A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Francisco Marzoa, an indie game developer in Spain whose puzzle game, Luckiest Wheel, hit it big on Amazon. Since then, Francisco and I have kept in touch via email. We both love creating mobile games and often have been a help to one another solving technical issues. We also frequently spoke about collaborating on a project together. And while that seemed like a great idea, it just never happened.
Then last May Francisco emailed me about coming to the states to meet me in person, practice his English, and talk more seriously about a collaboration. To be honest I was a bit surprised. I had offered on more than one occasion in our correspondence to host him should he decide to visit the USA, I just never expected him to take me up on it.
Francisco arrived at the Dallas International Airport terminal the last week of September, and I think he was a little nervous that I wouldn't show to pick him up. I got several emails and texts reminding me both before he left and once he arrived. On the drive from the airport to my apartment, I did my best to play tour guide and narrate the sights. But to be honest, engineers in general aren't the most social people and a video of the two of us riding in a car together after meeting in person for the first time just moments before probably won't win any best dialogue awards.
Within a day, however, we were great friends, first discussing technical challenges with our current projects, then moving on to more important things — like Francisco's interest in brewing beer and my interest in drinking beer! Over the weekend I took him to Ft. Worth to see a "real-live-Texas-rodeo," as well as the aquarium, a brewery, and we even made a short trip to Austin. I learned that some things translate really well to Spanish, like Flight of the Conchords, and some things not so much, like rapper Macklemore. (To be fair, I'm not sure Macklemore's lyrics translate all that well among native English speakers either.)
Just days after Francisco's return to Spain we've already begun the collaboration that we never seemed to find time for previously. It's quite something really how small the world has become thanks to the internet. Ten years ago I would have never been able to imagine I would find a business partner and a friend via a blog about developing software for mobile devices.
My hope is that our game is a big success, and we can have a launch party in Spain. I'd love a chance to meet Francisco's wife, avoid their cat (which he told me bites everyone for no reason), and of course try some of his home brewed beer! But even if the game only sells two copies — one to Francisco and one to myself — I feel like I've made a lifelong colleague and friend.
If I can get philosophical for a moment, I think my experience says a lot about what Google has managed to do with Android and open source. Not just have they built a great platform for mobile devices, but also it is literally bringing together people all around the globe, to collaborate, innovate, and create. If that's not the definition of a game changer, I don't know what is.
We'd love to hear about more friendships and collaborations that have been formed in the TechRepublic community. Share your story in the discussion.
William J Francis began programming computers at age eleven. Specializing in embedded and mobile platforms, he has more than 20 years of professional software engineering under his belt, including a four year stint in the US Army's Military Intelligence Corps. Throughout his career William has published numerous technical articles, as well as the occasional short story.