Back in 1993 the world was my oyster.
I don’t like oysters, but the point is I had a future. A plan. But I dropped the ball. I fell into that all too common trap for programmers, taking on more than you can handle, and underestimating development time. Instead of working on new small games like Jetpack 2, I put years of work into a massive game engine project that was doomed to failure from the start. Once you’ve put 5 years into a project, it’s hard to convince yourself to abandon all that effort. It was sad, but I finally realized that the project would be obsolete before it was complete. In the meantime I was delivering pizza to pay the rent. What can I say, I lacked proper guidance.
I put the next 5 years into an online dating site, Cybersoulmate.com (now defunct). I think it could have been the first social network, before Friendster or Myspace, if I had prioritized things differently. I got up to 100,000 members before those other sites came along and stole the show. I think my biggest mistakes on that project were putting looks ahead of features, and putting fun-to-implement features ahead of those that were more important to users. Still I met my wife from my site, so it wasn’t a total wash.
I also put in a few scattered years at a couple of large software companies. Pretty dull. And all this time I was just wanting to make games. Maybe I should have gone to a game company, but all I heard were bad things, places that work you 80 hours a week and keep you in golden handcuffs, like cutting off your royalties as soon as you leave. Why are there no companies that just want to make cool, original games and treat people fairly? And these days it seems like your only option is to work on another d@#n first-person shooter clone, fine tuning some shiny 3D effect. No thanks. And on a completely different topic, I’m really sick of C++. With the fancy tricks people have to do just to keep the language viable, you can’t even read C++ code without spending a week learning what 200 custom macros do. Not that ActionScript is paradise, but at least you can read it in a reasonable amount of time. But I digress.
It sucks to spend years on a project and have it fail, or have to abandon it. Having done both, I am but a shell of a man. I have only a tiny sliver of the energy and excitement that I had as a youth. Like the mollusk, I long only for the rising tide of success to wash over the dry rock of broken dreams that I tenaciously cling to with my single muscular foot. A foot that tastes delicious sauteed in butter and lemon. Creating a successful game would be rejuvenating. And hopefully bring the bling.
The world is my mollusk.