15 July 2008

How I started

I started developing when I was ten years old. I lived in Umag, Istria with my parents and my yunger sister. I just received my first computer , the venerable C64. My father bought it for from a guy who worked in the marina, and smuggled it from abroad at my fathers request. My father has, and had a lot of connections. That will be for a man who for years was the sole insurance seller for a small town in Istria.
It was a grey, silent day. One of many like it in Umag. Winters were always hard. Empty streets, vast empty spaces where no one alive throdded and smiled. Not unlike summers where the streets were full of people, mostly foreigners who came here to enjoy their summer vacations. My father decided to buy ma computer after my constant pestering and nagging to buy me one. My best friend at the time had one , and I always loved to play games at his house whenever we visted his family. Finally my father decided to give in and by me a computer, to be exactly he decided to buy me a Commodore 64, just like the one my friend had. So, here we were, just outside the town marina, a gray winter day dying around us, and my father just gave a slip of deutche marks to a guy I never saw before, and most cerentainly will never see again, and in return he got a brain new commodore 64.
It was a dream come true. My mother, of course disapproved when she found out what had my father done. But it was over. The corner stones of my career as a software developer were set.
I started by playing games. All the classics , bought or copied from pirate collections bought legally at the time from a magazine in Belgrade. It was a different, different time. And I was young and living the life. I never grew over games, but I wanted more. I wanted to create them. I've created several board games at the time, me and the children from the apartment building played them together outside my apartments door, but I wanted to create computer games.
The C64 box came with dutch manual. It explained the basic of BASIC, how to write statements, how load and save programms. It was my mother who helped me out at first. She wrote with me my first 'Hello World' applications. She wrote with me my first 'IF THEN ELSE' structure.
She soon couldn't keep up with me. I always loved to write, and I also became interested in RPGs. I never played them, and never could in my little, redneck town. I read about them in a kids magazine. My imagination became so feverish with the possibilities RPGs offered that I just wanted to play them , write them.
My first games were a cross over between chose your adventure books and rpgs. The were short, written inside a day in BASIC, and morbid. My imagination ran wild. Of course, they are lost now, sacrificed to my adolescence.
The last thing I wrote for my C64 was an arcade. I just figured out how to do primitive graphics reading code from the back of the manual. The game was simple. The hero 'Super Nikola' chased the bad guy who was his dark opposite across the screen. I never finished it.
Times finally got us.
The war came, the famine, the fear. The big fucking scare. I stopped playing with my computer, and made my self busy with playing invisible. I'm from mixed ancestry, and in war time Croatia that was the wrong thing to be. So I survived.
After scary years things normalized in my part of the country. We were near the Italian-Slovenia border, so no war came to us. Only a flood of refugees from all over. My father got fired, and he and my mother decided to start a company. I started working there at the tender age of twelve years old. Just during vacation time. Manning the office, selling insurance and of course learning to use a brand new 486.

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