So a different kind of blog post for today. I thought I’d take some time to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about me – and how a lot of decisions and experiences have lead to the creation of Fringe Planet.
So, hello there! My name is Nic Rutherford and I’m a solo game developer from the UK. I’m in my mid (to late? potentially) 30s and obviously spend way to much time on the computer. I’m working on a game called Fringe Planet (I’m sure you probably worked that out already!) full-time with the goal to be able to make a living from game development.
I had quite an interesting upbringing. I was born with both Dyslexia and Dyspraxia which had the unfortunate side effect of not only meaning I was an incredibly clumsy child, but had to undergo years of speech therapy to be able to talk in an understandable fashion. Alas, back in those days, the education system wrote me off as both clumsy and stupid as these conditions were not commonly known about. But thankfully my parents recognised certain things about me, and fought hard to get me the help that I needed (for which I will be forever grateful).
Though having relatively difficulties in communicating, I did understand everything that was going on around me, and thankfully I never had a problem with reading. Back in those days you used to get computer magazines full of code listings and you could type into your computer (a BBC Model B in my case) and get a game, a demo, a word processor, etc;. My Dad discovered pretty quickly he could sit me in front of the computer, and though I couldn’t write, I could type out code from these magazines (I think potentially he did this to stop me running about making weird noises and bumping into things!). I remember Dad telling Mum that he was teaching me a valuable life skill (slightly tongue in cheekily) – but he was very correct. This is probably where I can trace my life long love of computers and gaming.
In lieu of being able to write I was given a laptop to carry about and do my school work on. Which wasn’t the most fun thing (kids are mean alas), but it did mean I could keep up with everyone else educationally and ended up with good exam results and ended up at university, where I got a degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence.
And now I was out in the real world, my first job was with the Police force, where I worked as a civilian in the Crime Reduction Department – running a computerised system that would alert folks to various crime trends occurring locally. It was an incredibly rewarding job, and I learnt so much. It was absolutely wonderful having such a positive effect on the community. From the technical point of view however, the job didn’t stretch me.
However, an opportunity arose when I was introduced to a couple of entrepreneurs, who became both my bosses and good friends over the years we worked together – and this was my first experience of working with start-ups. These were incredibly crazy times for me – I worked with so many start-ups, so many ideas and tech stacks. Every day was pretty different and there were always challenges and new things to learn. The hours were insane, the rewards were just as insane. And though I do have some regrets about it, I’m happy that I got to experience such a crazy life style. The projects I worked on ranged from the mundane to the (potentially) ground breaking, and there was never a boring moment.
The interesting thing (and to anyone who has been googling for Dyslexia and Dyspraxia and stumbled upon this blog post) – is that I never told anyone I’ve worked with that I have them. Now that I have learnt to over come these difficulties, I feel there are certain advantages to having these conditions (alas speaking isn’t one of those, I’m still incredibly self conscious about speaking and actively have to think about how words are formed sometimes) – but I feel that they have helped me become the person I am today.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m an incredibly passionate game developer and have been producing games (mostly at jams) for many years. About a year ago I decided that if I was going to start up a game studio, now was the right time to do it – otherwise I would never try and would always ponder “what if?” in the future (a regular wage is an incredibly comfortable thing to have).
And so Fringe Planet was born after a couple of months of play testing ideas – it’s the prototype that just felt right, it felt like this was a game I wanted to build and share with the world. I’ve been working on it for just over a year – and during that year I’ve been tweeting and blogging and sharing my gamedev journey. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked. It’s the busiest I’ve been (I know I use the royal “we” a lot in this blog, but it’s just me (and the cat’s but they can’t type)). So much of game development isn’t actually coding, or modelling, or drawing – it’s business development, it’s networking, it’s pitching, it’s marketing, it’s accounting. I have no idea where this journey will lead me, but I’m very glad to have taken the plunge and given it a go.
Outside of game development, I do have a lot of other hobbies I try and do – I’m a passionate reader and will read as much as I can whenever I can. I thoroughly enjoy music (and play guitar, bass and trumpet) – and I try to get to the opera whenever I can. I’m a massive Dune nerd and will happily talk for hours on obscure topics about the franchise (this isn’t limited to just Dune, but several other sci-fi series as well). I enjoy fishing and the peace and quiet you get while surrounded by nature. I have a deep love of everything mythological and of the occult in general – and though I don’t believe in a lot of things, I do find it fascinating. Finally, I’ve recently become incredibly addicted to Pokemon Go, which is at least forcing me out of the house on a daily basis!
So if you got this far, thank you for taking the time to read this – I know it’s very different from the usual dev blogs, but I thought it would be nice to give you all an introduction to myself.
There is a lot more to read about Fringe Planet… why not try: