Game, Graphics and Web Developer

Developer Timeline

Here is my developer timeline thus far. For a more formal write up see my Resume.

Developer Timeline


First Program (LOGO)

First Program (LOGO)

So sometime during my tenure at Maine-Memorial Elementary School I remember using LOGO to program a greeting for my parents on Back To School night.  I was very proud of it, but something went a bit wrong for some reason the then end product was something like the attached image.  I must have turned right instead of left at the last turn.


First Family PC

First Family PC

I remember distinctly going to Radio Shack on a cold day to pick out our first computer. It was a Tandy with a dot matrix printer and 3.5 inch disk drive, and if I remember correctly it had 256K RAM. It was very exciting for me though and instantly a new world was opened to me.


First Application (BASIC)

First Application (BASIC)

Upon visiting my friend who had windows 3 installed, there was an interesting new solitaire game called Tri-Peaks. Instantly addicted I wanted to play it on my old Tandy, but alas, the Tandy was still running just DOS. Somewhere along the way I had discovered BASIC so I took it upon myself to program Tri-Peaks solitaire in BASIC. This was the first really big program I attempted and I wish I still had the code somewhere just for laughs. I think somewhere in the process I discovered GOSUB and for the first time broke out of the LINE by LINE programming which ended up being quite useful. The graphics were incredibly basic but it worked, and I could play tripeak to my heart’s content


turbo pascal

First Programming Class (Turbo Pascal)

So somewhere in High School I remember having a computer class where we were taught basic programming in TurboPascal. Having perfected (in my mind) my programming skills during the Tri-Peak project I sailed through the exercises rather quickly and had a bunch of extra time during class. One day, after finishing my assignment for fun I decided to write a program that would automatically generate the name song, “Mary Bary Bo Bary, Banana Fana Fo Farry, Me My Mo Mary. Mary!” I remember it being a little tricky to strip off all the consonants until I got a vowel. My friend Chuck was sitting next to me watching my progress and he conveniently had 2 consonants at the beginning of his name. Unfortunately I used his name as a test case right when the teacher was walking by which got me in a bit of hot water – Chuck Chuck Bo Buck …. well you get the idea.


Undergraduate in Mathmatics at Penn

Undergraduate in Mathmatics at Penn

So in September 1993 I packed my bags and headed off to the City of Brotherly Love to attend the University of Pennsylvania. In those days I aspired to be a high school math teacher and so consequently spent most of my time studying Math and various other liberal artsy stuff. I did manage to slip in one Intro to Programming class (CSE 110). That course language was Java so I got my first exposure to Object Oriented programming, which at the time seemed did not seem as exciting as I have now come to appreciate. I loved my time at Penn and did very well (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa and all that). However, since I was only a math teacher for one summer (any more would have killed me!) if I had to do it all over again I would definitely have availed myself of Penn’s Computer and Information Science Department a bit more.


Microsoft Access 2000 logo

First Real Job (Microsoft Access/ VBA)

So I got my first real job in 1999 working at Penn’s School of Medicine in the Office of Faculty Affairs. My predecessor did a whole bunch of reports using Excel that had to be manually refreshed every month. That was pretty tedious so I began converting all the reports into a Microsoft Access database. After creating a robust data structure I oversaw the data entry of over 1500 faculty records which took many, many student worker hours. Once that was complete I was pretty much able to perform what I was initially hired to do by clicking a button once a month.


php elephant logo

First Web Application (PHP/Oracle)

We pretty quickly outgrew the Microsoft Access database and needed a better way to disseminate the information to numerous different parties. At this point I joined the programming group and created my first web application using PHP and Oracle: the Faculty Affairs Database System [FADS]. Although this was my first web application and it was written in PHP 4 way back in 2001, it is actually still running as of 2019! Not a bad run for a first attempt.


java icon

First Online Games (Java Applets)

In honor of the birth of my first two kids I dipped my toe into the now defunct world of Java applets. They were pretty simple games based upon sliding puzzles and the Rush Hour puzzle game, but fun to have my first distributed game.


Lord of the rings risk

First Interactive Online Game – Lord of the Rings Risk

At a certain point in my career I ended up doing a lot more management and institutional reporting and a lot less programming. In order to get my programming fix and also the achieve the trifecta of nerdiness (Lord of the Rings + Board Games + Programming) I made an online version of Risk (Lord of the rings style).