Six Month’s Worth of Updates, News, and Games

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It’s been six months since I’ve updated this blog, so I thought I’d make a mini-post about my decision to leave Microsoft, plus a bunch of updates on the major things that I’ve been up to lately:

1) Leaving Microsoft, Freelancing as a Unity developer

A few weeks ago I left my job at Microsoft to focus on game development full time. Lots of people who make this jump go “full indie” by starting their own studio, but I decided to freelance instead, which frees me up to work on a per-project basis. Specifically, I’m specializing in gameplay programming, which is more focused on implementing mechanics, prototyping ideas rapidly, and iterating on current implementations to make sure they actually feel right when played. It really seems like the most natural role for someone like me who is both super technical and super design-oriented. You can check out my full portfolio at: http://livio.delacruz.tech

So why did I leave Microsoft? Whenever I tell other game developers that I worked as a program manager for an enterprise IT product called Azure Active Directory, they tend to assume that I was miserable there. According to stereotypes, people who make this kind of career jump usually hate their current jobs, or their passion for games is so extreme that it becomes a reason to hate their current jobs. However, I actually really enjoyed my years at Microsoft. I got to work with and learn from some awesomely smart people who are super passionate about what they do. Of course, my main career goals are in the games industry, but I’m not the kind of person who indulges in self-inflicted misery just because “it’s not games!”

I initially applied for the program manager role (which kinda resembles the “product manager” role in other companies) because the list of required skills had a ton of overlap with those for a game designer, skills that I wanted to learn. It also just looked like it’d be really fun since it was a technical, producer-like, entrepreneurial kind of job that had me designing features, talking to customers, prioritizing requirements, communicating and coordinating efforts across the team, studying the market and competitors, landing on implementation details with devs, and generally doing whatever it takes to make our product better. It was pretty awesome.

I pretty much got exactly what I was looking for. I was super motivated to learn and grow, and my understanding of the “manager” skill set changed dramatically. However, I eventually realized that my pursuit towards mastery was driven more by professionalism than actual passion for the skill set itself. I didn’t really want to specialize in program management, and I had a super strong itch to get back into programming full time. This realization was when I realized that it was time for me to move on, and now here I am trying to make a living out of making games. 🙂

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Moving to Seattle!

It’ll probably be a few weeks before I make another post, because today I’m moving to Seattle to start working for Microsoft as a Program Manager.

This will now be the sixth place that I’ve lived in so far. Some of the other places include: the Dominican Republic, New York, New Jersey, Phoenix, Tucson, and now Seattle. So I’ve never really had the experience of having a single city that I’d think of as my “home” town, nor have I ever felt the need to have a “home” town.

If anything, I think moving around so much has at least made me more appreciative of my time in each of the cities and communities that I’ve lived in, because you’re just more likely to enjoy your time somewhere if you accept the fact that you won’t be there forever. So since I’m in the habit of making sure to enjoy the limited time that I have with friends and family, I usually don’t have many regrets when it’s time to move away from them again. Plus moving away isn’t even that big of a deal anymore, since modern technology does a great job of helping people keep in touch.

Here’s hoping that my time in Seattle will be a good one, however long it may last.

Start your Engines!

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Hello, and welcome to my new blog!

Superheroes in Racecars is now my second attempt at blogging. My first attempt was a little collection of articles called Livio’s Gaming Blog, which I started three years ago. Unfortunately, it was difficult to keep the blog updated while also attending university. Having just graduated last month, I think it’s time I got back into blogging, especially since there are so many topics that I’ve been itching to write about during the last couple of years.

Looking back, I find that my first blog was way too serious sometimes. I remember having had the explicit goal of making that blog be more about content than about myself, and while my constant strive for quality was definitely one of the strong points of that blog, it kinda gave it a weird personality that I’m just not satisfied with anymore. With this new blog, I’m looking forward to using a more casual and “bloggy” tone—one where every post doesn’t have to be a giant article that explores a topic at great depth. I’ll probably still write those kinds of articles from time to time, though, but they (hopefully) won’t be the norm.

I’m personally really looking forward to writing about a larger variety of topics. Rather than strictly focusing on game design and development, I also plan to talk about programming, education, career advice, community management, other fields of art and entertainment, and much more. As the title of the blog suggests, Superheroes in Racecars will probably still end up being mostly about games and entertainment in one form or another. And I think the title also reflects my affinity towards children’s entertainment, since this field is often more imaginative and lighthearted than other fields of entertainment.

Anyway, I hope to create some good reads on this blog, so wish me luck!