My name is Skyler Manzanares, and I'm a recent graduate of New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. I've been deeply impassioned with video games since before I can remember. It wasn't long before I began to wonder what went into their creation, and began to explore game development for myself. Very shortly after, I fell in love with every part of the process, and dreamt of the day when I could do what I loved for the rest of my life.
While there isn't a part of video-game development that I'm not interested in, my true talent lies in programming. Early in my game-development junior career, I realized I loved spending time creating game engines and stubs that had the major components of what the game needed. I would (either solo or in a team of two or three) create an idea for some cool gameplay that would drive a game, and then work to make it from the ground up. I've always been an RPG fan, so these usually were RPGs. However, I spent some time on everything from top-down horror shooters in 2d to 3d platformers. As the game's major features came out, I enjoyed spending time expanding on them and making room for what could come in the future. Unfortunately, this was about the time the projects would die; I lacked the skills to produce nice sprites or models and textures, and had no talent as a sound/music designer. My little game stubs would make it as far as feature-filled gamelets with modest artwork and music before being stashed for good.
My thirst for game development started with the desire to create a game I could play, and that would be fun. I knew what I liked in a game, and I knew how to create features. It seemed a very simple thing to put both of them together to make a game I would love and play forever. Very quickly, however, this ebbed and instead gave way to a curiosity. Rather than being driven by the desire to have a game that did this or that that the games I was playing didn't, I wanted to explore different mechanics through implementation. This sort of felt like thinking of mechanics and seeing if they would be cool, while simultaneously figuring out exactly how they would work down at the code level. It was this same mentallity that I kept as I explored all sorts of different types of games from middle school through highschool.
Game development in college was different for me than what it was before. I spent some time creating mini softwares for silly little things, and exploring details of things like image codecs. As I was exposed to professional programming languages and softwares, I put down game development because of my new fear for game engines: I felt that using game engines like I was before was something to be ashamed of, and that real developers programmed things in real languages like C++ and Java. It wasn't until I started developing for New Mexico Tech's Minecraft Club that I stepped back into game development.
The New Mexico Tech Minecraft Club works by hosting a server for the campus and community. The server runs a Spigot Server, which provides an interface for developers to create plugins. The plugins are entirely server-bound, which means players don't need anything special to join. However, server-bound plugins also meant that adding new features that impacted the client in any way more complex then sending chat messages took more effort. Nonetheless, we (as a club) transform the user experience by providing an economy, different worlds of differeing difficulty levels, and regular events. The plugins we used ranged from well-known ones we found online to ones we developed in-house. More information about these can be found on the projects page.
Throughout more than half of my college career, I created plugins and mods both for the server and for myself -- again working to explore game development as I had before. Perhaps because the plugins were part of a whole and used Minecraft assets, these projects became the first game projects I had ever worked on that were developed to deployment completion. It was also in this period that I began to identify another interest of mine; engine making. As I developed more and more projects for the club and personal use, I became more and more interested in creating frameworks and engines rather than projects themselves. Perhaps the best example of this is QuestManager, a massive plugin I created for personal use that transforms Minecraft into a full-features MMORPG.
Most of my experience in college was limited to Minecraft plugins and mods. As such, the majority of my GitHub Profile is made up of plugins and mods. It wasn't until the summer before I graduated that I sought more experience with different engines -- most notably, Unreal Engine.
Now that I've graduated, I'm ready to step into game development as a professional. Almost my entire life has been playing video games. Half of it has been doing my best to make them. I've never stopped programming (even though it hasn't always been game development) since I taught myself how to do it because it's what I'm passionate about and what I enjoy doing. Until now, I've done it purely as a hobby and for the couple of organizations I've been involved with. It's with incredible eagerness that I look now to the professional sphere to take what I love and turn it into something more people can love.
I am looking to join a team of empassioned individuals like myself who want to produce games that mean something. If anything I said above sounds like what you're looking for, I implore you to get in touch as soon as possible. Most of my work is described on the Projects Page or open-source on my GitHub. Please don't hesitate to contact me through any of the methods described on the contact page.