Meteor Blast (2000)
Graphics: DirectX 7
It was the spring of 2000, my final semester of undergraduate degree, and DirectX 7 was brand new.
I had been hearing a lot about DirectX, and decided it was time to figure out how it worked. I was new to the win32 programming environment, I didn’t know C/C++ very well, and I had only recently acquired a computer modern enough to run Windows 98.
So what did I do? I applied to work at a game programming company. The company provided me with a programming “test” … I suppose, to weed out the idiots like myself. The test took the form of a game programming project: “Use DirectX to make a game using the provided bitmaps.”
So I drove to a big bookstore in Pittsburgh (you couldn’t find any DirectX 7 books in northern West Virginia), and purchased Teach Yourself DirectX 7 in 21 days. Five days later, Meteor Blast was the result. (It wouldn’t have taken nearly so long if they didn’t leave out a critical piece of code in the book. I learned a valuable lesson about first editions of books, but that’s another story for another time.)
Well, I submitted my program to the company. I had really pushed myself on the code, using some of the cool object oriented stuff in C++ that I’d never used before. The owner of the company told me that there were a few things that he would recommend for changes, but seemed to like what he saw. He said he’d call me back.
When I called him a week later to check up, he said they were going through some structural changes and weren’t sure how soon they would be able to hire me. I never hear back from him.
But I had succeeded. I had taught myself DirectX, and won a qualified approval from a guy in the game industry.
I should mention that this was just DirectX, not Direct3D. At the time, 3D was a strange and crazy world… and scared me to death. Scared of the overwhelming concept of 3 dimensional programming. The time involved and my lack of understanding … yes, another lesson.