My name is Nick Van Winkle, and I am a game programmer from Del Rio, Texas. I have been interested in games for pretty much as long as I can remember. I actually started off playing the Sega Master System (Hang-On/Astro Warrior) and the NES (Super Mario Brothers), and from then on I was hooked. But when I decided that I wanted to make games for a living was when I was in the 5th grade. My dad had gotten a crappy computer from an auction, and it came with some software. One of the games was called Leisure Suit Larry. Anyone who knows what that game is knows that it's not exactly suitable for a 5th grader, but oh well, I enjoyed the hell out of it. That's when I decided I wanted to make games. Unfortunately, I had no idea that the tools needed were at my fingertips. I always thought I needed some strange machine to make games,
Hobbies of mine include Skateboarding or BMXing. I suck at both and can't do any tricks, but I can try. I'm also a drummer. I've been in a few bands, but I don't have a band at the moment. Looking though. Of course I am an avid game player. My favorite game would have to be Motor City Online (R.I.P). It was a MMO Racing game for muscle car freaks that had the most diverse customization a racing game has ever had. You could pick from name brand parts, all sorts of parts, all sorts of paint jobs, and all sorts of cars. I swear, no two cars were alike in that game. The customization was SO realistic. You could race for money, race for parts, or even race other players for pink slips. Talk about suck when you lose your car you put so much time and money into! It even had a cool auction system for buying and selling the cars you made. It was actually partly a learning tool for me, since I'm a muscle car fan. Right now I am currently playing City of Heroes, 1080: Avalanche, Viewtiful Joe, and Jak & Daxter II. That's just actively. I never hesitate to put in the old good ones such as True Crime, or even Super Mario Brothers.
When 8th grade rolled around, a friend of mine had told me about this class he was taking where they were teaching him how to write computer programs. I thought he was full of crap until he showed me how to load up QBasic and make my first program:10 print "Hello"
20 goto 10
Man, I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. I dropped one of my classes and transferred over to that computer class that he was taking. Apparently I had a knack for this sort of stuff, because I did better than anyone in the class. I would finish fast enough to go to the next class over and talk to the other teacher who knew a lot about that stuff. Needless to say, I passed the class with flying colors.
Unfortunately, the only computer class in the 9th grade was a typing class (which of course, I took) and I blew everyone away. I would type fast, and play around with Q-Basic. I even taught a few classmates how to make lame programs like the one above. It was quite fun. :) But then in the 10th grade, it happened. I saw on the class listing "Computer Science." I was floored. I signed up faster than cooking poptarts in a microwave. They were teaching Pascal at the time, so it was new for me. No QBasic stuff. I did pretty well in that class, but I could have done better (it was high school, I acted like a punk). In 11th grade I was excited about taking 2nd year pascal, but unfortunately, they didn't offer it because they were switching to C++. So I took my second year of Computer Science, but I was actually learning 1st year stuff. I was kinda perturbed, but I knew the basics of how a higher-level programming language worked, so I did extremely well in that class. So my senior year, they didn't offer a 3rd year Computer Science class. So after talking to the councelors, they let me take Computer Science again, even though it wouldn't count for any credits. I didn't care, I just wanted to learn more C++!
So after High School, I go to the junior college, screw that all up, and get a job as a PHP Developer at an ISP/Web Design company. I then heard about this school called "Full Sail Real World Education." They had a cource SPECIFICALLY designed for Game Design. I did some research and found there was another school called Digipen. So I had a choice. I ultimately decided upon Full Sail because it was in Florida. No snow in Florida. :) Actually, it was cheaper than Digipen, shorter than Digipen, and I heard better things about it.
So I finally figure my way into the school, and go through a vigorous year and a half of the game development process. Wow. Rough. But ultimately, the group I was in the Final Project reigned champions! (okay so my opinion is biased a bit, :P). But we ended up making a game like no other and got a HUGE response from it. It was great. Quite the learning experience. I can't say that I did superb in school. It was a rough time, I was married, had a newborn son, and had lots of stress. I did manage to pull through though, and I did decent. I'm very proud of myself for what I accomplished there.
Ever since I learned QBasic, I had been programming little dumb applications, like ones that figure out your age, or what year you were born, based on certain information entered. When I was in High School, I was able to go to a regional programming competition with 2 other guys. We ended up getting first place, a little medal, and we moved onto the state competition. Unfortunately, my band schedule (yes, I was a band weenie in high school, PERCUSSION FOREVER!) conflicted with that, and I couldn't go to the programming competition. They got someone to take my place, and from what I heard, the team didn't do so well at all. Apparently it was MUCH harder than the regional competition
While I was in Full Sail, I made an assortment of different games and tools, most of which can be found in the downloads section.
And there you have it. My life story (regarding games and programming, anyway). Hey, uh, WAKE UP! I'm not THAT boring, am I?