BIO Eric GACHONS

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1) – Close Encounters of the Third Kind : (the seventies)

My story with computers start in the late 70s, before disco musik. Fan of science fiction and anticipation, I felt a real attraction for all technologies domain. In those days when micro-computing was just an hypothesis, I borrowed to my oncle, magazines like « L'Ordinateur Individuel » (the Personal Computer) or « Science et Vie » (Science & Life) to feed my passion with more knowledge. I threw myself completely into electronics, computer and programmable calculators. Something else triggered my passion: computer graphics. When I was a child, I watched a famous TV series named « Six billions dollars man » mixing sience-fiction and computer, relatively uncommon at this time. In the generic I discovered for the first time theses computer generated images. It was a revelation! this new graphic approach fed my craze for computing. This was almost it, I had the association of computer and video images. But I still had to wait for the upcoming of the earliest home video game console « PONG ». This console developed by Atari, included a table tennis sports game featuring simple two-dimensional graphics. Imagine, just two rectangles and a square on a black and white display; in one word: « MAGIC ». I reached the point of consecration and from that moment on, I'm able to use a term for my creative ambition: « become a video game programmer ».

2) - First step in programming : (the eighties)

I am starting to take a serious interest in development when I was about the age of 10. While pursuing my initiation to video game on Atari VCS 2600, those were my first steps in basic language, first on paper, then to micro-computer TI99 4A from Texas Instrument. But only in 1986 did I acquire my own computer: an Amstrad CPC 664. I could then start my self-training in Basic, and throw myselft more deeply into programing. It was only then that I discovered the assembly language through a remarkable book entitled « Graphisme en assembleur sur Amstrad cpc » (Gfx in Assembly on the Amstrad CPC), which propeled my skills directly at the top of the pyramid in relation to programming. At that time, it was indeed the most appropriate language to reach best performances. The assembly, commonly named « Machine Language », require from you to master the hardware architecture of the computer.
After graduating Electrotechnical in 1989, I decided to live for and of my passion and consequently dedicated myself to programming, and I threw myself into making my very first video game. I developed various routines and tools which allowed me to come up with a model inspired by the game « Yie ar kung-fu ». The graphical part was ensured by a friend. All of that in few months. We had set up a demo of our video game that integrated the animation of two characters on a fixed background. That was such a technical feat for us at that moment. We competed then with commercials productions. The lack of time and resources prevented us from reaching a complete and definitive version, but an important step had been taken. I just gave a leg up to the realm of professional video game world!

3) - From passion to profession : (The nineties)

The lack of experience and training specifically relatived to computing, made me work as an electromechanical or plastic injection adjuster. I was devoting my free time and my financial resources to computing. So I had invested in various king of hardware such as Commodore 128 and Atari ST computers. I studied the software potential those machines brought, as much as their hardware. It was at the time my military service finished that the journey realy started. I began with a training course in a computer shop, where I learned to build PC, and uses office suite. At the end of my internship, I had also been introduced to computer graphics, multimedia and 3D. Then I met a young new entrepreneur who wanted to create real time animation on Amiga computer for danse club. This kind of application required a very advanced programming level, so I had to make some optimized routines with complex algorithms in asm 68k langages. It was a good idea but not the good person. After this harsh experience, I'd been employed by « la FNAC », as video game and software seller.
It was in the middle of the years 90s, via the CRYO company, than I made my start as a video games developer. From there, I was able to explore new languages like C++ and improve my understanding of ASM x86, Mips R4000. I worked on many plateform such as PC, Playstation, GameBoy etc. Apart from video game programming, I studing a lot of software, and more particulary, 2D and 3D techniques (rendering, animation, collision, fx…), and tool development for level design integration. CRYO was a excellent period and a fantastic school. I keep the best souvenirs of this company, I kept in touch with a couple of my former colleagues, with whom I regularly talk about good old time.

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