Software Engineer & Game Programmer
Gaming is an escape for a lot of young people today. I was no different. I have always looked at games as an escape to something magical. The reality is that games have a lot to teach players while capturing their imagination and providing a creative outlet. This belief has led me to a career in game development as a software engineer.
I started my game development adventure with Cry Engine. I worked with this system for around a week, but I didn’t pick up much steam. I believe this stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t the most studious of my friends or family and they had no issue reminding me. The lack of support from my loved ones left me feeling like I just wasn’t good enough to follow my dreams, so I gave up before I had ever really started.
Once I graduated high school, I needed to find something to do with my life, but I still felt inadequate and completely drained on the traditional school environment. With that mentality I was drawn to find that something I would spend my life doing. This delivered me straight to the doorstep of Uncle Sam.
I served 6 years in the United States Air Force, but 2 years into my enlistment I met the one person who would give me everything I needed to follow my dreams, Mr. Patrick. I was on assignment to assist his unit meet a full radio upgrade on over 32,000 radios and machines in 30 days. After the 30 days had finished, he didn’t want to lose the hardest working and most proficient member of his work center, so he requested a station change on my behalf. The military denied his request, but in my final days working for him he asked me a very important question. What are you passionate about?
This question stuck in my head for many weeks following my departure, until I finally had an answer. I decided that gaming was my passion. It is something that I go home to every night and spend my days off doing, but I needed a career, not a hobby.
I once again picked up trying to make my own games, but I started with a book. As I worked page through the book page by page I got better and better until I was able to show my first-ever game to my co-workers and friends. This invigorated me and I wanted to build larger, more robust games, but to do that I needed to work in a game engine.
I spent the following months learning how to use the Unreal Engine 4. On this adventure I created a few small games to teach myself the Blueprint and C++ libraries. Over time I felt confident in my abilities to program and wanted to branch out to learn new things, such as networking, databases and visual effects, but I my military career was coming to an end and I needed to make the decision to separate from the military and pursue my dreams or to stay enlisted and stay in my comfortable little life.
I took the risk and left my military career behind, deciding to go pursue my passion in gaming and build a life on my own. It was no more than 30 days after leaving the military that I got a call to do QA work for a game my friend was working on. I took the contract and ended up being able to fix the campaign for a little-known steam game “Forts”. This was a springboard into the game industry and the next thing I knew I was working with Sandbox interactive on Albion Online. As the summer ended, I decided that I should go back to school to learn more about a career in game development.
I excelled in school and maintained a 4.0 GPA, participated in over 35 game jams, led teams of people to complete a few projects, became a tutor to help other students and even had the time to get others involved in a local meetup for game developers.
My experiences have made me an excellent developer who is ready to start a new adventure into my field as a game developer. I like to think of myself as a lifetime learner and a problem solver. I don’t really have an ideal company, but if I had to choose, I would want a place that I can help make dreams come true and learn new things every day.