Hi. My name is Neil Millstone. I love films, and go to the cinema often. It's very difficulty to pick favourite films, but ones I've liked recently are The Presige, Brick, and Inside Man, and anything with a point to it! I also enjoy reading, and I think Douglas Adams was one of the funniest men ever to live, although going back to some of his books recently, they do seem to have dated fairly badly.
I grew up in a small dull town called Potters Bar which lies just north of London, a town full of nuclear families with 2.4 children. By the age of 16 I was making my own games for the PC, some of which you can find in the downloads section of this site. I enjoy the challenge and thought processes of programming, and also the pleasure of entertaining people. Having people appreciate and enjoy something you have created is one of the greatest feelings you can have, and in 1998 one of my games, Marble Crazy, which I was giving away for free on the internet, became a minor hit and now has been downloaded by over 200,000 people worldwide. It pleases me to thing that I've had an effect, however small, on so many peoples' lives.
In 2001 Potters Bar became home to the one major indication of an advanced civilization, a McDonalds resturaunt, then in 2002 the town was catapulted into the media spotlight by a train crash. Apart from that, there is nothing at all interesting about Potters Bar, which is why when the time came do decide what I was to do with my life, I decided to leave and become a student at Manchester University, which has an excellent Computing department. There I spent three happy years getting a degree in Computer Science, where I made many like-minded friends, and never woke up before 9am!
I have a great interest in film, and while studying, I was involved in The Manchester University Film Society, where I learned about the evocotive world of gaffer tape and celluloid. When I worked there, it was an exciting, busy place, where we showed four films per week on what was then the third biggest cinema screen in Manchester. One highlight was watching a copy of Lost in Space burst in to flames while being projected on one of our ancient jury-rigged projectors, the world is better with one less copy of that film. Three years and a very small amount of work later, I had a laminated piece of paper printed in gold leaf with my name on it.
Soon after leaving university I decided that I would spend all the money I didn't really have on a trip round the world. I planned my trip, and travelled to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and New York, all on my own. I met some fascinating people and saw things I never image I'd never see... It was a great adventure, and an amazing experience, although it would have been good to have someone to share the experience with. You can read more about my trip and see some pictures of it in the Travelogue section of this site.
Anyway, after I had my degree I was meant to be prepared to enter the wide world of work. A place of besuited people working nine to five in tall office buildings with executive toys on their desks. I wanted to avoid this fate worse than death, so I looked for work doing what I've always wanted to do since I was a kid -- make video games. Before long, I was working for Software Creations as a programmer. In the seven months I worked there I developed sound and music technology which was used accross all their products on the Game Boy Advance. I also did work on the terminally dull Baseball game All-Star Baseball 2003 and also Ripping Friends. It was a great crash course in games programming, and Creations had a long history which I appreciated. It was very important in the early part of the UK games industry, porting many high profile titles to the 80s home computers.
Software Creations didn't last all that much longer, however, and a few people at Creations formed another company to complete the project we were working on. After hiring a room in a converted textile mill in the centre of Manchester, I was soon working at the newly formed Realism Studios on Super Monkey Ball Jr., the Gameboy Advance version of the hit Gamecube game. It was hard working for such a small studio, but our publisher was good to us, and could see the potential of the game. This appeared in 2002 to critical acclaim, the first commercial game I've worked on which I'm actually pleased with!
Unfortunately, Realism fell on hard times when GameBoy Advance work started to dry up so I jumped ship in late 2003. A few weeks later, that company went bust too. As the games industry was not looking good in the North West, I decided to go down to London. I had to leave all my friends up in Manchester and found a flat in South Woodford, which is in East London. I soon had a job at Sony Computer Entertainment, working on the EyeToy. There, I worked on such games as EyeToy: Play 2, and the awful SpyToy (known in the US as EyeToy: Operation Spy). I made lots of good friends there, and Sony is generous to its employees. It was quite a change to work for a company that's so big and powerful, and the freebies and posh offices in the centre of London were great. After an entertaining three years there, frustrations over the PS3 launch and partially cancelled projects, as well as the internal secrect and beurocracy finally got to me, and I jumped ship.
This time I went back to independant development, at Kuju London Studio. They're working on the Wii, and have worked extensively with Nintendo in the past. It has been an aim of mine to work for Nintendo, so I jumped at the chance to interview for a job there, and to my surprise, I got it. I was employed as an AI programmer, which at Kuju basically means a bit of everything.
I started programming at home for myself, and however much I do commercial games work, the project never feels like your own as it does when its something you do for yourself. That's why I try to continue with projects at home, as far as time permits. At the moment, I'm working on my port of ScummVM to the Nintendo DS handheld console. I also help my Dad out from time to time with technical issues, and designed his company website, edenglen.co.uk.
When I'm online, I use icq (an instant messanger system). My icq number is 3276705. If you click on the link, you'll be able to send me a message even if you don't have icq. Say hello when I'm about, I'll talk to anyone!