Welcome to the Electron Dance Advent calendar. Each day will bring another post from the archives.

The Citadel calc pos code

Have you read the three-part Learning Curve that ran from 10 December 2013 to 14 January 2014?

In the wake of The Ethics of Selling Children, I’d been trying to stay away from writing personal stories, particularly about growing up. But I felt the time had finally come to tell the story of my indie developer years. Yes my dark secret was that I had been a games programmer… 30 years ago.

The trilogy of articles cover my growth from zero to competent programmer, the commercial game I developed to prove I could actually achieve something with all this knowledge and then… how it all came to an end.

On the whole, I was trying to recreate other people’s ideas but there were signs that I was aware of the limited visions for the computer game towards the end. In fact, it’s not mentioned explicitly in the articles, but I was starting to think of games “for adults”. I recall being fired up, wanting to show an “adult” videogame did not meant simply it included references to sex.

I had assumed this would only be of niche interest but I’d packed in enough curious details to attract a wider audience. How I made a game without a computer, the day I was cloned, the titles of all those games I didn’t make like Suicide Dancing.

Go read it!

Also, there was an addendum that followed a year and half later. @Zarawesome has suggested I remake my commercial game using PuzzleScript. It may happen!

From the comments:

  • Nicolau: “Great piece. Feels like something you’ve been writing mentally for years.”
  • Badger Commander: “You can see exactly where our paths split. You saw code and became fascinated. I saw code and became bored instantly.”
  • Richard Goodness: “Well, Joel, I guess you were the original Zinester.”
  • Matt W: “It’s a bit odd to find out that all the time the chap I’ve been chatting about games with was a bleeping savant.”
  • James Patton: “Wow, what an article. It left me feeling both sad and hopeful, which I suppose was the point.”

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2 thoughts on “Countdown 2016, 18: I, Dev

  1. Another great piece I missed first time round – your early 80’s Atari adventures mirror mine, so many basic mode two games lay unfinished on 88k floppies in the loft! I remember typing in Wild Strawberries too!


  2. Thank you! Typing in listings is not a time I want return to… but there was something in the anticipation of the process that turned even the most turgid BASIC crap into something remarkable.

    Using APE, I converted all of our disks into ATR files a few years ago. They were not going to last forever and, in fact, some of our disks had not survived. All of my source code and programs, fortunately, have.

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