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My fascination with videogames started at a very early age when an my dad brought an AppleII home one day.
My endeavours consisted of playing games and writing a few basic programs which i had picked up from books. As time progressed, gaming habits had moved onto the early PC platform, where my time was spent playing as many games possible. Upon visiting my friends house and seeing his Amiga500 in action for the first time, my interest in gaming grew. I think the Amiga was one of the great gaming platforms, as there were so many creative and innovative games made for it. The hardware capabilities of that system were years ahead of anything else on the market. Back then, there were no strict 'genres' and large marketing budgets, each game was coherent to the vision of the small group of developers who created it. The lines between designer, programmer, artist, animator, and sound designer were very blurry indeed, as often a single person would be responsible for multiple key areas of a game. To this day, some amazing things can be achieved by a small group of highly motivated and multi-talented people.
It wasn't until Wolfenstein3D came out where my involvement in game development took off. Something to do with the first person experience took the immersion of gaming to a whole new level. For the first time you were actually 'inside' a game world, free to move and explore at your convenience. To my amazement the discovery of the level editor included with the game allowed me to create my own worlds for the game. It was great. I ended up making quite a few levels for Wolf and experimenting with the editors capabilities and constraints.
Then along came Doom, which provided such a huge technological leap in terms of the amount of immersion a video game could provide. Like wolfenstein, but again taken to the next level, doom allowed for user created data to be easily added to the game. My spare time consisted of building numerous levels (primarily deathmatch levels for our group to play during serial & lan games) and some single player experiences. We digitized ourselves using cameras and scanners and replaced the characters in the game with ourselves. My modifications also included other things, such as repalcing sounds and textures in the game. It was a whole new exciting creative and immersive medium.
Eventually Quake was released, and alongside it QCC, the quakeC compiler. A lot of the game code was written in a custom language which supported external compiling. Never before had any game (exposed to me) allowed for the same level of access to the internal operations of the game. Writing in quakec seemed to come naturally, initially by tinkering with existing pieces of code and modifying existing things in the game. Becoming more and more competent inside the quakec environment, my knowledge of the fundamentals workings of a game engine improved. This was usually through direct manipulation and observation of results. Things like collision and visibility, entities, velocity and physics, animations etc.... My learning experience from quake, had also effectively taught me to program in a basic version of the c language.
Fueled by these interests and a hunger for learning, my work consisted of quake mods, and hosting of the website “The Best of QuakeC” which posted and rated all of the patches and mods being done in the community at the time. (My friend hosted “The Best of Quake levels”) which also seemed fairly popular at the time. Through this website, contacts were established with some other great quake mod scene people, and collabaratively we decided to do a class based modification for quake. We had several characters all with different abilities and play styles, similar to what class based online games have today. This was my first published project, called “Multimodels for Quake”, and was distributed by MacMillan Digital publishing. Following that, our core group grew and we started working on “Damage” (eventually renamed “Malice”), which was a total conversion for the Quake engine. We worked on it for quite some time then all decided to meet in Holland to see the project to completion. We finished off the development of Malice together under the name “Team Epochalypse”, and managed to get a publising deal. Suffice to say we were all very naive and we got taken for a bit of a ride when our publisher sold our game to GT interactive cutting us out of the deal after printing only 5000 copies. Well, at that point we weren't really in it for the money, it was a game on the shelf, something which let other people see the hard work, passion and dedication which had come together from different corners of the world.
The response to Malice was overwhelmingly good, it was nominated and won several “Best addon of the year” awards from some of the big name gaming magazines around at the time (including beating out some of official quake addon packs). Based on this we all decided to do the obvious thing, start up a games company. Other developers were doing it, companies like Raven and Ritual software doing total conversions and mission packs using Id software technology, so thats what we did. Based in Richmond Virginia in the US, “Ratloop” was formed.
Ratloop didn't have enough finance to license the quake engine as we would have liked, but instead went on to release several successful games under the GTValue and ActivisionValue labels. Ratloop taught me alot about the games industry as a whole, meeting and pitching to publishers and attending trade events, the processes of running a business with employees, small scale production processes and the art of video game development. After returning to Australia and joining Adelaide based developer Ratbag Games, my work then took on the shape of writing a 3D sound engine for a Playstation2 racing game.
Since then my experiences have led me to work at a number of game companies, encountering a whole slew of different methodologies about design and the production process. My knowledge and skillsets have improved immesurably since, having had the opportunity to work with some really smart and talented people in all facets of development. Having been inside the Australian games industry for over 9 years now, many examples of how not to make a game have presented themselves, as well as a few examples of some of the ways you can run a successful games company. Under most circumstances, it boils down to the quality of the individuals you have in the group, if you have sufficient talented smart people who are dedicated, they can rise to overcome great challenges. Success starts with having a great hiring/screening process.
My commercial skills encompass game design, programming, audio engineering and music composition, but creativity and passion are both strong attributes when applying myself to a task.
A downloadable copy of my resume is available here.
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