Patrick

Hi!  I’m Pat.  I’ve been in and around the business of making video games for as long as I can remember.  I can recall, hazily, playing them on an Atari 2600 and a TI-99 when I was about six years old.  I remember thinking that there must be a person inside the television moving the little colored squares around by hand.

I took my first computer programming class at eight.  The minimum age for the class was sixteen, but my dad knew the professor.  I remember very little about that class, but I remember the amazing discovery of the line of code that every beginning programmer learned back in those days:

X = X + 1

I would just sit and watch the computer count, spewing out the numbers one at a time on its green, monochrome screen.  I wondered if it would continue forever or eventually stop.  I guess I could answer that question now, if I had any idea what kind of computers they used in that lab in the early 1980s.

When I was eleven years old, the thing that I wanted most in the world was a Commodore 64.  There was one on display at the local Sears and I had to stop and mess with it every time we walked through that store.  My parents made me a deal.  They told me that if I could save up half the price (which I think was about $250), they would cover the other half.  I saved my allowance for what seemed like eternity to my eleven-year-old brain, and when I finally had my half ready, we went to the store and bought that Commodore 64.  I had to plug it into the TV because it didn’t come with a monitor.

C64_BASICI taught myself to program in BASIC and a whole new world opened up to me.  I discovered computer graphics and I knew that was what I wanted to do.  It may have only had sixteen colors, but it seemed like the most limitlessly creative machine that ever existed.  I would make (awful) games and demand that my friends and family play them.

I worked in a video arcade through high school and moved on to more modern computers like the glorious Amiga and eventually PCs.  I went to college and studied Computer Engineering, then got my MSCE with a focus on computer graphics.  One of the cooler projects I did in graduate school was a benchmark application that compared performance of different video cards in an unusual way – it tested frames-per-second versus triangles-per-second in different types of scenes.  This was in early 2001, so the state-of-the-art in 3D hardware was the GeForce-2 and similar cards.

patThat project got me noticed by some recruiters and eventually led to me being hired at NVIDIA in Silicon Valley.  Working there was an incredible experience.  I got to see the inner workings of the gaming world as well as the inner workings of the some of the new games being released in the 2000s.  I learned how the graphics hardware and drivers were so mind-bogglingly optimized that they could push millions and millions of triangles onto the screen in a sixtieth of a second.

I’m a long-time gamer who’s now in the business of making games.  I like games that are open world and nonlinear, procedural generation, striking graphics (but never at the expense of gameplay), simplicity, subtlety, and the little details that show when a developer really loves the game he’s making.