How did it all begin?

When I was a kid I loved playing games on my NES console and always wanted to know how games are made. After my father bought first PC I started writing my own games in assembler. I made a few and wanted to sell them, but considering fact that I was 13 that time, my games were just too simple and silly to have any commercial value. My brothers were laughing and saying that even when someone buys my game that would be probably by a mistake. I didn’t give up though. I bought more books about programming and kept learning. I remember one time in a bookstore when I was looking to buy a new book about programming in assembler, lady said to me: “Little boy, there are no pictures in that book, do you still want to buy it? We do not give refunds”. That was so funny. Having absolute love and passion for games I decided that I want to work in games industry. In my country (Poland) there were no schools that could teach me games programming or any programming at all at that time, so I had to pick something close to it – electronics. I knew that after finishing school I’ll have a problem finding a job in games industry because back then there was no “serious” games industry in Poland. Also I realised that employers are not keen to employ a self-taught games programmer with an electronics degree. So I decided to work on something that could prove my abilities in programming and games creation.

When I was 17 years old, I wrote my first book about games programming and I struggled to find a publisher so it took about 2 years before it got published. After that, just before I finished school I’ve created an application for police HQ in my home city as a part of a diploma project which earned me “Technician of the year” title. City mayor congratulated me personally and I’ve received some computer peripherals as a 1st prize. Time went on and I didn’t feel complete, not without my dream games industry job. I wanted more from my life and I believed in my abilities and myself.

I moved to the UK because there were lots more opportunities to work in games. My first UK job was as an electronics engineer, but this was a temporary job just to keep food on a table. I always knew what I really wanted to do – create games. While I was working there I’ve started to write my 2nd book – sequel to “Programming games”, because readers really liked the first one and I already promised publisher that it’ll be done. This book was also published in Poland. After finishing my 2nd book I left my job with a plan in my mind. The plan was simple – stay at home and start working on a game demo to get into the games industry. I was supporting myself financially just with my own savings earned from a 1st job and after 4 months of hard work, my demo was finally finished. I “knocked” to several game companies’ doors and got some interviews, sadly with no success. Then I found an advert about a company located in Leamington Spa – Blitz Games Studios. I wrote to them and sent my demo. They invited me for an interview where they tested my practical skills in programming. I think this is the best way of testing a candidate and I’m very grateful for that. It worked! I got my first job in the games industry. I was very proud of myself.

My books were not a financial success but I think that they definitely helped me to get into the games industry even without university qualifications. Those books put me in the “spotlight” and sent a message to my future employer that I’m a candidate who has what it takes to create game code. Blitz Games Studios took me on board basing purely on my practical skills. It was a great place to be in and I enjoyed working for them, I met lots of talented and friendly people.

I always wanted more and before my 1st dream job, I had a completely different idea what it means to work in games industry as a programmer. I imagined that I would have more freedom and could use my design skills to put some of my ideas into the game. Unfortunately I was wrong – I was just a programmer. I guess I wanted to be on a programmer/designer role which didn’t existJ. Of course I still could suggest my ideas but nothing major, only simple things that didn’t affect the gameplay. I know that designers have more freedom when deciding how game is going to work and what goes in, but when it comes to suggesting these to a publisher – then it changes things. In my personal opinion some of the publishers just don’t want the game to be fun and are rejecting some of the best “fun factor” ideas. “Oh, well…” – I thought, the only way to release my creativity would be to set up a studio and make games based on my own, original ideas.

I left my day job and formed 2P Games with Julia as my business partner. My wife supported me from day 1, always giving me motivation to take matters further. She doesn’t know anything about games development but knows business administration side of things.

As for my previous employer – Blitz Games Studios, I know I can count on them in terms of support. This is because of their great “Blitz1Up” initiative. They have also launched “IndieCity” portal for indie games which is another great place to seek help. It’s nice of them they want to help out small studios and we are 100% with them on that idea. Thanks Blitz!

This is a short version of my story. Probably some of you will find it boring and others interesting but what I really wanted to do here is to send a message to all of you passionate game developers out there: “Believe in yourselves and own abilities, it’s never too late to chase your dreams. If you really want this, you can do it and no one is going to stop you”.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s what you *do* defines you.” 🙂 (mini quiz: name the movie with that quote in it).

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