I went to the Cleveland Videogame Developers meetup tonight. It ended up being a special meeting for me, because I got to meet Dan, who was one of the founders of the meetup, but hadn’t been to a meeting in about three years.
In talking to him, I learned that he also was instrumental in helping Mike Substelny set up Lorain County Community College’s Computer Game and Simulation Design department. It was in Mike Substelny’s class that I got my start with Game Maker, a year ago. Since then, I have started out my first game project, been invited to contribute technical review on an upcoming book on Game Maker, spoken about my experiences at the Notacon conference, and in doing so I’ve realized a 30-year childhood dream and become the person I’ve always wanted to be.
It’d be easy to say I did that all by myself, but really, if it weren’t for Dan, everything else I’ve done wouldn’t have amounted to anything. For everything else I did, and as much as I’ve always wanted to make videogames, it didn’t finally come together until I took that class last year. So, however indirectly, Dan’s partly responsible for me getting my legs under me and able to move forward.
After telling him about the things I’ve been up to, Dan told me that it sounded like we had a lot in common. We both aspired from a very early age to design and make video games, we both had taken a long path in life to becoming programmers, and we both have yet to complete and release our first game. That last part threw me for a loop, but it’s true. When I asked him what games he’s made, he said he had a couple of projects that he was working on, but hadn’t released anything yet. [It seems like everyone in Cleveland Game Devs says that! :( ] I just hope that I’m enough like him that some day I run into someone who, although I had no idea, I had some small yet significant part in their life turning out the way they’d hoped it would when they were six.