My Story08 May 2016
Since I was kid I was into computers and games. The first computer I had access to was a Commodore C16 my older brother somehow got his hands on. He was not very much into it and my parents were outright against technology. So without anybody willing to buy me games, the whole thing was pretty darn useless to me.
I ended up repeatedly typing in some (for me unintelligible) BASIC source code, taken from a copied game magazine. Maybe that marks the start of my programming career...
I did always OK at math in school but after attending a College with focus on Electrical Engineering somehow I was not sure if a Computer Science degree was the right thing to pursue. I feared it would be too technical for me.
So I decided to study "Media Technology and Design" at the FH Hagenberg instead, which I successfully graduated from in 2003.
And although design was a big part of my education and keeps on being a source of inspiration, I was mostly enthusiastic about Flash programming and the Computer Graphics courses - modeling, animation, modding, OpenGL programming and ultimately my thesis made me refocus on my real passion. In hindsight I would say it was the fascination of seeing the immediate results of what I was programming.
My only problem was: the game industry in Austria back in the days was not very abundant and kind of hard to get into. So after some short lived beginner-level gigs I worked for a while in the technically very similar field of "Media Arts". During this time I worked for Ars Electronica Futurelab, The Interactive Institute and Utani Social Lab - on interactive installations, live performances, large scale visualizations, hacking hardware interfaces and prototyping. I also started working as a freelancer and helped founding an artistic collective with friends - the guinea pig collective.
At some point I realized that I was not a real artist. I finally wanted to become a professional programmer in the games industry. So I joined Gameloft (Barcelona / ES) to work on mobile games. And my last gig was at Wooga (Berlin / DE), also working on mobile games.
So let's take a look at my
- move to the West Coast - CHECK!
- work in games - CHECK!
- work as a graphics programmer - ...
Well, I think I have accumulated a broad and solid enough foundation and understanding of computer graphics technology, rendering techniques, GPUs and 3D math. I certainly gained a lot of valuable insights and experience while working with some real graphics programmers and talented technical artists.
Not only did I learn that those guys were so much better at it, but also that I'm not really good at researching those rendering techniques, deriving lighting equations or even just prototyping VFX.
What I really do enjoy is wrapping my head around efficient API usage, profiling and performance tuning, optimizing shader code, debugging, fixing glitches, and even implementing some of said techniques. So no, I'm not a typical rendering programmer. I still consider it maybe half a CHECK! with a lot of room for future improvement.
- join the guys in the big league (AAA) - working on it ...