When I was very young (pre-high school in the ZX Spectrum era) I wanted to be a game programmer. It was my dream, and it was obviously what I was going to pursue. Then high school happened, and for one reason or another I kind of lost interest in it (who wants to be a nerd, right?)
Then, a few years back, I remember John talking about the problems involved in a "self funded" type studio getting quality people to help out (I'm paraphrasing here, but that was the gist of it, IIRC). At the time, I thought "man, I wish I knew how to do game development stuff". I then just moved on, and never gave it a moments thought. Afterall, I had a life to try and get through.... job, wife, bills etc. etc. No time for dreaming!
Last year in October, I was reading these forums and thinking about how awesomely brave (and cool) it was for BFS to be developing this game without proper funding..... and I decided on the spur of the moment to find out how difficult it would be to try and learn something about game development. Of course, this would have to be a "in your spare time" and a "learn by yourself" arrangement, since I have neither the time nor the money to take on any formal training.
Anyway, to cut a long story short.... I decided to give the Unity game engine a try (it's free, which was extremely important, and has a big community, which was even more important). I spent a few months doing every tutorial I could lay my hands on. By mid January this year, I felt quite confident that I knew enough to try something by myself. Boy, was I wrong!
I decided to try and make a simple 2D miner game, mostly as a learning experience.. and to see whether I actually knew what I was doing. I quickly realized there is a significant difference between understanding what is going on in a tutorial.... and really understanding the engine/scripting language etc. well enough to make something without the benefit of a step-by-step tutorial. However, I battled on, thinking things through, trying things, rethinking etc. until I really got the concepts understood.
It's now 4 and a half months down the line.... and my little "game" is not near completion, although I've gotten the game mechanics done enough to have a "work in progress demo". I've been quite shocked at how complex the development of even a simple game is.... especially for someone like me who has NO artistic ability at all. I've been equally shocked at how much fun I've had learning this stuff, and how gratifying it can be when you actually work out how to implement a feature you wanted to include!
I am finally (30 odd years later) starting to work towards my childhood dream - I'm a long way off being competent enough to earn money this way.... but I'm quite a long way from the starting line too.
The whole point of this post, I guess, is to say thank you to John and BFS. Apart from developing the type of game I've dreamed of playing for years, you've also inspired me to pursue my own childhood dream. In the grand scheme of things, this is a very small thing which is probably not interesting to anyone else here. But, to me.... it's a very big thing indeed. Thank you!