Back to School

In 1998, when I finished my BA in Social Communication / Marketing and Advertising, a minor percentage of Brazilian students were starting to go for post-graduation straight ahead, even before getting the desired job or having any real market experience. Today this is natural and almost don’t even represent a head start in a fierce competition – but back then the Web was so new there was not even regular high-school curriculums for that… I wanted to find a job and be 100% focused on my work, so I was ok with the BA – and I don’t regret that.

After a 12-year Web career in Brazil – and 10 years of marriage – my wife and I decided to give the dice of destiny a chance. She left her own business-English teaching clients and I left Yahoo! to experience of a season in Spain, learn from its culture and go for old dreams.

In practical terms it has been much less poetic than that, but it doesn’t diminish the incredible experience we are having every single day. But I need to highlight the most important decision I made: to get back to school. This is how it happened:

In March 2010 I was on vacation in Madrid, and accidentally I visited an event called “RetroMadrid“, hosted at the Science Computer University’s campus of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) – and I learned a lot about how Spain had great Game Development for the 8 bit computers during the 80’s – specially for the Spectrum/Amstrad. What impressed me most was the current existence of spanish groups, like Retroworks, still developing new games for those 8 bit platforms. I was also informed that Spain has some important professional Game Development studios making games for modern consoles – and, most important, one of them (Pyro Studios) contributed with the UCM on a Master in Games Development. Brazil was just starting to have formal education on GameDev – most of it solely conceptual – but in Madrid it was a solid reality; this master was already, for 6 years, teaching the hard stuff on how games are made for real. I was enchanted and I made my decision.

This blog is about the consequences of that moment. One year passed and it is hard to summarize the lessons of 500 class hours. Unfortunately one of my great dreams was that I would finally know to program C++; we had great teachers on that (and most of my colleagues really took advantage of them). Shamefully (or not) I am still stuck to interpreted languages (isn’t it funny I needed to come to Spain to finally start using LUA, a language created in Brazil?).

Nanosub is the game I am producing as my final project for the master. It is not just a school homework – it represents personal effort and the, maybe unusual, bets on how I will find my way in the mobile gamedev business. I already have a game in the AppStore – iMimic – made together with my great friend Fernando Sciessere, and soon there will be more.