The Journey to Program has Begun

Actually, that’s not true. This journey began in 1998. I finally had my first computer and was beyond excited about the prospects. The first thing I bought was Half-Life and I immediately played through it despite my mom protesting about the violent content. I was fascinated with this world. I downloaded Counter-Strike. I played as well as my 56k AOL connection would allow. I learned how the OS worked by breaking it and fixing it. I deleted things I shouldn’t have and downloaded things I shouldn’t have and I wanted to understand. But I didn’t

But I tried. I downloaded the map creation tools for Half-Life. I started designing my own maps. I went through tutorials. I built rooms. I connected the rooms! I textured the walls! I was flying through. I played through my level. It was empty. I was lonely. I wanted something to shoot. I mean that in both ways. My character had nothing in his hand. I added an enemy. It stood there. It looked at me. It started, eyes agape, soulless. I wanted to give it vitality then I wanted to destroy it. I couldn’t figure out how to give my character a gun. But, I got caught up trying to model some objects for my map and slowly I stopped working on my map. My enemy would remain motionless inside that level. Alone.

Later, I was trying to learn how to create my own games. I searched for ways to begin and then I found it. On Ebay. It was a 3-D game maker CD. It was only 5 dollars! I had to have it. I bought it. I waited. I waited…I waited…I forgot about it. I contacted the seller. They said they sent it. I’m still waiting for my 3-D game maker CD. I could have made explosive, charming, hilarious games. I could have. But it was lost.

Programming desires fell off as I finished high school. I went to Graphic Design school. I lasted a year. I didn’t quite have the eye for design I thought I did. I transferred to a University and I decided to go after three! majors! Woah, I was ambitious. I would be an English, Art, and Computer Science major. Four years later, I still did not know how to program. My art was as lifeless as that head crab zombie in my Half-Life map. But hey, I could write a well-structured, grammatically correct essay. That’s an important and valuable life skill…right? Surprisingly, no. Not at all.

From the time I got my first computer I loved adventure games. I played the Monkey Islands, the Maniac Mansions (which was actually my first adventure game experience playing it on the NES), Full Throttle, Loom, Discworld, Hero Quest, King’s Quest, and on and on. When I was in the fifth grade I created an awesome comic book character named Super Wonder Pig. He had fantastic, violent adventures involving Elvis, an evil cow, a tiny hamster, and a giant chicken. I still had those comics. It was time to make an adventure game and I found just the tool. Adventure Game Studio.

I created all the graphics for the game. I was on top of it. I read the tutorials, I completed the tutorials. I understood the scripting. It made sense. I was making progress. Then, I wanted the characters to start interacting, for the player to start making adventurey choices…and it all went to pot. Okay, Super Wonder Pig tell Super Evil Cow that you hate her and she broke your heart. *Click* Uhh, why did you crash. Code check. Everything is fine. No missing parenthesis, no missing brackets, no missing anything. Try again. Crash. Okay, that’s okay. There’s a huge community to help rescue me from ineptitude. Check, “Nope don’t see anything wrong.” “Works for me.” “Nothing wrong, work’s for me.” Frustration. Must punch hard drive. And as if just for thinking it the hard drive crashed. All that work gone. Must start over. Not enough resolve to start again.

Fast forward three more years and here I am. With resolve. Resolve to try again. Join me as I track my journey to finally understand how to program. I’ll be posting my trials and tribulations, but mostly successes and helpful information I find along the road. This is my journey, and it has an end. That end is my journey to program.

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