Evangelist. Game developer. Cosplayer. Amanda is the real deal.
Amanda is a technical evangelist for Microsoft based out of Philadephia. She is one of the people on the ground helping developers learn to make apps for the HoloLens and MR Devices at hackathons, dev day events, and workshops. Unlike most evangelists, she comes to the role with broad experience in the game development world. In other words, she doesn’t just talk the talk. She’s probably one of the few blue badges at Microsoft who can walk you through the process of rigging a 3D model for animation.
What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
Toy Story. For being the first CG movie and also just creating a world that gets in your head sometimes.
Second place would probably be The Little Mermaid. I am a total nut for Disney, and I have so much Ariel stuff.
What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
Coding in BASIC on a Classic TI-99. I was particularly obsessed with a game called “Beginning Grammar” that taught parts of speech and so forth on that machine.
We also had Frogger on the old wood-panel Atari.
Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
It’s probably generic to say my parents, but, it’s honest. They encouraged my young curiosity.
When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
I was going to cosplay Widowmaker (Overwatch) at PAX West, but it’s already August now and there’s no way I’ll get all that done in time. So I’m going to have to put that off and come up with another plan. I’m working on a few things I think will be done but nothing that complicated!
What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
I’m not great at modern web. I miss the days when CSS was going to solve all our problems… Now there’s so many different ways to do it. If I had to make a web site today from the top, I’d probably be stuck with indecision at how to approach it, before in the end I just ended up throwing up another WordPress.
What inspires you to learn?
Seeing results and quick improvement. Good feedback, either from a mentor or being able to see clear progress in my own work.
What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
Mostly I need the love and support of my husband, which I have.
I need to believe that the long term projects I’m working on will turn into something good eventually. Or I wouldn’t bother doing them.
But I also need to believe that it’s all right to give up or try a different approach when something isn’t working, and that the occasional failure is fine if you learn something from it.
What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
That’s a tough one. I have a lot of Unpopular Nerd Opinions, but I can always explain my reasoning.
I think pineapple on pizza is pretty tasty. A lot of my friends seem to disagree on this.
I also love movies and art that some people think are bad. Bad movie night was always a bonding pastime between me and my dad.
What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
Be so seamlessly integrated with regular reality that you don’t think about it anymore as something novel.
What book have you recommended the most?
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. Especially for any woman who might be scared of lifting weights.