Working on Iris
logo in October 2011
By Greg Sidelnikov
Ever since the creation of my first website Fallout Software, I have frequently contributed intellectual property in the form of written or visual content to online audiences. To date, over a million people have read and benefitted from my online contributions.
I created this page so that
people can learn more about me, and the things that I do. So, there are no
misunderstandings. At the very least, I feel that it is my responsibility to
let people know who is behind creating the content they like to read.
My name is Greg; many people
know me as a writer because they have read my articles. Others know me as a web
designer. Some know me as an artist, because they have seen my artwork.
I move to United States from
St. Petersburg, Russia at age 15, flying over the North Atlantic Ocean by
myself. My Russian teachers are excited I am going to "America"; they
give me all passing grades prior to my departure. I complete high-school in New
York during the 3 years that follow.
I self study C and C++ as my
first computer programming languages, out of an interest for writing video
games. I get my hands on a book called Tricks
of the Windows Game Programming Gurus by Andre LaMothe,
who has a friendly writing style and runs a message board for game developer
enthusiasts, in which I participate and share my work.
The book teaches me how to
write PC games from scratch. I begin to experiment with writing code for
During this time I also make
my first 2D side scrolling game which plays just like Mario Brothers. When the second level loads up, I can't
figure out how to clear video memory, so the game plays much slower in level 2.
I develop demos such as the starfield demo, a demo imitation of Jazz Jackrabbit 1 and 2
by Epic Megagames, I clone Nintendo (NES) bomberman, create Tetris and Arkanoid
and learn how to write code that will display 3D graphics using
texture-mapping. Though, at this time I find it difficult to figure out
perspective-correct texture mapping.
I get my first job painting
old orange ERA Real Estate signs in
the back of the office where my aunt is employed as a real estate broker. After
doing this job for a few weeks, my aunt's boss Bob promotes me. I now clean the
street around the office for $100 per week. I don't like it, but I make sure to
do a good job.
When the winter comes, I am
offered two bonus jobs: shoveling snow off the roof of the building and
cleaning the basement after the sewer pipe cracks open.
As I continue going to
school, I learn the skill of drawing which years later will result in
drawing and this
oil painting. Two of my best works so far.
I tell my art teacher I have
an interest in computers. I tell my computer teacher I have an interest in art.
We move to Port St. Lucie,
I make my first commercial
video game written in C++ and Microsoft's DirectDraw library. I call it
Briefcase, it is a 2D puzzle game. The object of this game is to be able to
place arbitrary-shaped items into the briefcase, and make sure they all fit
together, so that the briefcase can be closed. A various set of household items
are presented in each increasingly difficult level.
Intro and credits 3D
animations are made and rendered using 3D Studio Max.
Sounds are recorded using
Microsoft Sound Recorder and a mono microphone.
Graphics are made in
Game comes with a custom
User Interface and a level editor.
After designing 40 levels
the game is finished and I upload Briefcase demo to Tucows
and CNET (now zdnet)
software review sites. I use Kagi to sell my game as
a zipped software package. The game sells over 50 copies. The price is $14.77.
The demo is free.
I kept the official Briefcase Puzzle Game website page for
records to this day.
The Briefcase gameplay
video is available on YouTube.
The game sells over 50 copies.
Bytten.com review says it is
and "Most unusual puzzle game."
is a 5-star winner at Filetransit.com
Someone posts a
YouTube comment saying they played it as a kid. It's a great honor to
Sometime in 2004 I start my
first corporation called Fallout Software, Inc. At that time, I didn't know
anything about running a business. I try using my skills as a web designer to
make sites for small businesses I would find on Craigslist.
The website is now a place
for OpenGL tutorials I have written around the same time, just for fun. At this
time my skills as a writer improve as I try to write and edit tutorials. Years
down the road, these tutorials are used in a published book as a reference. I
find my own name in a book as a surprise.
My first commercial website
project began in 2005 with Chatcake.com.
It was inspired by the advent of Myspace and I
thought I could make a better social network site.
I was about 23 years old at
the time, and I was making things as I was learning them. I knew computer
programming really well, but I didn't know what I didn't know.
I make my first Internet
money by posting articles on Chatcake, just for fun,
which attract over 1 thousand daily visitors who will click on AdSense ads.
Even though this project
faced a demise, mostly because I changed the website layout and people started
to leave, two years later, someone came out of nowhere with an offer to buy the
domain name for $1,300.
I sold this domain name
right away using an escrow.com account and paid off my credit card debt, which
resulted from moving to California. The new owner of the domain name seems to
have not done anything with the site. What was learned from this project will
later emerge as a completely new social network site.
I move to California using a
$3,000 credit card, which I find by accident while going through old mail. I
drive exactly 3,000 miles in my first car: the Volkswagen GTI 2005 in two days
and two nights.
From this time on and during
the next 2 years I will work at 3 software companies, downtown San Francisco,
the Bay Area. None of the companies exist anymore at the time of this writing
(December 2011), but I learn that there are people like entrepreneurs who get
funded with millions of dollars by angel investors to run with their ideas. I
also learn that most of the time they don't get to run very far.
Authentic Society is a personal
encyclopedia website. I wanted to create a website that contains articles on
subjects I had an interest in. Some of the articles are college papers written
for ex girlfriend on subjects such as salem
witchcraft. I develop tools for adding new content to the website by
directly typing them while looking at the page in the browser.
Authentic Society begins to
sign up members to participate in the social network section of the website.
People are brought together into interest-based channels.
I pick up basic Internet
Marketing skills with the goal of being able not only to write content but to
distribute it to people who want to read it.
Steve Jobs dies. And I am
inspired to start my own "apple", which is the culmination of all
experience I have gained since 1997. I call my company Iris. Iris is now the
identity of everything that will be produced by me. My goals for the future
productive, develop more knowledge and to use my creativity.
To create a
worldwide interest-based social network that unites people.
educational articles that provide value to those who need it.
To create a new
genre of interactive video games.
with photography and make a movie.
I started the year by creating a new programming tutorial newsletter - the jQuery newsletter. Within a few weeks, I come up with these HTML demos. I develop a stronger interest in making HTML games.
I loved the Double Dragon & Battletoads on NES. But that was when I was a kid. Now I am grown up enough to recreate the experience with HTML! jQuery played a big role in swiftly developing this demo in just under 10 hours from start to finish.
Just for fun, I decided to make this game. I called it Protect the Earth. It took me about 6 hours to do. This one has actual gameplay, but still needs a scoring system.
jQuery played a big role in developing these HTML5 demos. But in large part, I owe it to my past experience working with browsers and creative experiments. Try not to stop yourself from learning a small detail that seems unworthy of your time.
Subscribe to my Free jQuery Programming Newsletter
Knowing enough details is what allows us to stay creative. Do you want to just play around? Or do you want to really learn something and use that knowledge to make a meaningful impact on your work?