Michael Panetta is as boisterous as they come for a developer and can often be overheard having heated debates with others over the meaning of things such as ‘classic 8-bit console RPG’.
How did you get started with Game Development?
I wrote my first game on a pocket organizer that had an unstructured basic interpreter built in. I made a blackjack game. There weren’t any graphics or anything but it was a fully playable game. That was probably around 1992. That device didn’t last too long, but it sparked my interest. I would go to the library and read up on programming languages, but I didn’t have a computer so I would write code on paper. I really didn’t hit the ground hard until 8th grade when my science teacher nurtured my interest by giving me an ‘A’ for earth science, basically automatically, and excusing me to work in the computer lab for that period. Shortly after that I was working in that lab 4 periods a day (including lunch) writing code. I made a few simple games during that time. Card games, destroy the tower type games, and other things like that. I had manuals for Applesoft (the programming language we used on the Apple IIc’s in the lab), but they were written in Korean except for the actual code syntax. Figuring out that language with those books was some of the most fun I ever had.
What kind of work did you do before coming to Blue Frog Gaming?
Before coming to Blue Frog Gaming, I was a manager at Lowe’s. I also worked at Home Depot, had a pizza shop, was a supervisor at UPS, and was a controls engineer for an environmental company. I did a lot of different things, but I always wanted to write games and did so at a hobby level throughout my other vocational endeavors.
What projects have you worked on at Blue Frog Gaming?
I started out on Casino Tycoon, then Starfleet Commander and Stardrift Empires, and now am working on an undisclosed title. In the middle of all that, I also worked on Pop Dat.
What’s the biggest design challenge you’ve been faced with at Blue Frog Gaming?
The toughest part of working here is also the best part: Being able to pivot to different tech and quickly ramp up at a moment’s notice. This being the first software engineering job for me, that pivoting started on day 1. Its been tough at times to learn quickly and stay productive, but its very rewarding as well.
What’s your favorite Blue Frog Gaming game?
Now I would have to say Starfleet Commander Nova is my favorite. I really love the changes we put out there.