I first started coding in 1986 (I was about 14), on an Amstrad CPC464, messing around with BASIC and later a bit of z80 machine code using a hand-rolled assembler. I wrote simple games and even a crude 3D modelling program (inspired by a TV show about this new fangled CGI that people were doing). Then I discovered girls and lost interest in computers, which in hindsight was a terrible mistake since all I really did was mope around being a moody teenager wondering why nobody understood me.
Five years later (after dropping out of a design school) I found myself unemployed and somewhat directionless, and so took the opportunity to rediscover computers and starting working with QuickBasic and x86 assembler, then C, then C++… which is where I stayed. I ended up helping develop a 3D software engine for a company called Brilliant Digital Entertainment. It was in the heady days before the dot-com crash, and we busily poured money down the toilet with the intention of developing low-quality interactive 3D movies, for which there was literally no demand. Google Cyberswine if you want to know more about that.
I walked away from that job with some rather modest savings, a handful of utterly worthless company options and a burned out feeling, and for a while decided maybe I didn’t want to be a programmer. For a time I tried to get into screenwriting, but before too long realized I didn’t have the chops for it, and so I started piddling about with programming again.
After a few years of occasional contract work and blogging about nothing the Australian Taxation Office dropped me a line to let me know that I owed them a rather large hunk of money and could I please go ahead and pay them so things didn’t have to get unpleasant. Suitably inspired I picked up and moved to New Zealand to try my hand at a proper job for a while, again working in C++, rendering and 3D, eventually paying off my debt and vowed never to be so irresponsible again [ha].
In 2010 I returned to Sydney, to pursue my fortunes as an independent developer once again, and this time I really meant it. My plan was that if I did’t have a clear path to riches and fulfillment by early 2011 then it’s back to salaryman for me, and catching up with all the 30 somethings who have already paid off their mortgages and such. Of course 2011 rolled around and not much changed, except that I had burned through a lot of savings. In mid 2011 I started working with a friend on the Next Big Thing … and then in mid 2012 we mothballed it for lack of seed funding.
I’ve had a bunch of solo (pet) projects going since 2001, all in various states of abandonment and neglect, with the most obvious project I like to ignore being Drivey, a non-photo-realistic driving simulator that I created a few years back, and plan to one day expand into a functional game (I’ve been saying that for ages now). It’s the thing people ask about most.
But it’s not all about the coding…
I’m an occasional loudmouth atheist and advocate of skeptical/rational thinking. I grudgingly acknowledge there may be benefit in the belongingness of many religions, but note that with belongingness often exclusiveness and bigotry are not far behind. I feel outright contempt for Scientology, new Age-ism and any religion invented within the last 100 years, because these don’t even come with any cultural heritage– they’re just bullshit adding nothing of value to the world.
I won’t try to enumerate all the stuff I’m into here, since that’s the point of keeping a blog. I started it in August 2002, and am quite glad that I did–it’s great to have a record of what I’ve been thinking about, and blogging has prompted me to explore ideas more thoroughly as well (although it hasn’t improved my writing ability as much as I originally hoped).