Where's ZMan


Yes things have been a little quiet in here lately - no particular reason other than I don't want to be one of those bloggers that gives you a blow by blow of their days toilet habits simply because they have nothing else to post.

So whats been happening since January's post?

First I should answer my "fan mail" from Sushovan, no I didn't write my 1st video game yet and that is a big disappointment to me. There's a couple of things to talk about here which are probably very relevant to the blog.

  1. I knew that being a manager and an architect for a few years would have a detrimental affect on my coding skills but I had no clue how much. Though I didn't write much code in my last few jobs at Microsoft I was reviewing and reading a lot of code so you convince yourself that you really can still do this stuff. I figured 2-3 months into my year would pretty much restore any abilities I had lost. I was about 3 months out! Its not that I've become one of those noobs you see on the forums, in fact my algorithm, design, debugging and those skills feel as good as ever. No the problem is that those folk at Microsoft have changed the playing field. The last serious 8 hours a day coding I did was just at .Net 1.0 was appearing and from that point on the hours per day I coded dropped off. I've read thousands of lines of code since then so I thought I knew it all. But its very different doing it yourself than critiquing other peoples already written code. I would get into a programming groove for a couple of hours then need to look something up in MSDN - and that would finish me for the day. There is so much stuff to take in, the searching is appalling most of the time and the code samples are not always helpful. With my ego bruised I would turn to Oprah and Dr Phil to fill the new void in my life :-)
  2. #1 is demoralising and when I get demoralised I tend to slack off. Read this (from Rev) - that's me on a bad day!

So 6 months (I took July and August off so I'm counting from September 1st) into this 'experiment' I am finally feeling like I have the MAD SKILLZZZZZ that I expected to have 3 months ago.

Which leads very nicely to some new things that are happening. I've mentioned some side projects that I've been working on. Well the one from that screen shot is almost finished. I think the person paying the bills is happy with the work. Hopefully I will be able to post a finished screenshot on TheZBuffer soon. I ended up doing a lot more API design work than rendering code. The required rendering is very simplistic and certainly not any kind of state of the art game graphics. But its something for the resume/CV.

Then 2 weeks ago someone from Microsoft let me know about a developer support job for C# and Managed DirectX. I went for a chat with the hiring manager and the job sounded right up my street. But I'm really enjoying doing my own thing and having the freedom so after a tough few days of thinking I decided not to interview for the position. Financially I don't *have* to make that decision for 6 more months and if I *have* to go back to corporate life I would rather do it knowing I had spent my full year having fun. Additionally since it looks like Microsoft are putting extra resources into Managed DirectX I am guessing this means more jobs, not less in the future. Sure its a gamble but so is quitting a well paid job!

A week later and it turns out to be a good decision. I get another email from a company asking if I would be interested in a contract to do some Managed DirectX and C# work for them. This time its solid development (i.e the same as I would be doing here at home for free), its game related and its very exciting stuff. Plus the short term nature means I still can do my own thing. Nothing is signed and sealed yet but its looking like I will start on Monday 27th. I'm won't be allowed to blog any of my work which is a shame. Sorry to be all secretive, but that's the way a lot of work goes. Just to tease you though as a result of the conversation I have been working my way through Learn Flash in 24 hours! Speculate as much as you like - I can't confirm or deny anything.

Then this week I got a call from a different guy at Microsoft who knows of my Coding4Fun articles and he wants to talk about a very short term gig to do with hobby game developers.

So things are really starting to take off here. If you don't see me around on IM or in IRC for the next month or so you will know why. I should be able to keep The ZBuffer updated but won't have much time for anything else.

One thing I suspect people will ask is how I find/get the jobs. Well everything I mentioned on this page as come about as a direct result of running The ZBuffer, being an MVP (i.e. being seen in the forums) and getting the column on MSDN. So if you want this kind of thing to happen to you I suggest you get out there and make yourself known. Reputation helps a lot.

Published 22 February 2006 12:22 AM by zman


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