About Me

So who am I?

    Well isn't that always an interesting question? Let's see.. I would be a Jack of Many Trades, not all, but I have came close to mastering a few.
    I am was co-owner and VP of Alan-Grant, Incorporated where I design and build prototype arcade games. I developed a concept, design, build and test the hardware, design and build electronics and then do programming to run a complete, functional, proof of concept prototype.
    According to the piece of paper DeVry gave me, I have a Bachelors Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology (BSEET) so I actually do know what I am doing with electronics. I grew up in a rural area with a carpenter/foreman for a father so we did all of our own repairs and construction. He was big in CB back in the day and that started my interest in electronics.(how many out there ever heard of a 'Sonar', a 'Demco', a 'Moon Raker Beam', or a 'Jewel Box' amp?) I went to a small high school, but it had a nationally recognized 'Technical Education Department' (not just 'Shop Class'). There I got a good background in drafting, wood/metal working, and machining. While at DeVry I worked as head technician at a large 'Family Entertainment Center' and got started in the gaming field. While there during the late '80's it grew from 10,000 square feet to nearly 40,000 with 280 games on the floor plus bumper cars, batting cages, and miniature golf course, all under my care as well as general facilities maintenance. The Jack of All Trades thing came in very handy. After graduating I stayed there for a few more years, then left to work for Alvin G. Inc. Who?? A now defunct pinball company, where I began doing game design and had 3 games make it to production just before they closed. Later I did game design for Creative Electronic and Software.
    In between I bounced around between a few things picking up more skills. Helped a friend run a sign and graphics business, worked at a 'Speed Shop' building and tuning street rods, learned how to MIG and TIG weld and picked up more machining skills.
    While a person is not defined by what he has, I am proud of my fairly complete shop I now did work in, and do as much in house as possible. Lots of wood working machines (12 inch table saw, 2 band saws, all the important hand/power tools and more), small CNC router, self made, for wood and plastics, old Tree mill in the process of having it's CNC controls updated,(scraped) small lathe, Miller MIG and Syncrowave TIG, plus a shear and 2 breaks. As a good friend of mine told me, "If the guy with the most toys wins, I give up, you win!" While it is not that much, it was still nice to hear! Along the way I have made a few good friends at other shops that can make just about anything I can't. Along with our own games, we also do some design work for others and have had a sign shop which also creates the graphics for the prototypes. In other words, if we can do it, we will, for a buck!
    But back to me. I do programming mostly in versions of C. I originally built semi-custom electronics for the games, but now use older PC's and control the electronics through the parallel port. For this I use Linux, specifically Puppy Linux, a great, small distro. You will find I am a big fan of Linux. Other programming includes a bit of HTML, PHP, and MySQL. Yes, I coded and modified these pages by hand!
Update:
    Since I originally wrote this a lot has changed. We closed our shop and I moved all my tools into my garage. I now watch my little girl while mommy works and work when I can. I still have several projects in the works and get involved in some interesting jobs, but game design is on indefinite hold for now.Number of View :6574