Today was my first day as Google’s developer advocate for games. After doing consulting for the better part of three years (outside of some time helping spin up GreenScreen Interactive), the decision to go back to full-time work was not one I took lightly. Especially since it meant trading my 15 minute walk to the office for a one hour drive hahaha! But this was an opportunity I was extremely interested in from the moment I first talked with folks at Google.
Those of you who know me know that I’ve always been a huge advocate for lowering the barrier to entry for game development. I want games easier to make, less expensive and time-consuming to create, and simpler to distribute. These are goals that may never be completely achieved, but by continually striving for them we learn what needs to be done to encourage more voices, and to accelerate the growth of the art form.
I’ve always felt that Google thinks of web developers the way I think of game developers. Aside from being extremely committed to open source, Google creates many of its products with open APIs, so they can be easily extended by developers to add functionality. And the company really does encourage its internal developers to spend 20% of their time working on their own ideas. Some great products have come out of the passions of developers working during their 20% time! The idea of Google leveraging its strengths in web technology, bringing tools and services to massive numbers of people around the world, plus its over-arching friendliness toward developers – that gets me extremely excited about what it can do with the game developer community.
Over the years I’ve seen Google ship products that seemed very useful for game developers, like Google SketchUp and 3D Warehouse. I always wondered why they didn’t dive into games further – or, perhaps they were, and they were doing it in secret! Google Lively was probably the closest thing to a game that they produced. When I started hearing about their work on O3D, I began to get very curious about what Google was planning.
Clearly there are a number of initiatives going on at Google that can relate to games in some way. Those of you who attended GDC for example saw a massive push for games for Android, with Google giving away perhaps thousands of Android devices. Now seemed like the perfect time to join Google!
My first day today was filled with meetings, something I don’t expect will change for a few weeks at least. I don’t have too much to say about what I’m working on… yet. But I’m awfully excited about the direction we’ll be going, and am looking forward to sharing it with you all when the time is right.