Hey, I’m Mytch 👋

I work as a full-stack web and mobile app developer in New Zealand, working with PHP and Javascript frameworks and Linux VM’s. I use a MacBook M1 Pro with Visual Studio Code, Hyper, Figma, Game Maker, GitHub Copilot, ChatGPT and Bard.

My current personal projects are a Polygon-based investing platform, a stock photography website Pictorial, several Tailwind tools to help speed up development and a blockchain-based strategy game, “Knights’ Kingdom”.

Getting away from the screen, I enjoy gardening and getting out in nature with my camera.

 

For collaborations, project inquiries, or just to chat about the latest tech, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

My Tech Journey

When I was 12 or 13 a friend of a friend gave me a CD with Age of Empires, an animation program Pivot and some software called Game Maker. Sometime later when looking for something to do I said to my friends “Let’s make a game!” which marked the start of my adventure in development. I created many small Windows-based games, usually trying to achieve something new with each project.

With only occasional use of our dial-up internet in the countryside, I had to teach myself through trial and error and thorough reading of the Game Maker manual. Sites like the old 64digits and YoYo games were a great help where people shared code examples and even full games (old games like these). I remember feeling like it was cheating copying other people’s code but came to realise that’s often how you learn – by seeing how other people approach problems and adapting it to your approach.

A water level on my early game Jak III

A Tamagotchi-style pet game, a platformer trilogy and a mashup of Smash Bros with Super Mario 2 were some popular projects with my younger siblings.

I also started learning about HTML, CSS and Javascript and I remember what it was like before modern tools like Sass, CSS3, and HTML5, along with having to support Internet Explorer!

Starting work

Parallel to this, my interest in graphic design, 3d and photography was growing.

About to photograph firefighters burning pine trees for research

I started working with family on photography and video productions. Landing a job at a local newspaper I worked for nearly a decade after high school as a visual journalist.

It was a varied and fun job full of experiences in the community and I was able to use professional equipment like a Canon 1DX mkii.

Yet, the technical realm beckoned, leading me to eventually pivot my career in 2016 towards the exciting world of web development. I started out freelancing with the name Media Host NZ and continue to this day hosting a number of clients on my own Linux server with Plesk.

A significant part of this journey was Ministry Maps, a self-directed personal project that boosted my growth in web and app development. I learnt about the full stack, using build tools with SCSS files, creating API’s with PHP, designing a MySQL database and writing the SQL queries for it. Also designing features from the ground up like user authentication, image handling and markup, search and security. It became a web app as an admin interface, and a mobile app using Game Maker as a font-end. Doing it again I would use frameworks like Next.js or Laravel, but this experience taught me the fundamentals.

My heart still held a place for game development and I continued to create, even publishing several games on the app store including a Flappy Bird clone, a puzzle game, and a now somewhat popular parody about my brother.

Switching careers

A job offer from a former colleague led me from the newspaper job to a front-end/tech-lead role, working with content management systems like WordPress and Shopify, building custom themes and meeting with clients. I honed my skills here working on many different projects for several years.

After getting caught up in the blockchain hype around 2020, it opened another chapter in my tech journey.

I initially worked on creating auto-trading bots, only going as far as plotting charts from Binance websocket candle data, creating my own moving-average calculations and simulating a couple of strategies. Perhaps I’ll get back to it someday with a winning formula. But I saw people creating their own tokens and smart contracts and wanted to learn how to do it too. A Udemy course on Solidity helped fast-track my progress and soon I was writing contracts with my own logic.

Running gas tests for a staking contract in Solidity.

Intrigued to see how I could integrate crypto and NFT’s into games, I explored how to query contracts and integrate them with Game Maker. I wrote a medium post which led to being contacted on LinkedIn and a remote contract job offer from Spain. A year of contract work in smart contracts, React and Game Maker games “Genzee Claw” and “Chunkie Run” followed, helping me to improve my Solidity and Javascript framework skills.

After that I joined a local agency in Christchurch, again creating custom themes with PHP frameworks and building eCommerce stores. In my personal work, I still use PHP but also enjoy using JS frameworks like Next.js and Svelte.

Looking ahead

Professionally, my path has been varied. From a structured role at a newspaper to the dynamic world of freelancing and digital agency work, each phase brought its own set of challenges and learnings. Working with others I appreciated the value of learning from them and sharing knowledge to help them grow.

Teaching a game development course at a primary school

Teaching has been a rewarding part of my journey, I think by explaining things simply you’re forced to gain a complete understanding of the concept. I was asked to organise several holiday courses at a primary school which was a fun experience, teaching game and web development to the kids and seeing their ideas come to life.

Having this blog is another way I can teach people and find it valuable to research a topic and then present it. I encourage all developers to think about how they can share what they’ve learned and I aim to grow this blog platform to be a valuable resource for other developers on their own dev journey.

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