Who is SkiCat?
A game developer by profession, I create computer games for a living! More specifically, I develop software and tools that game developers use to create the awesome 3D games that everyone plays on their Xbox, Playstation, PC, or iPhone. Over nearly 20 years, I have had the honor of working with some great industry visionaries like Richard Garriott (Ultima, Tabula Rasa, and an International Space Station Visit), Jon Van Caneghem (Might and Magic, Heroes of Telara), and Jake Song (Lineage, and more recently ArcheAge working with Trion Worlds), among others. I even scored a Vomit Comet ride with Richard when we were filming promotional material for Tabula Rasa.
My most recent work has been developing advanced physical simulation and 3D rendering software and tools used by game developers around the world. As part of my job, I travel quite a bit on company business, visiting our many offices, attending conferences and industry events, and meeting with clients.
How did you get from computer games to travel writing?
My company has offices and clients in many countries all over North America, Europe, and Asia, and I travel a lot as part of my job. When I travel, I always look for opportunities to fit in excursions on the off days, and on weekends around each trip. This allows me to see the world for far less than it would cost me if I were visiting these places on my own.
At first, like many travelers, I had frequent flier accounts with the major airlines, and a few loyalty accounts with the hotel chains where I regularly stayed. Then I discovered online bloggers like Lucky Ben Schlepig at One Mile At A Time, Summer Hull at Mommy Points, and Gary Leff at View From The Wing (known for recent national TV appearances like the Colbert Report). Through following their regular posts on optimizing point and mile earnings, and seeing first hand the wonders of using miles and points to get expensive first class flights and amazing top floor suites for “free”, I was soon hooked!
I originally created this site to share with friends and family, while learning a bit about the Internet and writing. I figured surely I could provide some insight about travel from a normal working person’s viewpoint. I don’t write about travel for a living. Like many people, I travel for work and for personal reasons, and I try to make the most of both of those, and balance them with family time.
Prior to creating SkiCat Travels, the extent of my writing had been for technical and legal documentation for computer game software, and I certainly make no claims of being a “writer”. But I am learning a lot every day, and not only about writing and story telling, but about creating web pages, HTML, Markdown, and even marketing. Someday I will write a book, but for now, the more I learn, the more I realize I have yet to learn (as it is always with things).
The name SkiCat started out as a callsign I got way back in the 90s, when I worked for a computer game company called Kesmai. Our main product was an online World War II flight simulator called Air Warrior. Everyone on the team (and all the players too) had a military-style callsign that we used when flying simulated raids on major European theaters, recreating historic air battles of the second World War. We even used voice chat with microphones and headsets, with the low-quality audio of the time perfectly simulating the radio chatter of those early fighter planes and bombers.
Over the years, the handle stuck with me, as I used the name for other online games that I have played since then. And, while Kesmai no longer exists (it was swallowed by Electronic Arts then closed like many other companies before and after, seriously check this one out!), many of those who worked there still go by their callsigns nearly two decades later.
Yes, I said “I”! This About page was written in First Person, as in “I” wrote it! Third Person is so last year…and if you haven’t already figured it out, I am sorry to inform you that EVERYONE writes their own bios, whether you find them in a book, on a press release, or a web site. It just apparently sounds more professional when you brag about yourself as if you were someone else doing it. Anyway, this blog will continue to be narrated from my personal perspective, rather than from the royal/editorial we. <\end-rant>