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In the Beginning...

cpluta profile image Chris Pluta ・2 min read

I’ve always been interested in games since growing up. As I got older, I decided I wanted to make games. The games that helped inspire my dreams were, in no particular order, Command & Conquer, Half-life, Age of Empires II, and Ultima Online playing them at my sister and brother-in-law's house.

We didn’t have the means to have a computer and we didn’t get one until I was in high school and didn’t even know where to start. Knowing what I wanted to do with my career I saw an opportunity to go to college and get a degree in Computer Science.

As soon as I finished my first programming course in college, I immediately ran out and picked up a book on how to program a game in C++. One of my first project’s I finished was a cheesy choose your own adventure, with a single linear plot I made for my now wife on our first Valentine’s Day.

At that point in time I was super into Quake and became interested in the Unreal Engine. As I started muddling around the engine, I had no idea what I was doing. Also being extremely green I didn’t know who to ask for help or where to go. I got super excited to do it myself and decided to jump into the deep end and pretty much drowned. 😀

While I was in school, I decided to take it safe and secure my career and found a job in Web Application Development. I started to learned C# and began looking into XNA. At that time, I finally started developing my network and finding my way into the game development space. One of the first projects I tried getting off the ground, my friend and I gathered about 30 people to come up with an idea and see where we could take it from there. Needless to say, there were so many cooks in the kitchen it ended up burning down. We tried a few more times until my friend and I said, who cares about them let’s just try and do something in a month. That ended up being our most successful project I’ve done so far.

Since then, I’ve been learning Unity and trying to port that project over to give myself confidence with the tool. I’ve also been putting together little throw-away ideas as well to help develop the skills to best solve problems I’m having.

In between learning Unity right now and developing my skills I’ve been working with Robert and Ryan on bringing Lets Build to life.

That’s been my journey so far.

I want to know, what sparked your interest in game development and how did you start out?

Posted on Jun 11 by:

cpluta profile

Chris Pluta

@cpluta

Software developer by day, game maker by night. Co-Founder of Lets Build.

Discussion

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I think you're onto a good path for your journey! Deadlines can honestly produce some of the best work out there; I'm glad you found success in something with such a strong deadline! I'm excited to see what you'll be working on next, but I also wanted to give a huge thank you for bringing Lets Build to life, because this is the exact kind of community I've been hunting for!


I think I first got started playing games with the N64 and I was hooked ever since playing Zelda. Granted, I had no idea what I was doing, but I had fun nonetheless. I discovered individuals could make games when I was in high school I think, because I heard about Unity! This was way back in Unity 3; and I had no idea how to program. Nor did I have any interest in programming! So I spent pretty much all my time on art (mostly 3d) and taught myself blender. Ever since then I've just been learning and accumulating tons of textbook knowledge of things; making a lot of little prototypes.

I took another stab at programming in Unity after getting some experience writing code in college, and definitely had a much better time. I ended up making a little arcade bowling game where you play as a bowling ball with legs that has to chase pins down on an alley as they try to avoid you. I shelved game dev for a while after that, to focus on school & my career in Android development. However a little bit ago, I released a mental math game on Android and I found it really fun and entertaining to build. So I've been exploring everything I can with game dev lately, and just learning as much as I can while working on my next project.

 

Congrats on releasing your first game! That's awesome! What's the next project your planning on working on?


I totally forgot to mention Zelda. We had an awful tv that had had these white lines going through it when my brother and I played. We were stuck on the fire temple because we couldn't see a few jumps we needed to make because of how bad it was. 😆 But we played the hell out of that game.


What resources did you use to learn Blender? I tried a few times but it just felt super daunting to tackle it. Are you still using Blender and have you started rigging up your models in there as well?

 

My next project is something a little more art heavy; working on an action rpg sort of idea with a good friend.

Fire temple was the worst! I always got lost trying to get through temples

Ah! I actually have a number of good resources for 3D! Maybe I can make a post about it? I would highly recommend Grant Abbitt's youtube channel. I still use blender constantly. I've not done anything super complex as far as animation but it supports a lot of the features you'd come to expect.

If getting started with Blender, you can check out blender 2.8 beginners guide for an overview of a lot of the application and get good at blender for a more "learn by challenges" approach.

If you're interested, I'd say give it a shot. A lot has changed with blender 2.8 to make it more accessible which I think will help a lot :)

I totally bookmarked those links to look over! Thanks for bringing them together.

 

My love for games started when I got my first C64, I think the title was Lunar Lander :) I remember asking my dad how the computer was able to draw those, what was at the time, amazing graphics. That started my quest to become a programmer. Just like you, I ended up settling as a web developer (the safer choice) and only after I attended a local indie dev event (10 years into my career) did my passion for game development begin. As a husband and father of 2 my time writing games is limited and focused more on little proofs of concept. I'm hoping this community helps support me as I attempt to dig deeper into the indie game development world :) Thanks for sharing your story chris!

 

Thank you Robert for us sharing this journey together!

 

I'm curious: What do you think would be the perfect "small" team size?