In Toastmasters, the first speech you’re supposed to give is the Icebreaker. There are two primary purposes to this speech: to introduce yourself to your audience, and to help determine your strengths and weaknesses as a speaker. I’ve always enjoyed listening to Icebreakers because of the connection I feel with the speaker by the end of it. That’s why I’ll be starting this blog in the same way; I’ll tell you a bit about myself, the company, and what you can expect out of the blog.
My name is Adam Damiano, and I’m a software developer with a passion for games. When I was a kid, I remember getting a TI-83+ calculator and being delighted to find a simple programming language on it: TI-BASIC. I spent hours making all sorts of games, sharing them with my classmates, and trying to learn more about the wonderful world of programming. I eventually removed the training wheels and graduated to their Z80 assembly language. After that, I got insight into more modern programming techniques through high school and college.
Many years have passed since then, but not much has changed. I still spend too many hours designing, programming, and thinking about games. With the advent of Twitch.tv, I can now spend more time watching people play games. The best feeling I have as a game developer is when I can see someone enjoying a game that I’ve made. That feeling is what’s fueled my dream of owning my own game company someday.
Thankfully, “someday” arrived sooner than I expected. About a year ago at my last job, I met a guy named Ian Smith. Our conversations always seemed to steer themselves toward game design; we’d bounce ideas off each other, and I would sometimes code up a prototype (remind me to write a blog post about “Path to VP” at some point!).
One day, Ian proposed just a nugget of an idea for a game: “what if we made a game where programming came into play?” I was immediately hooked. This is something that I’d been toying with for almost five years. In fact, the last game I publicly released, OpHog (GitHub page), heavily featured autonomy despite not exactly having programming elements.
The only problem was that this new game would take too long to complete if I could only put my post-work hours into it, especially since I was tired for most of those hours. After a couple of weeks of deliberation, I decided to quit my job and pursue this venture full-time. Ian and I are starting Xtonomous LLC, a company devoted to making quality games.
There’s not too much to say about the company itself yet. We’re based in Seattle. We only have two co-founders. Our first game will be Bot Land, which coincidentally was the working title for the four iterations of the game-with-programming idea I’d worked on before meeting Ian. For Bot Land, I’ll be doing all the coding, and Ian will primarily be handling the creative side: game design and overseeing the user-experience (UX).
As promised, the last thing I want to tell you about is this blog. I plan on making at least one post per week. The content will almost always be related to Xtonomous, our games, or gaming/technology in general. Likely future topics include:
- Technology choices and rationale
- Details about Bot Land itself
- Other games mentioned in this post
- Those “four iterations” of Bot Land
- Path to VP
- The process of how Ian and I design portions of the game
- Development updates with screenshots and/or videos
If there’s something in particular you’d like to see us write about, just let us know!