Hi. I'm JTE. In case you were wondering, here's my life story, I guess? Be warned this is all just a depressed self-pandering wall-o-text rant about nothing in particular that I wrote while suffering from undernourishment.
I'm 26 years old, dropped out of college, and never worked a day in my life. I've been programming since I was 13 years old, filling up entire notebooks with shitty BASIC scripts learned from a maddeningly outdated 1982 textbook, even though I didn't have any significant time with a computer or an Internet connection until late in 2002, and before then it's always been my life's dream to program amazing videogames for the endless enjoyment of others.
My goal in everything I do has always been to feel closer to my friends over the Internet, because I am an intensely introverted shut-in in real life with no friends and no life at all outside of this computer. Therefore, I only play multiplayer games, usually only with people I know, and I only want to make games I can show or play with them.
I am awake and asleep at all hours of the day, and I've been like this for at least 8 years now, never getting exercise and watching my body and mind slowly wither away to nothing while holding out hope that "one day" I'll be together with my closest friends and loved ones who live all across the world, even though I completely lack any source of income at all and am largely incapable of functioning in larger communities and crowds.
I could say that I'd "like" to have a well-paying job doing the one thing I'm good at (that is, programming logical things that don't require significant mathematical algorithms), but I completely fail to have the social skills, physical condition, and/or drive to actively seek out and obtain such employment. Lately I have the attention span of a cat, too, and can't even finish my personal projects, getting stuck and/or burning myself out.
That's not to say I don't have skill or talent, though.
I am the JTE who learned programming by modding the Doom engine to program SRB2, writing new rendering code, game logic, and bug fixes that make SRB2 stand strong as a popular contender against some of the other most feature-filled and modern Doom engines even today.
I am the JTE who made an online netplay Cave Story engine (now defunct) and a Cave Story music input plug-in for WinAmp (Still works! But WinAmp has gone bankrupt and changed ownership...), both implementing my own interpreters for the wacky custom formats using limited research and a lot of fine-tuning, before NXengine existed and before Nicalis came along to claim all copyrights to it and largely shut the fan community down.
I am the JTE who programmed the first ever custom Minecraft server completely from scratch to deal with moderation in the early, limited-world environment, when water/lava floods and intense griefing ran unchecked and even the most basic of anti-cheat checks were nonexistent in vanilla.
I am the JTE who who holds admin rights over the tarnished ashes of what used to be the official Kid Radd forum and holds a secondary email address of [email protected]
I am the JTE who has tripped over virtually every bug in the current version of Pico-8 in my quest to surpass all limits and expectations struggling to make Pico-8 Kid Radd, PicoWare Inc. and "Pico-Hotel" a reality, even though almost none of my friends will be able to see them.
And I am proud of everything I have accomplished. Even though I sit on the path of self-destruction, on a train ride to ruination, as everything I've done means nothing at all and my name is virtually unknown.
Notch got rich selling Minecraft for $2 billion.
I, personally, kickstarted the modding community that's so large of a reason it even had such a large and extended success.
I invented the first open-source building tools and custom game modes that spread like wildfire and fostered a mentality of making your own improvements that continues today, before which there was only map generators, shitty text console command hacks, and the idea that inventing new game modes and mobs would be "stealing money from Notch". (A laughable thought nowadays, I know.) And hardly anyone even remembers me, not even Notch.
So here I struggle, popping in and out of small communities, releasing wondrous things, and here I die, forgotten and unattended to. Because the way of the world doesn't matter to me at all, I'm really just doing it because I want to feel closer to my only friends, who are all so far away...
so very, very far away...
You should probably go back and finish school and get a comp sci degree. It should be relatively easy for you since you already have a strong programming background.
If you can't do that then start applying for programming jobs online without the degree. For smaller operations sometimes a good portfolio is all you need.
Obviously you're being supported by someone, so you could also start working on an app in your free time for iPhone or Andriod. No guarantees that it would take off or anything but it's something to do in-between applying for jobs.
You need to force yourself to do hard things.
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