I think every game developer should ask this question to themselves and give a sincere answer to it.
I make games because I feel there is no reason for me to exist if I do not create. I enjoy the most when I create games and I have the required skills, so it’s the best option. Game development gives me the freedom to create worlds, tell stories, realize my visions and dreams and start a dialog -through these- with the people who play it. Paying the bills is not the main concern, I could probably make more or less money by doing a shitty job I hate.
I guess it’s in order to tell you about my background as far as I can remember it.
Klik & Play Era (Dark Ages)
It all started back when I was around 11. I didn’t have no internet nor the slightest idea of how the games were made. But the worlds the games I play gave me weren’t enough anymore. I always wished for some different setting, stories, equipment, characters, abilities etc. in most of the games I’ve played. So I thought, why don’t I make games? Those games were made by people, like me. I don’t know if it was by chance or my older brother has some special power to read my mind but one day he brought an application called “Klik & Play”. It was a basic “create your own game” program where you get to drag & drop sprites then visually program the AI through an FSM editor and you have yourself a game. I played with it for a long time and I remember giving the simple platform games I made to my friends at the neighborhood. Klik & Play was very limited of course and seeing that all I’ve made in ~2yrs was all similar 2D games, I was sure there was more to it in developing games.
Then accidentally I found Valve’s Hammer editor for Half Life 1 (It was called Worldcraft back then) while browsing the CD just out of boredom. At first I thought it was an extra little game, I didn’t know there were editors for games that allows you to modify the games. I made a lot of shitty maps for myself after figuring it out, but the fun I had changing the levels of a professional shipped game was priceless plus I got to brag to the kids at school and in the neighborhood with what a genius I am(!), making games at that age.
Visual Basic 6.0
The first time I realised that I had to learn programming to make games from scratch, I was 16. I had internet but still no idea of what a programming language is, what it’s used for, how does it work, where can I find the compilers for them etc. So I shoot an email to Mevlut Dinc. Back then he was just returning to Turkey to establish a game development company here and he was all over the game magazines and I thought if anyone can help me, it’s this guy. I don’t exactly remember what I wrote to him but I’m sure I had no idea at all, it was a stupid question of which programming language is better and how I can learn it. He was so polite to reply my email in detail, like 3-4 paragraphs. As far as I remember, he was stating that the programming language I learn at first is not a matter I should be worried about, I should pick one I like and understand the underlying concepts of programming. He was right so I chose “Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0″ and I only chose it because there was “Basic” in it . I bought a book named “Microsoft Visual Basic Professional 6.0 Step by Step”, did all the examples in it, tried to learn DirectX 7 by altering the code I’ve downloaded from PlanetSourceCode.
Then I’ve found Blitz3D, an engine with it’s own IDE using Basic syntax, fell in love with it, did my first complete game in it(Soguk Kabus, it’s in the portfolio section), used it for a long while. A gave it a break for trying to C++ for 6 months than I got back to it.
Then in 2009 Unity 2.5 came out to Windows. I adopted it, sold my Blitz licenses for like $150 and still using Unity engine at both work and home, it rocks!