Around 10 years ago, I decided that I had spent enough time writing scrappy little applications and that I wanted to finally create something worthwhile. Having spent a good part of my youth playing games on everything from the venerable C64 through to the awesome Sega Mega Drive and devoting many schoolyard lunchtime conversations to how we would make these game better, it seems natural to to take one of the many open source 3D engines that were becoming available and make a game of my own.
The result was a game called Jetstream. This was the first time that I realized I could actually create something interesting with code. It was also the first step to a career in software engineering.
It was written in C++ because, at the time, it seemed to me that if you wanted to do real programming, you did it in C++. Although I never wrote a line of C++ again, the knowledge I gained has served me well throughout the years. I based the game on the Ogre 3D engine, which was a masterclass in beautiful code, great documentation, and an engaged community, and which still lives on this day as a thriving open source project.
I had dreams of selling the game to one of the many budding app stores that were starting to emerge. Unfortunately, this was before the days of self-publishing through mobile app stores, and I failed to get any interest, so JetStream lives on as a free download.
On a whim, I installed the game again, and the memory of pouring over every detail in these levels made me smile. It also made me realize that this project was a turning point in my career and even my life.
When was the first time you realized you would be a software engineer? Add a comment with your experiences.