A Roaring Start to App Development with TyShawn Gaines

Hey everyone! Today we’re joined by TyShawn Gaines, who recently published a slick stress-relief game – Scratcher – on the Play Store. 

Hi TyShawn, it’s great to have you joining us! To get started, tell us a little about how you got into development – have you always been interested in programming?

In the beginning, I was afraid of programming so I decided to go into Network Security instead. After getting my spouse into IT, she chose to go the programming route, so I decided to learn programming to help make school easier for her.

Despite your initial fears, you’ve obviously done well with development – congratulations on the release of your newest game, Scratcher! What inspired the quirky theme of this stress-relief game?

Over time, the idea to create Scratcher came to me. I remembered playing a game called Road Rash when I was a kid, then thought “What if I replaced the character with animals?” I wrote down what I wanted my app to look like, and then I just took the courses on Zenva until I felt I’d learned what it would take to develop the app that I imaged.

We’re stoked to hear that our courses helped you create your game. Can you tell us about the courses that you used, and how they helped you?

After trying to become a web developer for a major company, I eventually got bored, which lead me to application development. I took a variety of online courses to learn and fine-tune HTML and CSS, Python, and JavaScript. Without learning another language I felt the best way to go would be Phaser.js, which I struggled to understand. Phaser.io had posted the HTML5 Game Development Mini-Degree, which I signed up to,  and I felt I’ve been on the right path since.

You decided to take our courses after your Computer Science degree. What prompted you to take online courses, and how did they compare to/support your university learning?

When looking at some games and websites, I always felt “Hey, I can do that too, or make the same thing but better given time,” but I wasn’t sure exactly how to do so.  As I wanted to learn very specific things, online training was very cheap and had plenty of variety. In university, I felt that only the bare minimum was taught, and you’re stuck to a curriculum, which isn’t too encouraging when you want to become a great developer from the start.

Now that Scratcher is completed, do you have another project/programming-related goal that you’re working towards?

Currently I’m working on another game called “Mage Wars”, and I’m looking to release it sometime this summer to the Google Play Store. To get a glimpse of how it will look, you can find a preview on my portfolio site.

Finally, do you have any words of wisdom to share with other developers looking to succeed with app development?

One thing I always tell developers is that like any other job, do not go into programming looking for money. Always have a reason, a goal, a mission. Learn only the stuff needed to fulfill your needs in that moment, retain it in your memory and programming will become easy. Don’t give up.

A massive thanks to TyShawn, for that insightful look into your life as a developer!

Feel like blowing off some steam? Check out Scratcher here

Find out more about TyShawn at tyshawngaines.com