All of my friends would meet up on these games daily to play, and we slowly shifted from being outside most of the day to playing online. The most addicting game of them all was Runescape. It didn’t take long before I was hooked on this popular online role-playing game.
For those who don’t know it was built with Java. After numerous times waiting for the game to load, my interest in Java was piqued and this led me down the rabbit hole of software development.
With every Google search, I started to realize that if I knew how to write code, I could build my own software. That thought alone blew my mind. This was only the beginning, and over the next month, my interest in programming continued to grow.
Not too long after I realized the power of Java, I found a book online called Teach Yourself Java in 21 days. I downloaded Eclipse and got started. The book fascinated me, and although I was still an avid gamer, I found myself growing more fond of my new hobby every day.
After school, I would come home, do my chores, play games, and code like clockwork. It didn’t take long for me to put my new programming skills to use. I wrote scripts that scanned documents, built random GUIs, and even wrote software to complete my math homework.
At that point in my life, it was like having a superpower that nobody knew about. Excited, I told my friend that I was learning Java and urged him to learn with me. He shrugged it off and stuck to gaming. At that moment, I knew I’d be alone in software, so I continued on my own and nobody knew — not even my family.
Digging deeper into programming
Months went by, and I started to become frustrated with the speed at which I was progressing in Runescape. So, I started to go on the hunt for cheats. To my surprise, there were many macros, bots, and scripts that you could run 24/7 to automatically play the game for you. This fascinated me. I tried every bot I could find but found that most were garbage. I continued this until I stumbled upon a community that offered a free bot client. It could even run custom scripts. I joined the forum not knowing that within a couple of months, my entire life would change.
This community was everything a kid like me could ever dream of! Over the course of a month, I must have tried at least 20 scripts. There were some that cut wood, some that fought monsters, and others that did quests for you. It was amazing what these bots could do automatically without any supervision.
Turning lemons into lemonade
There were many questions, but I had no answers. It wasn’t long before a lightbulb switched, and I decided I’d make a new account. My idea was that I could use the cheats I found to level up to my original accounts stats, and fast. I was on a mission to get back to where I had fallen from, but there was one problem.
My previous account had high fighting stats, and at the time the community didn’t have many bots that could fight for you. So I went looking. I stumbled upon one bot that could fight chickens, and thought to myself: Why just chickens? Why not any monster?
I looked through the code, and that’s when I realized that with a few modifications, you could make a bot that could fight any monster in the game. With my freshly learned programming skills and some added creativity, I created GenericFighter, the first all-in-one fighter bot.
After some touch-ups and tests, I was confident that GenericFighter was ready. Any monster that I set it up to fight was taken down flawlessly, and I was excited not only to use it, but also to publish it to the community.
Within a few weeks, it was one of the most popular bots on the forum and my Runescape account stats were up. I received a lot of praise, but it didn’t end there. I started to get feature request and bug reports. I became addicted to programming, and the rush of building a product that people loved kept me going.
This went on for a few months. The maintenance of the bot forced me to become better at writing code, which ultimately led me to acquire a deeper knowledge of Java. At this point in time, I was completely unaware of the bigger picture. I had no idea the founders of the forums had a plan to take things to the next level.
The code in the service of money
After having this first experience, I decided to build an application that would allow me to follow the evolution of the number of subscribers, likes, engagement etc. of the influencers. This is an indispensable tool for influencers, to follow the evolution of their community etc. The application was downloaded more than 200 000 times in less than 2 months with only an ambassador link and a few publications on Instagram.