Hey! I'm a bit of a shy forum lurker. Been waiting to post about what I do around here for years now to be honest... so please bear with me :) Actually started this post so many times now, but never finished it, so I'm hoping I'll manage to write it down this time so that you can get to finally read it. Consider it kinda like a message in a bottle. I will probably rant a bit so that you have a bit more to read if you want to kill some time, otherwise just scroll down. It's not like you have all the time in the world, right?
I live in Romania. Ever since I was a little kid, a learned english language (no it's not native language from around here) by watching a lot of cartoons on the telly. Back then, Cartoon Network wasn't really narrated into romanian, so kids would get to actually learn something useful. I usually see both the empty and full halfs of the glass, so while there's the extra time and work put into narrating cartoons, it does more harm than good. Some things feel like they get worse overall with time, like games, music, movies... life. You name it.
Since I was little, I wanted to be part of a creative team and work on a cartoon of some sort. I used to draw all sorts of creatures in my notebook, which my mom kept it for me all these years and returned it to me recently, you'll find out later what's the deal with this.
By the time I went to kinder-garden I was able to speak English overall better than my native language. When I was in school, 3rd grade or so, I received from my parents a "Terminator 2" console, which was actually a NES clone. I became rather obsessed with video games at that point. I was collecting cartridges and pretty much finishing any game I could borrow. I even had a talent for finding secrets or bugs. After that, the PC era began, but unlike most of my neighbors, we couldn't really afford one, so I was visiting a lot of buddies at home that had one, hoping I would actually get to play on the PC. And so I got to enjoy games like Doom 2, Heretic, Jazz Jackrabbit, Prince of Persia and many others.
There's no secret I moved quite a lot from a city to another one. New address, new class mates, new friends. Again and again. But luckily, my parents managed to afford buying me a computer, which made me really happy. I spent a lot of time in front of the computer and unveiled it's secrets. I was a bit of a nerd, but I did had quite a lot of friends because I'm quite social, or I used to be, we'll get to that later.
And then the era of internet caffee's came and we started being gamers and listening to rock. Diablo 2, Quake 3 Arena, Counter-Strike, Half Life, Red Alert 2, Disciples 2 and Heroes of Might and Magic 3 to name a few. I was spending quite a lot of time in internet caffees, mainly because I could play for free (otherwise couldn't really afford it), thanks to my advanced expertise in computers and diplomacy, so the internet caffee admins were happy to have me around. The first time I've seen Heroes of Might and Magic 3 on a computer screen, it was love at first sight, even if it looked somewhat complicated. But all those mythological creatures fighting each others on a combat field seemed really appealing to me. A buddy that was next to me, called Adi, said he'll teach me and so he did. Spent a ton of time playing that game to be honest. Anyway, nowadays it feels a bit outdated and not so practical compared to all these modern/facebook games. But the company making it went bankrupt with the release of HoMM4 which had a total new artwork style and a lot of gameplay shortcomings. The series was sold to Ubisoft and I must say and not impressed at all. I'm actually disappointed. Even disgusted. Fancy 3d game graphics don't make a game good. In fact, that actually reduces the number of people who can play the game, meaning a smaller fan base. And it's competitor, Disciples 3, is also crap. So bad that someone even made that "Hitler about Disciples 3" video. Which is funny because it's true.
Figured I should consider making a living by working on computers, doing graphics and coding. My father actually wanted to make me a sailor like himself, which is usually the other way around: sailors don't usually want their kids to be sailors as well, because they're aware of the difficult life. I pretty much had to cry (one of the few times I ever did so) in order to "fight" and express my will of not wanting to become a sailor, but instead pursue a career in a technological domain. The internet era came. I had access to information. A process similar to what people estimate in a few decades from robots, called "singularity" has started for me. I could virtually teach myself pretty much I had an interest in, thanks to the ever growing number of tutorials and later on even video tutorials that were available on the internet, even for free. I started to teach myself 2d and 3d graphics.
With internet came trouble as well. Viruses. Luckily I found out about Linux and Ubuntu and I forced myself several times to make the switch (that moment when Mark Shuttleworth was in orbit, looking at the earth...). It wasn't too easy back then compared to now. I had to edit text files at times to get things work. I was really impressed by the OS and by it's ideology. I started force myself into using free open source all the way when possible. Learned to use blender, gimp and inkscape an put them to good use. I started contributing to game modes and game projects. After that I did quite a bit of freelancing and showed my parents that I could actually make money by working on the PC. They couldn't totally believe me, but it's ok I guess : ) Worked on a few commercial game titles, animations projects, industrial presentations and so on. Even got a day job as an interior designed for a really expensive Italian furniture store. But all this time I was brewing a project of my own, but not working alone on it. It started to shape up over the years up to the point it started to impress quite a bit of people, that became eager to see more and more and to be able to play it. So in order to facilitate that, I quit my day job and started to put more and more time into it. The project is shaping up nicely, but I want more! So hopefully I'll get some of you to support me and make this happen. Life is short and a lot of things already pass by me, I'm aware. But I want this project to be like a child of mine. Like a gift to humanity...
I present you with Ancient Beast.
(it's somewhat similar to Heroes of Might and Magic 3, but only focused on the combat aspect)
This project is basically the "one minute to learn, a lifetime to master" type. And it scales nicely with new technology, so that even people with handicaps, including blind people, should be able to play it. Note that the stuff above describes the final project, so a lot of it is still yet to happen. But you can help with that by donating, contributing artwork or patches or even by providing feedback and support. Keep in mind that I work full time on this project, I have no actual income besides donations and funding, so money goes a long way for me. I rejected a lot of good job offers (that I wasn't even looking for) so that I can have more time and energy to put into this project that I actually care about. It would be nice if I could afford to commission artists more often or even hire a part time gameplay coder (because the project really lacks that atm).
There's always progress around, but it would be great if there was even more! Each time I receive a donation, it just makes my day.
Not to mention contributions, feedback, new fans : )