Computers from games to profession

5th week after the surgery when I first opened my work email I had more then 150 unread emails in inbox, I started to think how I got into computer science…

In addition to music and sports at the time of my adolescence computers played an important role. Those were the times of ZX Spectrums and Commodores, broken joysticks and rubber keyboards with worn keys that you could not see the letters anymore. In those days 48 kB of Spectrum memory had been enough for all the games me and my brother played. In those times our local student radio even played those weird sounds of the Spectrum games, which you recorded and you had a new game. Piracy at its best.  Every week they played a new game, so everyone could recorded it on the radio and got themselves a new game. You only begged that there was no disturbance in radio signal, otherwise after minutes of loading of new game you got ‘Error’ on the Spectrum screen and you started to pull off your hair. That was the worst thing with those computers. You waited minutes before game loaded and at the end you got fatal error. That was a real nightmare, there was nothing worse in the world then that Error.

PC piracy was back then in Yugoslavia very popular. Everyone was copying and selling PC software. I don’t even think back then Yugoslavia had a law to regulate PC piracy. If even local radio played a game every week so everyone could record it.

Games that me and my brother played and liked the most were Elite, Lotus Esprite Turbo Challenge, Spy vs. Spy, Eye of the Beholder, Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy.

Elite was a legendary space game with endless possibilities. You were flying around the space from planet to planet with your spaceship, buying and selling goods, shooting bad or good guys, then took their goods and sell them on the nearest space station. But the pain in the ass was landing in the dock of a space station. Usually my 5 years older brother saved me from that nightmare. Can you imagine playing game for two hours killing endless enemies and there was no Save button while you were in space. So you had to land on a space station to save a game. And then while you were trying to dock your space ship you crushed and the game was over. That was a real nightmare in the beginning of that game. So the first thing with which I upgraded my ship was autopilot and then landing was just hitting the right button. Game that was released much later with similar concept and was also great was Privateer.

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge  was a car racing game which was one of the first racing games which allowed for simultaneous play between two human players. So called split screen. I beat my brother almost every time in that game.

Spy vs. Spy. That was also a split screen game about two spies trying to kill each other with weapons and complex traps while collecting all the items needed to exit game before the time expired.

Manic Mannier and Jet Set Willy. Those were the first games that I played on ZX Spectrum. In each room there were flashing objects which you had to collect before returning to the flashing portal to go to the next room. The time was also limited and you had to avoid enemies. I even think that in first release of Jet Set Willy it was impossible to complete the game due to the bugs.

Eye of the beholder I. The first real FRP game, the beginning of  Dungeons&Dragons. A first-person perspective in a three dimensional dungeon. You controlled four characters. In this game there was no automatic map, you had to draw it your self or got lost, so my brother was drawing map on the paper. There were endless corridors, riddles, traps, switches and creatures that made the game very difficult. Later FRP games that I also liked were Ultima Underworld, Might an Magic VI: The mandate of Heaven then came Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and the last FRP that I have played was Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

So it was not surprising that I also followed my brother footsteps and finished computer high school and went to Faculty of Computer and Information Science in Ljubljana. But I was not so much of a programmer like my brother was I was more into informatics. My brother is still a programmer and now is programming in Oracle.

I first met with more serious programming besides my education while I had to work during my study. I had to program an internal application in php in VI editor. That was the worst programming experience in my life. The VI editor was horrible, you had to use a combination of keys just to go to next or previous line, It would be easier to write the code in notepad. So after my first real working experience I asked myself “Do I really want to code all my life in some stupid editor, is this why I was studying all of my life?”.

So after I graduated I went to Faculty of Management. In the same time I got regularly employed and started to work as SAP consultant. After first year of my post graduate study at Faculty of Management I put my books aside for 7 years although I only had one exam left. The exam was Economics (book Economics by Samuelson&Nordhaus). Few years later after I started my career I became certified SAP BW/BI consultant and this is still my profession. I’ve been working in four companies, one of them was my own company in which I worked as a freelancer for three years.

I finished my last post graduate exam of Economics 10 days before my pineal gland cyst surgery although I had many problems with concentration, focus, vision, head aches…problems that cyst was responsible for.

The Faculty of Management gave me another dimension a lot different then IF, THEN, ELSE, WHEN, FOR, CASE, PUBLIC, PRIVATE…

But still in my heart I am just a computer guy, as long as you don’t mention VI editor.

Uros Rozac, My life story at 33: Pineal gland cyst

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