It's a bit difficult having to summarise a whole decade in a handful of words, especially when such a decade brought so many changes.
It's said war - war never changes. Men do, through the roads they walk.
By the time I'm writing this, I'm 31 years old. This past decade not only represented a third of my life so far, it was also a period of time with the most amount of challenges and transformations for me so far.
Back when I started my bachelor in Computer Engineering, back in Venezuela, I knew it'd be improbable –if not impossible– that I could work on what I loved the most: games. It was so the case that, in 2010, I took a half-year sabbatical in order to do a kind of boot-camp for CISCO certifications, to potentially have a "real job".
Turns out that I didn't end up liking it. However, it wasn't until I returned to finish my bachelor studies that I started to learn and read more about game development. The democratisation of game development tools had begun and with it, the rise of independent game developers (indies). Suddenly, game development wasn't something far-fetched.
After briefly learning the ropes using Microsoft's old-dead XNA, I moved to Unity soon after. It is probably this period the one that perhaps defined the rest of my decade – at least professionally. I started working on game development as a hobby.
In a lucky turn of events, I found an internship doing games; in a bank-related software development company, out of all places. After my graduation, I continued working full-time in the same company. Suddenly, I was being paid to make games. How cool is that?
In another turn of events, the political, social and economic problems of my home country triggered one of the greatest exodus of people in our history. I, like many others, decided to emigrate in search of a better life.
At this point, a certain uncertainty started to grow on me. Suddenly, I was afraid that maybe videogames were not a path I should follow. Maybe, I thought, I should focus (again) on a real career; I even contemplated directing my efforts towards UX.
Fortunately, I found some game development master studies abroad and applied to them. By the end of 2015, I moved to Newcastle upon Tyne, in the UK; there, I studied my 1-year master on computer game programming, at Newcastle University.
Not only that. After finishing, I found a job in a place that just one year prior I could have only dreamt of. By 2016, I moved to Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, to work as a Junior Gameplay/AI Programmer at Rockstar North, developing one of the most anticipated games of the decade: Red Dead Redemption 2.
In less than 2 years, I had moved from working in an OK-job, in a country at the brink of chaos, to a top-tier AAA game development company – heck, perhaps THE game development company .
In 2019, after two and a half years, I decided to move to Paris, where I'm currently working as a Gameplay Programmer at Darewise Entertainment; a startup with a refreshing vision of what game development should be, focused on developing the game of tomorrow: Life Beyond.
In 10 years: I graduated twice, moved thrice, have lived in 3 different countries and started living my life as an independent adult.
Looking back, I can see now that I also changed as an individual. Maybe that's part of growing up; it's such a bittersweet feeling.
Despite so many achievements, sometimes I even feel that I don't deserve all the good things that have happened to me so far. Things are moving so fast and I need time to catch my breath and say thanks – to others and to myself.
Looking in retrospective, I haven't lived my life to the fullest, so to speak. I would have preferred to have better invested some of my time over the past years. This is particularly true given the fact that I had so much more free time in the past, when I didn't have as many duties and obligations as today.
Having a full-time job, I usually return home exhausted; my body no longer being able to withstand late nights of creative work. It's almost ironical how when I don't have the time, I have the energy to work; and vice versa.
Furthermore, last year I injured my ankle at the end of June. I have been trying to recover from it up until this day. Luckily, I have been making great progress and I can walk without issues again; I just need to exercise the foot to regain its original flexibility.
On the bright side, I have discovered new interests and things I'd like to learn. Just last year, I bought my first camera and I'm really enjoying photography as a hobby. It is relaxing and fun but challenging at the same time.
If 2010-2019 was a time of change, I hope 2020-2029 will be a period of stability, settling down and re-discovering.
I'd love to explore new hobbies and continue enjoying even more the ones I already have. For instance, I haven't drawn in quite a while and not as frequent as I'd like to; that's something I'd like to amend in the short term. Learning to play an instrument is definitely a medium-term goal in my bucket list.
I also want to be more active in the software/gamedev community and give back. This blog is the first stone of such a road.
Chop-chop, time waits for no one.