This story has somewhat of a twisted/interesting plot to it – in the Spring semester of my Junior year of high-school we were told to pick a topic for our “Senior Project” and find a mentor that would, a year later, sign off on our work and try and guide us on the right path for our career. Being heavily involved in game development and 3D computer graphics for around 5 years at that point and living only two hours away, I decided to be a little randy and contact Tim Sweeney – the lead programmer at Epic Games.

Much to my surprise he actually responded back and said that he might be interested but wanted me to put together a demo for him within two weeks. While reading his response the entire left side of my body went numb, literally, and I could no longer move that half of my body. I very slowly somehow managed to make my way downstairs to the kitchen where I found my brother, Nate, and attempted to ask him for a drink of water. After several minutes of attempting this only to see him look back with an odd look on his face I ended up getting the water myself with extraordinary difficulty. I have no memory of the next several hours except waking up around 3AM in my bed (having no clue how I got there) andvomitingprofusely well into the morning. My mom woke up at one point and decided to let me stay home the next day. The vomiting continued for around three days and I didn’t return to normalcy or school for, coincidently, two weeks. Coming from a relatively large, very low income family and having a 3D game engine demo to write from scratch, I chose to skip the hospital visit and instead spent every waking moment where I wasn’t vomiting ordeliriouson the demo. Having never actually been checked out, no one really knows for sure what happened to me but the general consensus was that it was either a stroke and/or heart attack.. at age 16.

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