Oddball during primary school.
Nurtured into a good student by parents and grandparents, who did things like insist to me that I was good at maths even though I was placed in a middling class for it.
Liked origami though, and I dare say my ability with that gave me the confidence and ability to get better at maths and to be keen on science.
My only games console was a gameboy. It was a brilliant console for puzzle games, but unfortunately I didn't play them at the time!
To my shame my favourite games were Pokemon Red and Dragon Warrior Monsters, but fortunately I also had Super Mario Land 1 and 2 ()2 is one of the best platformers of all time)
2000-2006: Oddball during secondary school.
Got Playstation 2. Wasted many years on Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy.
To my 14-year-old self their stories felt profound; my idea of what "profundity" is has informed a lot of what I have spent my time on.
At this time I generally got interested in physics and "philosophy".
Cut my creative teeth making Anime Music Videos and later got roped into producing a theatre production that fell apart (I learned a lot from the experience though).
Got bad exam results due to spending 4 hours a day on the phone talking to girlfriend.
After unpleasant breakup, found solace in the films of Ingmar Bergman (whose worst films are still more profound than the best video games), decide I want to be a film-maker.
Mind blown by the games Bioshock and Deus Ex.
Begin to realize that jRPGs were perhaps not so profound after all, but push it to back of my mind.
Begin studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at University - terrible idea. Got extremely depressed, spend most of time playing video games while listening to Radio 4.
Realized that video games are a powerful medium, clearly constrained by genere conventions.
During depression conceive two games: Verney Junction and Music of the Spheres.
Spend gap yah working for a silly think tank while making Verney Junction (along with two unfortunate friends I roped in).
Verney Junction was meant to be a political platform-adventure game about trying to escape a hostage situation while negotiating with your captor through pseudo-interactive audio samples.
Inspired by Bioshock (have not yet shaken the incorrect belief that Bioshock is worth a damn), and by the experience of interacting with games while listening to the radio during depression (so Verney Junction is the first genesis of the "interactive lecture").
I widen my appreciation of video games through the Something Awful Forums, where World of Goo, Braid, and Gravitation slowly start to replace Bioshock.
At the think tank, organize this
and write these
(I would later appear in this at their annual conference).
After many months on Verney Junction, playtest it once, realize the format makes no sense, never touch it again.
Started studying mathematics and philosophy at university, a much better idea. Originally not particularly interested in maths, simply a "means to an end" for getting technical skills necessary for video game creation.
Got interested in the level design of Braid - make this video and this video and unsuccessfully tried to make a level that simulates the grandfather paradox.
Started working on Music of the Spheres (website archive), and writing for actionbutton.
I wrote and directed and acted in a sort of "theatrical documentary" about Shakespeare adapted from this lecture.
Got written up in the student paper - second one here - it turns out I can make things people enjoy!
Spend much of my time at a lovely student society that gets together to discuss anything the members are passionate about
- this is a presentation I did there, the first of many presentations I will later do on video games, that will later influence my decision to move in the direction of "interactive lectures".
My ideas about video games crystallize: profundity must come through systems; systems must be explored through level design; we must look to past great games in order to see how to communicate through level design.
And: we can look to mathematics and science to find profound ideas embedded in systems.
Interest in mathematics as an end unto itself rekindled, become inspired by the work of Reidun Twarock, a Professor at my university, move towards biology.
Do MSc in Computational Biology, during which I create an Explorable Explanation:
Mathematical modelling of neurons in the visual cortex, though it is almost entirely broken now.
Master's dissertation becomes what is now Virus: The Beauty of the Beast. Continue iterating on it in spare time until 2017.
Went and worked for three months at the International Rice Research Institute on C4 rice. Achieve nothing but get lots of experience.
Fail to get a PhD scholarship for a project on C4 rice. Manage to get scholarship to work on VR visualization of biomolecules. Begin at Edinburgh in 2015, and now it's today!