skill set over to video game art. This led down a rabbit hole I won’t belabor here, but eventually I came around to the idea of making my own games again.
And here we are.
This is where I’ll be cataloging my journey to becoming a game developer. I chose Unity because it’s honestly the most approachable and complete program for developing games I’ve ever interacted with. In the successive articles you’ll read about all the lessons and pitfalls I encounter along the way.
These are mostly for my own benefit to solidify what I’m learning through repetition and close examination, but I hope you’ll gain some value in these small quasi-tutorials. Thanks for joining me — it’s going to be quite a ride.
In the next article, we’ll start by giving ourselves the gift of version control.