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Software Development Meme

Alex at Bitter Coder tagged me, so very belatedly (I have been taking some time off from development stuff, so havent found a need to post) ... here goes:

How old were you when you first started programming?

Around 13 or 14, it was a long time ago and I forget easily. I used to go into shops and program their ZX81s, Spectrums and Vic20s for them to do horrible things on the displays. Then I got a Vic20, and found that I could make a considerable sum of money writing games for magazines where you had to type them in, and a few that were sold on cassette tapes in the shops. Writing games in 3.5k or RAM is something every developer should be forced to do at least once.

How did you get started in programming?

Like I said, games turned out to be a big money maker when I was at school, so I stuck with it. I had wanted to be a doctor, and took the basic qualifications at school to let me go to university to study medicine, but cash won out. I regret that, and wish I had gone for medicine after all.

What was your first language?

Basic on the ZX81, Spectrum, Vic20 and C64 ... 6502 assembler, when a macro assembler was state of the art, and poke statements were the easy way to write code. I often spent days writing applications in binary or hex, then transalting to decimal, then writing hundreds of line sof poke statements. To this day I can count in binary very very quickly.

What was the first real program you wrote?

Hard to remember, but I did spend one weekend, 3 days straight with no sleep writing an adventure game when I got my 16k RAM pack for my Vic20 ... "The Mansion of Roger Adore" ... somewhat like an Infocom adventure (I loved their version of Hitchhikers), but with a cheesier name. Big design up front too ... I had dozens and dozens of pages of gameplay and maps on my bedroom walls.

What languages have you used since you started programming?

Basic (lots and lots), 6502, Z80A, 68000, 68002, a bit of Logo, B, C, C++, Delphi, a whole host of others I would prefer to forget, and these days I tend to use C# pretty much exclusively.

What was your first professional programming gig?

I guess my games were, as I got paid to write them.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?

No I would have stuck with medicine. There is nothing wrong with development, and I like to think I am good at it, but I could have given so much more back to the world as a doctor. I also comment frequently, whenever nature programs come on TV, that "Marine Biologist" was not an option from my school careers advisor ... why couldnt I spend my life sitting on a boat in the Caribbean watching turtles for a living!

What's the most fun you've ever had ... programming?

Those early days of development, when a single programmer could write a whole applciation o ntheir own, the way they wanted it to be, and could actually make a success of it. People like Jeff Minter were my icons ... and there is nothing as satisfying as writing the game you wanted to play, and then playing it, over and over.


Posted 07-21-2008 1:14 PM by Jak Charlton
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