Hello World! I'm Oliver.

An introduction to who I am, and what I will be posting.

What I do

For me, life is a puzzle: it’s all about problems and solutions. The more thought-out and elegant solutions can be found, the better life is. As a result, finding elegant solutions is deeply gratifying for me—whether it be in user experience, design, compositing a photograph, programming, logo design, or anything else.

I love making things in my spare time, and I’m not satisfied unless I’m working on at least 2-3 projects at once. I like to wear as many hats as possible, despite having heard about 50% of “life hack” articles suggesting that being a generalist is bad—I can’t learn only one thing. I am working on my first from-scratch, video game "The Tortoise and the Martians”, and I do a lot of freelance design, photography, and marketing to help me balance out the debt from my 6 years in college. That said, I also have a half-built custom arcade cabinet sitting in the corner of my dining room, which has not helped my debt (but it will be awesome none-the-less).

My philosophy on being "talented" or "well-rounded" is that anyone can learn to do anything. Not only can we all learn to do anything, but we can also be great at it; so long as we are motivated, patient, and willing to practice - a lot. I’m a firm believer that creativity comes from freedom and inspiration - not some magical genetic gift specific to a small minority.

I am a senior at UT Dallas, hoping to graduate in May 2015 with a degree in Arts and Technology and a minor Computer Science. I work for the Naveen Jindal School of Management doing web development and design, graphic design, UX design, photography, 3d modeling, cinematography - whatever I can.

What I've done

Since around the age of 6 I have been involved in game design in one way or another, mainly because of my dad. Without this becoming a biography of Steve Baker... My dad has been on the cutting edge of 3d graphics and computing since the computer was one of the riskiest fields to base a career on. He and I created the first 3d game on Linux, Tux: a Quest for Herring. In the beginning I just created models and ideas for the games my dad created. Over time I learned more about programming and art, and took on more of the work as I did.

Our most recent game that we worked on together was “Barfight”. For this game, I undertook almost all the artwork tasks. My dad focused primarily on the graphics, game engine and back-end design. It was one of the first fully 3d WebGL games playable at the time - which was a big thing. Sadly when it comes to awards, fun games usually win out over ground-breaking games.

I was a huge fan of LEGO, especially the LEGO Mindstorm series. This is evident by the huge amount of it that we own. I have to blame all my bright-eyed idealism on my supportive "you can do it" parents. Of course they did say that I can't get a tattoo, so there's that.

What I want to do

Simply put, I want to solve puzzles. User experience is a problem in simplicity versus utility. Computer graphics is a problem in realism versus efficiency. Engaging my mind like that is what gets me up in the morning. I want to work in a place that values that drive.

Tell me to use tools X, Y, and Z to solve problems A, B, and C, and I'll be like a kid playing with LEGOs again. Videogame development is a great outlet for that because it is so subjective. "How can we make this game more fun? What makes a game fun anyway?" Film making is another example of this. Watching The Avengers, I think about the sheer number of decisions that were made to arrive at this sparkling gem of a blockbuster. But imagine if the movie-goer could turn the camera in any direction they want! The number of problems you have to consider skyrockets. Videogames are not controlled environments (unless we're talking rail-shooters and dialogue traversing games). But that's the fun part!