Programming for Fun (and Profit)

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know that I’m a big fan of computer games. Every since my father brought home the first family computer when I was a little kid, I’ve spent way too much time playing computer games. I grew up with a Commodore 64, advanced to an Amiga 600 and then to PC gaming. I’ve also got a PS3 set up in the living room, although it’s mostly used for watched DVDs these days, and there’s an Xbox and an Xbox 360 somewhere in our storage room. Computer games are basically the main reason why I’m a professional IT consultant today.

My great passion is strategy games and mainly real time strategy games - and if I have to select a sub genre of that, probably real time science fiction strategy games. But the games that has been released lately haven’t really been my cup of tea. They are too huge, too crowded, too complicated for me. I’m not sure what the problem is, it might simply be that I’m getting old. Also, the time has passed when I could sit down in front of my computer and play the same game for hours upon hours, These days I’m more of a casual gamer, taking half an hour now and then to relax a bit in front of the computer screen. It might be weeks from I save a game to I load it up again, and I usually don’t have a clue what I was doing and what my strategy for dominating the galaxy was when I saved.

So I need a real time science fiction strategy game for casual gamers like myself. And when I can’t find one, why not make one myself?

I’ve been a professional computer programmer for almost 10 years now, but I’ve never made any games to talk of. Now I’ve bought a book, Killer Game Programming in Java, to help me turn my Java knowledge into game code. It’s a fairly old book, published in 2005, but most of the content in the book probably still applies.

If you have a bit of knowledge about programming languages, you might think that I’ve not thought my choice of programming language through. Java for game programming? Seriously? Yes. Seriously. I’m not looking to create a new Crysis here. It might be that C would be a better choice, but Java is what I know. You might also be surprised to learn that Minecraft is written in Java, so it’s very possible to create a successful game in a programming language that is usually associated with security flaws and enterprise servers.

How will this new endeavor unfold? I don’t have much spare time to use on it, so it will probably unfold very slowly. Also, we have to keep in mind that most of what I touch turn into crap, and that might just as well happen with this little project.

But who knows, maybe I’ll turn in to the next Notch?


Do you have any thoughts you want to share? A question, maybe? Or is something in this post just plainly wrong? Then please send an e-mail to vegard at vegard dot net with your input. You can also use any of the other points of contact listed on the About page.


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