TOOLS - SHADERS - CODING
My full name is Conrad Pascal Buranicz. I like telling people that my middle name comes from the programming language, but its actually from the Saint. My parents are both immagrants from Poland, and thats where my last name comes from.
On the other hand, my Great Grandfather was named Conrad. In preschool, my brother Patrick and I had a nextdoor neighbor named Robbie. Our neighbor called us Pat and Con. The three of us were Pat, Con, and Rob. In middle school I started going by Con. However, to avoid all the puns (Conman, Con Artist etc) I added an extra N to my name circa seventh grade. My brother started writing his name as Patt. So we were now Patt and Conn through high school and college!
For my professional career, most people call me Conrad. Thats what it says on my nametag, and I never try too hard to make Conn stick. So, professionally I guess I go by Conrad, but my friends call me Conn!
ROAD TO GAME CAREER
(THIS ENTIRE SECTION IS WORK-IN-PROGRESS)
Here, I'd like to tell my story of what I was doing as kid that led up to becoming a professional game developer. Its fun to reflect (and also cringe) on my path from grade school through college. It went from pretend games to Game Maker, then XNA and beyond!
Note: when talking about my past: I'm very nervous of sounding pompous. I don't want to come across as delusional like James Rolfe and his over "500" films. Nothing I did as a child was special at all. Most folk probably have simular stories of playing pretend etc as kids. As for my drawings, and early "game" projects: its just normal poorly-done stepping stones. Alot of kids started using GameMaker much earlier than me. So disclaimer: none of this is profound: its just my story!
Our Dad purchased my brother and I an NES second-hand from a Mall in Rolling Meadows, IL in 1992 when I was two years old. Videogames became my main obsession ever since. When I was four years old, I declared I wanted to be a "Videogame Maker". To be honest, especially for these early years, I don't have much evidence. Some of these stories may be apocryphal. Events that have replayed in my head year after year (potentially mixing with other memories). I recall the first pretend video game as "Battle." My brother Patt (born a year before me) and I would "fight" on our parents' bed as different video game characters. I remember us being Cutman and Gutsman from Megaman 1.
Being very little kids, we had two types of pretend games: we called them "Us" and "One of my Games." Yes, that's what we called them. "Us" was a bizarre serial story where Patt and I each lived separately with our stuffed animals (come to life in the story). He had a bunch of teddy bears we called "The Mishas" (Misiu in Polish means little bear). I, on the other hand, had a bunch of plush cats we called "The Meowies" I lived with the Meowies in a Haunted House (since Scamp the main cat was a Witch cat we purchased from Hallmark I think) While Patt lived with the Mishas in a fantastical oriental land we called China (but it wasnt really). Anyway, on the flipside "One of my Games" was essentially us role-playing a videogame, with almost always me, being the DM of sorts. Through imagination we tried transformed our living room into Super Mario levels or dungeons from Zelda. In 1997, the two of us watched the second episode of Pokemon's premiere. Based on the limited knowledge of that one episode (Pikachu, Meowth, Ekans etc) we made up our own "One of My Games" about Pokemon. We drew on a sheet around 24 Pokemon, most of them made up. I do remember making up a blue version of Pikachu! Most of these games we played were of course very derivative, just our attempt to make the games we played come to life.
Anyway, rewinding back a bit. I want to talk more about the NES. Patt and I didnt have older cousins or family to introduce us to good games, bad games, but we did have our next door neighbor Robbie (two years older than me). As I recall, he had over 30 NES games (SO MANY). He bossed us around and forced us to watch him play (even if it was our game haha) But because of him, we got to play Megaman, Blaster Master, and especially The Legend of Zelda!
In terms of "game career" it was just about absorbing all this pop culture (games, movies, cartoons etc) and occsionally drawing and playing pretend games. In 1998, Goldeneye became our obsession, and remember drawing pictures and playing pretend games with Patt (and his friend Troy) being 007 and 006, while I was Valentine haha.
3rd Grade was a milestone. it's where we really got exposed to RPGs: partically Breath of Fire III. It's when Patt and I made up "Monster Land" a series that would stick with me for the rest of my life in one way or another. At first, "Monster Land" was our derivative of the "Collect Monster" genre: a mismash of Pokemon, Digimon, and my new favorite obsession Dragon Warrior Monsters. The three starting monsters were: Dongo (a winged-dragon partially based on Zelda) Rap (a purple snake...why didnt we choose a different color) and ChiChi (based on the blue creature from DWM, but with a slime tail like the Slimes from DWM). In 4th Grade I wrote an epic "book." Hand-written on 103 loose-leaf pages.
It's a tiny bit embarrassing, but up until I was almost in 7th Grade, we continued to play role-play pretend games. They more sophisticated over time. Started writing guide books for our own pretend game. Middle School was also where I finally was able to commit to drawing an "entire" comic book!
On Gamespot's website, I found out about RPG Maker on PS1. I HAD to have this game! Finally, a way for me to "make" games!! TO BE CONTINUED
GAME MAKER 5.6
Finally at the part where I discuss me ""developing"" an actual videogame! In a 2004 issue of EGM, there was an article about fan "demake" projects from the internet. My interest peaked and I visited the urls the article posted. MP2D was a community fan project attempting to convert Metroid Prime into a 2D "Super Metroid"-esque version. On the website's sidebar there was affiliate links and portals. That's where I found Game Maker. Finally: a program that will let me whatever game I want!!
I never had knowledge or access to such a thing. I was besides myself. So, in December 2014, I followed the tutorial and created "Catch That ChiChi" a derivative of the 1st Game Maker Tutorial. I was so proud, showing my family. The next day: I attempted to create a more sophiscated ""game"" called "ChiChi's Strawberry Game" where our Monster Land character ChiChi would try to collect as many strawberries as possible. But I didnt know what I was doing: I couldnt get ChiChi to STOP moving, so became more of a pac-man game. Sadly, both of these two early projects are lost to time (as I'll explain later on)
ChiChi to the Rescue
This is it: my first ""real"" videogame project. I didnt want a platformer to be my first project: but that's how it turned out. I myself even thought the title felt like a 'side game.' TO BE CONTINUED