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2012/08/09

Community Spotlight: Justin Jacobs

Justin has been an incredibly valuable contributor for Flare -- he's been a major driving force keeping the pace up on the project. His code quality is impeccable -- I read his pull requests diffs not looking for errors, but to admire his work. Honestly.

1. Where are you from and what do you do?

I'm from central Massachusetts, USA. I'm currently unemployed, but my last job was in IT.

[Seriously? Someone hire this guy. --Clint]

2. What's your dream game?

That's a tough question. There's so many great games that I'd love to see more of. If I had to narrow it down, it'd be a tossup between: a side-scrolling Metroid on the same level as Super Metroid; a top-down Zelda on the same level as Link to the Past; or revive Westwood from the dead and make Nox 2.

3. What drives you to contribute to Flare?

I love video games, but I also use Linux. Unfortunately, those two things have always been a bit like oil and water. In my search for games to play on my system, Flare stood out to me. Not only was the gameplay fun, but the presentation as a whole felt of a high quality. My will to contribute to Flare is driven by my desire to see an already promising looking game get that final bit of polish. Plus, just contributing to a free software project is a big self-esteem boost.

4. Any advice for people who are interested in making games?

I'm probably repeating what many others have said, but start small. Games are very complex, and can require knowledge in a lot of different areas. If you can manage to get a simple game together (even a Pong clone will do), you'll have a good idea of what it takes to create a game. Find a small open-source game you like and dig around. See why other programmers do things the way they do. If you feel very ambitious, try to fix something that might be wrong with the game. My initial contributions to Flare were small. But as I got more comfortable with the code, I was able to contribute bigger and better things.

5. Are you involved in any other interesting projects?

I spend most of my time on Flare, but occasionally I'll work on some stuff of my own, all of which I host on my Github.