Hi there–my name is Will, and I’m the kind of guy who gets really excited to talk about my career and hobbies.
Originally born in Rock Hill, SC, I moved to Anderson, SC when I was 2 as my parents changed jobs, and I spent the remainder of my childhood there. We lived on an old major highway, which meant that crossing the street was a big no-no, and I didn’t have many friends that could come over without making prior arrangements with their parents first. Thus, for the majority of my life, I’ve been involved in all things games and programming to keep me going!
My first game was Super Mario World, and I didn’t exactly own it–it was a cousin’s, and I got to play the Super Nintendo whenever we’d make our weekend trips to their house. Later, I got turned to SimTown (also at my cousin’s house), which my parents misinterpreted as “SimCity” when they went out to find the game to buy for me, and thus, the first game that I ever owned was SimCity 2000. At the age of 4, I was trying to build an urban empire on our Windows 95 PC, but it took a year or two for me to really figure out what I was doing!
Later on, my gaming habits included games such as RollerCoaster Tycoon, Sid Meier’s Civilization, and quite a bit of Zelda. I started showing an interest in programming at around age 11, in the 6th grade, and tried my hand with HTML–a markup language, not a programming language!–and eventually segued into Java and C++. I came to prefer Java as C++ offered me far too many ways to shoot myself in the foot, but this changed throughout the years. In addition to all of this, I kept a thumb on web development, learning PHP, CSS, and whatever web technologies were trendy at the time.
As we had dialup internet at the time, the ability for me to obtain (or even find) free Java libraries that eased game engine development was slim. I opted instead to use the BlitzPlus engine, targeted at developing simple games in a BASIC-like dialect that was somewhat easy for me to grasp, despite its unusual syntax. This was my first exposure to game development, circa 2007–just a year after starting with programming.
In 2009, I was pointed to the Unity engine by another game developer on IRC, and the rest was history–I started actually trying to develop personal games rather than just prototypes and clones of existing games. Though I never made any substantial progress with it, this also included me learning how to use the Adobe suite, and a poor attempt at learning Blender, which at the time was in version 2.49b, and didn’t have the greatest interface.
I was accepted to the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2011, and by 2013, I had declared my major in Interactive Design & Game Development. During this time, I took as many design and art centric classes as I possibly could, as I felt confident in my programming and game engine skills, but did not feel confident in my design and art skills, nor my understanding of the development process, as I hadn’t truly “finished” a game yet at that point.
Finally, I graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive Design & Game Development. I entered the working world in 2016 as well, taking a job as a mobile games developer for ADX Labs, Inc. under their GameSmart mobile games brand. I’m currently employed here full-time in Minneapolis.
In the meantime, I am developing an ambitious realtime strategy game named Iris Burning, in the spirit of my strategy game upbringings, with a group called Die-Cast Magic Studios. Outside of development, I enjoy playing Cities: Skylines, Sid Meier’s Civilization V, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Quake: Champions. When I’m not programming, I enjoy working with old computers such as early 8086 machines, MOS 6502 micros, and embedded systems such as the Arduino. I’m engaged to my fiancee, Dainelle, and I live with her and our two cats.
I like it when the weather’s in the mid-70s, and I find hard cider delicious. I also have 10 years of musical training on the piano and 7 on the violin, but I’ve definitely fallen out of practice!