Allow me to be a bit nostalgic here for a post.
It’s December 2006 and I’m a college kid in Grand Rapids, Michigan. XNA Game Studio Express was just released and promised the opportunity to make games more easily with C# and an API built for rapid creation of games. Beyond that, XNA GSE allowed, for the first time ever, the chance to create games for the Xbox 360 console. I was ecstatic. I could make games without the hassle of C++ and DirectX and make them for the Xbox 360? I was hooked.
The next year I received an MVP Award in the XNA/DirectX category for my contributions to the forums and overall community. I wrote tutorials, made open source projects, and answered questions on the forums. It was all voluntary and I made no income from it; I just loved the product and the ideas so much that I couldn’t not want to help others make their games.
Fast forward a bit to March 2009. I’ve relocated to Seattle to get a fresh start on adult life and I have a contract employment working with Microsoft to produce games for the Zune HD leveraging XNA Game Studio. I had made it, in some small way, into the games industry. I loved every minute of it. I came to work and wrote games using the same technology I had been using for fun the last couple of years. I didn’t really think it could get much better.
At the end of 2009, I was approached and interviewed for a position on the XNA Development Platform team, the “Dream Team” that made my favorite game development environment. I barely even cared what position they were offering; I was just excited to be helping build a product that I had so much passion around. In January 2010, I started working for Microsoft building what would become XNA Game Studio 4.0.
It’s very strange to me, sitting at my desk here in Redmond, to think that just four years ago I was sitting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, reading about this XNA Game Studio Express and thinking about how cool it would be to make games for the Xbox 360 using managed code. And now I’m out in Redmond, Washington working to bring that same excitement to others as we expand our platform support to the very exciting Windows Phone 7. Just goes to show how much can change in a few short years.