For my first blog post, I'd like to introduce myself, and give you an overview of what to expect on this blog.
My name is Nick Tasios. My mother is Dutch/Italian and my father Greek. Due to this, I grew up in a bilingual environment; my parents spoke English to each other, and I spoke Dutch with my mother and Greek with my father. From early on, I had a lot of curiosity. Whenever my parents were not home, I would open up electronic appliances, and mix different kinds of materials into ugly concoctions.
One of my earliest fascinations, were of course video games. Growing up in the early 90s, computers and game consoles were booming. I think I played my first video games at friends' houses when I was 5. I begged my father to get us a computer, until he finally got one when I was 6. The day after he got the computer, I woke up and immediately went to check I was not dreaming. Early on, I couldn't do a lot. My father wrote me a list of commands I could type in DOS, and every now and then, I would mess up and I would call my father at work to help me out. This was a recurring theme for many years to come; I would mess something up, and if I was not able to fix it, my father would have to clean up my mess. But that's how I learned computers, i.e. with trial and error.
I was introduced to programming for the first time when I was about 11 years old, by a school teacher that normally taught us geography. I was fascinated! I remember typing some programs in Basic, and learning about the hexadecimal system. Unfortunately, back then, I didn't think of programming at home, my parents allowed me to sit behind the computer for a limited amount every day, so I rather preferred playing games. It was not until I was 16 that I started programming a bit more seriously. I got back into programming when I got a Sony PlayStation 2. The first few models that shipped in Europe, came with a demo disc which included YaBasic, a version of Basic. I didn't have a keyboard for the PS2, so typed everything painfully slow by using the controller.
At school, two of my favorite subjects were physics and mathematics. I even participated at some math contests, but these usually tested math material from later years, so although I could solve some problems using logic and my knowledge, I couldn't get very far. Logically, when it was time came to pick a subject to study at University, I knew I had to choose between physics and mathematics. You might ask, 'why not computer science?', and my idea back then was that I could learn computer science on my own, physics and mathematics are a bit harder. In the end I chose physics as I thought it would give me more career options down the line.
To make a long story short, after I graduated, I went on to do a MSc in theoretical physics in the Netherlands. As I was getting really into programming, I chose Prof. Dr. Marjolein Dijkstra as my supervisor and studied various systems in soft matter, using computer simulations. After 4 years I had also completed a PhD with the same supervisor. During this time I fell in love with graphics/game engine programming, so it seemed logical to me to pursuit a career in this direction. Unfortunately, the reality is that few game studios develop their own game engines, and even fewer would hire someone with no actual experience in field. I also realized that turning your hobby into a job, means you lose your hobby.
What to expect
My introduction should have already hinted on the type of subjects to expect here. To gain more experience in game programming, I intend to clone some well known video games and blog about the process. Beyond game programming, you should also expect posts about code optimization, visualization, and data analysis. I'm also a very opinionated programmer, so expect some posts on programming best practices! My favourite programming languages are C/C++ and Rust, Python for scripting and prototyping, and Haskell for thinking out of the box!
As this is a static website, I have no comments enabled. If you'd like me to blog about something specific, or you have any other comments, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope you enjoy the posts!