My passion for art started when I was about 6 years old. My uncle bought a sea green Peavey electric guitar and brought it to my dad's work. I remember shaking from excitement watching him poorly play Smoke on the Water. He allowed me to hold the guitar and showed me how to play Smoke on the Water as well. It was so....awesome!
At 10, I was going into middle school, and band was now an option for an elective. I went to summer band camp, decided that I wanted to play the trombone, and continued to do so for 5 years.
When I was 12, I got my first guitar, amp, and distortion pedal. I remember listening to Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica and learning how to play the hooks to their songs. I had a knack for picking things up by ear. This would end up making songwriting second nature in the future.
Around 16, I was asked to be in a metal band called “Deadset.” I was on bass, which wasn't my first choice, but it was still a great period of my life. We wrote original, crappy metal, with a Hatebreed cover that we also played live. I still have the demo. It sounds like garbage.
Shortly after Deadset fell apart, Embrace the Fall was born of the ashes. In this I was now playing keyboards. We gained a pretty good local following, playing a few shows that actually made a few bucks. It eventually met its end via conflict of interest. Simultaneously, I was THE guitar guy at my high school, playing classical and flamenco guitar to large audiences and conferences. I was on track to pursue a college education centered on guitar, but soon after going to some lessons and having the fun drained from it, I decided to look for new future paths.
I made lots of music with mostly solo projects after that. Darkstatic, DJ Eko, Vile Dreams, Darkstatic 2.0, Gore Head, V1C7UM, G.O.T.E.D., The Dombrowski Finger Blast, and probably most well known, UltraLaser**. Music was what I thought I wanted to do as a career. Things didn't turn out that way after some life issues came about.
I still enjoy making music occasionally, and am gradually making more and more again now that I'm involved in video games.
Since I was around 8 years old, I wanted to be an artist. To me, at the time, an artist was somebody that drew pictures. I loved comic book heroes, and trying to create my own. I also drew lots of people that were missing parts or had rats in their eye sockets or things similarly gruesome. If you were to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you, not fully knowing what it meant, “a graphic artist.” I probably meant I wanted to be a comic book artist. Spawn was the greatest thing I'd ever seen during my high school years. I still have a hand drawn copy of the first issue artwork that I made on the wall in my office. Ironically enough, I did end up doing graphic design professionally for a couple years in my early adulthood.
The first game that I can remember making was called “Legacy.” It was a card game very closely based on the rules of Magic: the Gathering. It pretty much WAS Magic:The Gathering with some random artwork that I found on the internet and some layouts that I threw together in MS Paint. It introduced a mechanic not yet available in Magic, equipment, and also had some cards that were sideways. Groundbreaking... I built 2 decks, played them against each other by myself, then put them away, never to be seen again. Very shortly after creating this game, the Mirrodin expansion dropped which had equipment. I guess equipment was a good idea.
My next try at game making made its way to video games with RPG Maker 2 for Playstation 2. I created a town with a bunch of dialogue triggers that made a dirty little story of an angry husband and wife talking about sex and swearing a bunch. I thought it was pretty funny at the time. Writing everything on a soft keyboard was maddening at times though. After trying to create some enemies and balance their stats when leveling up etc., I soon found that RPG Maker may not have been the tool that I've been looking for. I made a dungeon with some random encounters and a fat baby boss. I killed the boss a few times, then decided that I was done messing with RPG Maker.
Not long after graduating high school and getting into the “real world” I picked up a book on making games called “Torque for Teens.” I built a level and some poorly textured buildings, ran around with a crossbow in it for a while, then decided to put it down. This still was not the right tool. That book is still on my bookshelf by the way.
In May of 2013, I was directed to Game Maker by a friend of a friend who is a game developer. I made a space shooter based on the 1942 tutorial called “Crappy Space Shooter” using the drag and drop functionality in game Maker. It was 1 level with a boss at the end. I changed the gun from the tutorial to be able to power up and shoot a wider spread. I also created a second room for the boss. To make the boss, I pretty much just guessed how to make it do certain attacks. At different health percentages, his attack changes until he becomes super difficult. Then you get to put POOPFACE or whatever name in the high score box.
In the more recent past, roughly 2014, I started working on some new card game concepts. I made a multiplayer RPG card game called Reality Shift. It ended up having mechanics that were awesome in concept, but did not translate well to physical cards. There was a lot to keep track of. I spent a few months on that before it eventually drove me crazy and I called it finished, never to be released. Those cards still do exist and may be worked on again sometime in the future.
In mid 2015, after a miserable surgery experience and with a new lease on life, I decided that I was going to seriously learn how to make and complete a game. I purchased Benjamin Anderson's Udemy course on how to make a platformer in Game Maker and worked on it every day after work until I finally had a 20 level Super Cave Boy game. After considering Cave Boy to be complete, I started adding new mechanics. I created a Pistol, Shotgun, SMG, Rifle, Flamethrower, Grenades, and a Rocket Launcher for the little Cave Boy. The rest of the game stayed the same. Now I could wreck face by shooting everything in my way. It was pretty awesome. I took the fundamentals of that game and started putting new sprites and mechanics on it. 8 direction aiming and shooting, new larger sprites and longer animations. I soon realized that my scope was way out of control. After bringing myself to a maddened state of confusion, I decided to work on a new project which brings us to the present.
**Some of this may be available for download in the future.