Where Did the Year Go?

That is indeed the question folks! Where did 2016 run off too! I seriously can not believe that Christmas is just a week away. Oh well, even though it's been one stressful crazy wonderful and sad year, I sure am ready to rock 2017!

So as always, it's been a little bit since my last update, and it's about that time where I need to reflect!

To get things kicked off, let's talk about the wonderful experience I had volunteering for my cousin's local yearly charity event! He call's it his "Annual Hot Chocolate, Coffee, Clothes and Food for the Homeless". It was a very successful event this year! I am so glad my Wife and I were given an opportunity to participate. (We are in the Power Ranger beanies in the video and pictures below) There were donations given from many local businesses and the rest of the money was raised by my cousin to buy clothes and food. We set up right outside the Milwaukee Rescue Mission with a few big tables and people started lining up immediately. Shortly after, our local Channel 12 news station arrived and starting recording! Honestly, Channel 12 did a fantastic job on the segment and the anchor who came out was extremely nice. It was truly a heartwarming experience and I can not thank my cousin enough for putting this on. He was born and raised in Milwaukee and it's just his was of giving back to those who are less fortunate in our community. Truly proud to have family who are so kind and generous! You can expect him to be doing this for many years to come! Depending on how my future goes, I may not be living in Milwaukee in the future, but if I ever get the chance, I will volunteer every time! Enjoy this video my cousin recorded of the charity's news segment as well as some pictures from the event that I took! :)

In other charity news that I participate in, a quick update on Extra Life 2016's progress!

This year so far Extra Life has nearly raised $9 million dollars for the CMN Hospitals!

That is absolutely insane! And people think us gamers are lazy! :D

Currently for the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Extra Life gamers (including myself) have raised $110,809.22 so far this year in 2016! That's AMAZING! We totally smashed our record from last year! :)

If you don't know what Extra Life is, click on the image below for more information.

Did I say that I love networking? Well, I DO! You have too in this industry!

As I continue my quest for a job, I have been getting more and more contacts as the weeks go by. If you read my previous post, you would know that there are a lot of good things hopefully about to happen in my life. It's because of all the wonderful contacts and friends I have made over the years along with my hard work that has gotten me where I am today. I can not even begin to tell you how much I have come to love networking and meeting new people from all over the globe.

When I was scrolling through Linked-IN the other day, I came across a video that caught my eye. It was an inspirational video that someone had put together of the world-class motivational speaker, Steve Rizzo. I just want to say, for anyone who knows me personally, please watch this video. I have the tendency to not be able to articulate my words the way that I want too sometimes. I know I am smart. I know I can hold a casual adult and professional conversation with someone. I just can't seem to get everything out of my brain and into words sometimes. LOL! I am sure I am not the only one with this issue and it's something that I work on every day. However, Steve Rizzo hits the nail on the head with his speeches that are cut up and put together in this video. I literally couldn't have said it better myself. Ever since I decided I wanted to become a well-known game developer, I have been living my life with this exact mindset. I am not going to lie, I have listened to this video almost every morning now after I wake up a little bit. Having a positive and happy attitude alone has gotten me farther in my career than I could of ever of dreamed of. I never really fully understood what I was doing until listening to Steve. Funny enough, I shared this video on Linked-IN and Steve Rizzo himself contacted me! We had a few back and forth conversations regarding the video. I always nerd out when I am having professional conversations with people whom I admire which is why I love being able to vent it out here! We are now Linked-IN connections. :) I am going to be adding his book on to my list here of things to read and I can already tell that I am going to like it! Highly recommend checking out this video and truly listening to the words behind it. If it speaks to you as well as it did for me, feel free to also check out his book too!

To wrap up my networking quest, I will mention just a few of the things that happened to me since my last update post. I have been getting a great bunch of contacts lately, but I don't want to bore you with every single one! LOL! Going off of my previous post a few weeks back, I am still in the middle of a few interviews. At this point, I will more than likely be having my 2nd interviews in the beginning of the new year as it doesn't look the like the companies are looking to hire anyone on until then. Trust me, I will continue to be patient and use this time to my advantage to study even more on the company, the job, and networking until my next round of interviews. I will, of course, keep you all posted on my progress here when I get any sort of update.

Remember that angel investor I told you about in my last post? I actually plan on having a phone conversation with my angel investor contact hopefully tomorrow but if not, before or after the holidays. Well, her husband works for Magic Leap. Which if you know who they are, you would know why my jaw dropped to the floor when I made that connection. If you don't know who they are, they are just a multi-billion dollar augmented reality company, if not arguably considered to be THE augmented reality company. Well, you are never going to believe who contacted me about a job opportunity today?!? Magic Leap! What a small world! I was contacted by someone on Linked-IN who wanted to get me connected with her friend. Long story short, her friend emailed me today and he is a recruiter at Magic Leap! He requested some code examples and I sent him an update on what I am currently going through at the moment. I must say, I am completely blown away! Just this year alone, I have been contacted my more than 1 Fortune 500 company, Unity3D, 2 which are currently secrets right now as I don't want to jinx them while in the middle of the interview process, and now Magic Leap! I am so glad that my passion for wanting to be apart of something bigger than myself and to be involved in building the future of our technology industry, either through VR/AR or video games, is being recognized by some of the biggest names in the industry. I honestly could not be happier right now! All these years of long hours in front my computer are really starting to pay off! :) Find out all about Magic Leap by click on their logo below and you'll see why I am so excited. :)

So besides my quest for a career of a lifetime being completely awesome, here are some other updates for you!

Raid+ Interactive is always busy as usual! :D

The December Local MKE Game Developers Night was another great event! Although it seemed like the cold kept some people away, we still had a great time! Especially since we had a great update of our upcoming game, Super Fun Battle Time! People really seem to be enjoying it so far and it's a really great feeling to have a steady flow of updates each game dev night. Progress is always great to see, especially not just from us but from the other local game developer who participated as well. Check out these pictures below from the event! I am currently in the process of highlighting the LIVE stream on Twitch and will be getting those videos on our YouTube channel very soon! Stay tuned in for next year's dates! I am currently having a discussion with the owner of the 42 Ale House on what his business plans are for next year and where he see's the Local MKE Game Developers Night as the best fit and most beneficial for everyone involved. Stay tuned in for my next post on updates for that! Below are a few updates from our game and our local game developer friends as well from the event! Got to show some local support for not just Raid+ but for all our local game developer friends in Milwaukee!

Lovely menu @ the 42 Ale House! Click on the image to check out their website!

These last 3 images are of our dev's n friends playing our early alpha prototype of SFBT for Raid+.

Our Developer Jack playing and trying to break Jon Harwood's prototype, Slime of Fury. If anyone can find some bugs or break your game, it's Jack! :) Click the images to check out Slime of Fury and Jon Harwood's indie game company! Worked with Jon on Demon Hearts! Love this guy!

Our friends from Madison, Interdimensional Space Wizards and their game Combat JR.! Click the picture to find out more about them too! Love ISW!

At the moment, I did create a very simple 4-player split screen Unity3D packaged that I submitted. I am still in the process of actually coding it into the game where it automatically adjust's the camera accordingly and eventually down the line by the host who is creating the game. AKA "House Rules" kind of ordeal. I will be posting my progress on that in the very near future as well.

Besides social media posts, updating YouTube, and Twitch, I have also been updating our Developers Blog as it had not been touched in a little while. I have made it a personal goal to get it back up and running. I just recently gave it a little facelift and updated it with a new post. I have assigned all our developers for future posts on what they are working on. I have also started a Dev of the Month post that will feature one of our developers each month with a series of questions. Considering I was giving the Dev Blog an update anyway, to kind of show the rest of the team what my idea was behind these post's, I decided to go first! Check out the image below and click on it to take you to our Official Raid+ Interactive Developers Blog to read the article! :) Follow us and stay tuned in for more updates on that to get a more behind the scenes look into Raid+! Feel free to also leave me your comments on what you think about the Dev Blog. Any feedback is always appreciated.

Overall, I am VERY happy with my entire team at Raid+ Interactive! We are down to a small team of 6 developers now! Everyone has been working very hard on our new project and honestly it's because I think everyone is having a lot of fun making this game! Big shout out to all my fellow developers at Raid+ for their passionate drive and hard work lately! Every single one of us wants to quit our jobs and do this full-time for Raid+! That is the dream, however. We all still have our day jobs of course! Our CEO and I share similar dreams and aspirations in life and he is going to do great things with Raid+. Even he still has to have a day job to help pay the bills. That's just the struggles of starting up your own software company. :) I do have to give a big shout out to our CEO, Noah Hildebrandt, however. He recently just got a software developer position at a local Milwaukee company called Digital Measures! If you are reading this, HUGE CONGRATULATIONS BUDDY! You deserve it! :D Below are some screenshots of the progress on our upcoming game that is currently in an early alpha stage! Screenshots submitted by our wonderful Raid+ Artist's, enjoy!

In other local upcoming Milwaukee gaming news, there are a few event's to take notice of in the near future! Some of them I will be a part of, some of them I am just showing some local community LOVE! :D Whether I attend these events or not at all depends if I get a job out of state in the near future, however. We shall see, but I'm not going to let my job search impede me from doing what I am doing. :)

The Midwinter Gaming Convention is just around the corner on January 12, 2017! If you like card games, board games, or tabletop games, I highly recommend you check this event out! I remember showing off Visions of Zosimos at this event with Draiochta Labs almost 4 years ago! Crazy how time flys! Click on the image below to take you to their page for more information about the event next year!

Shortly after that, the 2017 Global Game Jam is happening! Currently working out the details with our local Milwaukee Area Technical College, but it look's like everyone on my team at Raid+ Interactive want's to participate. There will be an MKE game jam site in 2017, they are just waiting for the site to be approved! We were talking with our friends as ISW about possibly coming up to Madison to participate in theirs, but we would love to stay local if we could. In 2015, a few members from Raid+ participated in this 48 hour Game Jam and won the best game in our local competition against 4 other teams. My team (non-raid plus) in 2014 won the year previous to that. So needless to say, when I participate in these local events, I am in it to win it but to also have fun! These game jams are GREAT learning experiences. Click on the GGJ image below to find out more information about this worldwide event and how you can participate. Stay tuned in for my next post and I will have more details for you about our Local jam site! 

In March of 2017, there is another local gaming convention called the Nexus Game Fair. I have not had the chance to attend in year's past or show anything off at this event, but if I am still in Milwaukee in March, I definitely plan on checking it out. Seems like a card game, board game, table-top, D&D type of convention. If you are interested in this local Milwaukee event, click on their logo below for more information! 

There there is, of course, the 2017 Midwest Gaming Classic that Raid+ Interactive will be participating again this year! This is an AWESOME event that continues to grow each year and will be my 4th year contributing. I help with the local Wisconsin IGDA and local developers fill the rooms with games made in Wisconsin. Raid+ always is guaranteed some space at this event and we are really excited to show off our game that will hopefully be in Beta by then. There are also rumors of the chances of the Nintendo Playstation prototype being there again! That was really cool to see a part of video game history the last time I saw it. Click on the MWGC logo below to take you to their website for all the information you will need about this event. Tickets are already on sale! Stay tuned in for more updates on this event here as time get's closer. :)

Also to show some local Milwaukee video game support, my friend is currently working on opening up his own store! He buys, sells, and trades video game everything! On top of that, he wants to start his very own indie game development studio right upstairs from his store! This guy is a really passionate dude and it's great to have him as a friend! Love seeing friends succeed! :D Click on any of the images below to check out his Facebook and look for updates on when his store opens up!

In other news ...

It's finally snowing and miserably cold in Milwaukee! :'( Noooo! Come back summer! There is even a Winter Storm Warning for the next 2 days! It's been below 0* the past couple of days! Miserable! Well, on the bright side. More the reason to stay all bundled up in my nice warm office at home and get some work done! Oh, and did I mention my Wife moved into my office? Trying to motivate her to finish her degree. She works as a Veterinary Technician with years of experience. She has been going to school online actually getting her certification. Our future office is going to look epic one day whenever we own our 1st home! For now, while we are in our apartment, this will do just fine! Let the hibernation and office shenanigans begin!

My Wife was recently going through her Mom's house as we were helping her move recently. She recently came home with a TON of original Nintendo Magazines, gaming magazines and comic books! Seriously, I love my Wife! :) Can't wait to go through these!

Wife was also going through our closet at home the other day and pulled these bad boy's out. I made these socket testers when I was in 10th grade and they STILL work! That's some fine quality craftsmanship if I must say so myself! ;) LOL! I was about to throw them away but now I am going to keep them to see how long they will last.

Whew! Okay ... That is basically it at the moment. Or at least all that I can think of at the moment. :)

Still working on my Stack Social Unity3D C# courses, still reading my books when I get the chances, and still studying up on the companies I am currently in the middle of interviews with.

Also, still saving $ towards my future goals:

- GDC 2017 - Want to go. Applied for the possibility for volunteering as a CA. I REALLY want to go. However, at the moment it looks like I just won't be able to afford it. I WILL attend GDC one day. It's on my bucket list! lol

- Professional Membership Scrum Alliance - $50

- Certified Scrum Master - $950 avg.
- Certified Scrum Product Owner - $1295 avg.
- Certified Scrum Developer - $2650 avg.

- Lifetime Member of the IDGA - $1,000 - Because yeah. Self-explanatory. Lot's of great perks for lifetime members of this organization.

Time for this guy to get some sleep and wake up fresh for tomorrow! 

Got a wedding this weekend to attend and then Christmas is next weekend! 

2016 stop being so fast-paced and busy! >.< LOL!

Until next time ... keep on dev'n, keep on gamin' and always be "Living the Dream"! :)