Back in the Programming Chair Again

An issue I’ve recently encountered with trying to move back into programming is the reluctance of companies to employ someone who hasn’t been commercially developing for a while. Due to my lecturing, I’ve not been employed as a programmer for 5 years. A common theme I’m hearing in interview feedback is that companies need some reassurance as to my development capabilities. I can understand the reluctance, but with nearly 30 years development experience on my CV it is frustrating.

So as a response, as well as for my own enjoyment, I’ve decided to use this blog to document my own game development project. As my personal interests at the moment lie in the online/server-side of software, my project will revolve around these. In essence, the architecture of the code is as follows:-

  • Various server technologies that implement a persistent, online world that clients can connect, manipulate and explore. Using a service-orientated architecture approach, I will develop various software layers that expose Game Assets, Game Logic, User Authorisation and other functionality that connecting clients can access (see image below). This layer will use various web technologies, principally Node.js/Javascript for code, MongoDB/Cassandra for database management, and various others. Some kind of object-relational mapping software may also be required.
  • A client-side game, connecting to the server services. Using Unity 3D offers me a wide range to target platforms, but initially I’ll be using Web Player platform. This will allow me to embed the client directly into this blog site. I’ll be developing the scripts in C#, enabling me to demonstrate skills in a variety of programming languages.

As far as what kind of game – well, I know it’s going to be some kind of MMO. I have some ideas about how to make a new kind of MMORPG experience, revolving around changes to the user experience, but these need further developing. I am considering an isometric voxel approach, as this visual style has become popular recently.

I’ve already gotten much of my development environment setup – VisualĀ  Studio 2013, with node.js Tools for Visual Studio and UnityVS plugins installed. These plugins allow me to use Visual Studio in developing node and Unity C# projects. I may utilise various Linux/OSX virtual machines at my disposal as well, while developing.

Overall, I’m quite looking forward to all this. It will help develop my programming skills, especially in the server-backend area which I feel is going to become an important skill in the future. It will also help brush up on Unity 3D skills, as well. More posts to come!

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