About Me

Overview

My name is Ryan "Berserkguard" Norby and I've been interested in videogame development since I was 11 years old. This was when my best friend showed me RuneScape; I was instantly captivated at the amount of effort that went into creating it. It was my first online game, and up until that point, I had not known that such games existed. It was incredible seeing strangers working together for a common goal. Also, from then on, I knew that game development was the only profession for me.

People are always debating whether videogames should count as art, but I truly believe they do. After all, developers convey their feelings and emotions through their videogames. What makes videogames stand apart from other artforms is that they require constant input from the admirer; only videogames change depending on how the admirer reacts.

I taught myself how to make Flash games when I was in the fifth grade. I still remember downloading the Flash MX 2004 30-day trial and spending the entire month glued to the screen. It was reassuring to know that making videogames is as fun as I thought it would be, especially being able to control how the computer communicates with the player. Since then, I've learned Java, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, Visual Basic, C/C++, Scheme, IA32 assembly, Lua, MIPS assembly, and Python.

I will be graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor's degree in computer science in 2015. I am growing more and more excited to begin my career as a professional game developer. I am currently the president of ACM Gamebuilders, a student organization for videogame development. Luke Puchner-Hardman and I took first place in the 12-hour 2013 Gamebuild-a-thon with our submission, Dragon (R)Age. We also competed in the Global Student Game Developer Competition that same year. I enjoy doing game jams because they allow me to clear my mind and focus solely on doing what I love. Plus, it's amazing to see how quickly we are able to make a game under pressure!

Education

I attended Hopkinton (MA) Public Schools up through the 10th grade. While enrolled at Hopkinton High School, I took AP Biology and AP US History. AP Computer Science wasn't offered, but I studied independently and received a 5 on the exam. For my electives, I took a year-long computer programming class, where I used Java and Visual Basic, as well as a web design class, where we used HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I was awarded the Technology Departmental Award at the end of my freshman year for my achievement and interest in these classes.

After my sophomore year, I transferred to the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics & Science, a specialized two-year high school affiliated with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. For 12th grade, I took 36 credit hours of classes at WPI, including 4 levels of calculus and 3 computer science classes. I earned a 3.83 GPA while at WPI, making the Dean's List all 4 quarters.

I enrolled in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012, and entered with 48 credit hours of transfer credit, allowing me to jump in as a second-semester sophomore. I was admitted as a James Scholar and received the University Achievement Scholarship. I'm on track to graduate by the summer of 2015. As of spring 2014, I have a 3.77 GPA. For my computer science electives, I'm taking game development-related courses, including interactive computer graphics and artificial intelligence.

Extracurricular

I was in Boy Scouts throughout middle and high school, earning my Eagle Scout rank at 15 years old (I set the record for being the youngest boy in my troop to do so). I was on the varsity math team during my two years at Hopkinton High School, and also spent my freshman year on the varsity swimming team, earning the Most Improved Swimmer award. I was on the robotics team my sophomore year, where we built robots from Vex kits and competed in local tournaments.

At Massachusetts Academy, I participated on the speech & debate team, and even competed in the Massachusetts National Forensics League state tournament. Three students and I participated in a Vex robot tournament hosted by WPI, and our robot won the Sombrero Award, which is given to the robot with the best defense mechanism. I was a member of the American Computer Science League and participated in local programming competitions, such as the Fitchburg State University programming competition, where my team took 3rd place among 20 teams.

At UIUC, I spend a lot of my free time with ACM Gamebuilders, a student organization dedicated to videogame development. I created a 3D tower defense game in C++ with a couple of its members during my first year at UIUC. We participated at Engineering Open House 2013, an annual event for students to show off engineering-related projects to the public. I ran for president of the club at the end of my first year, and was unanimously elected. While president, the other officers and I created a mentor/mentee program, redesigned our website, and built up relations with videogame developers. Within the Gamebuilders group, my friend and I are currently working on a 2D dungeon crawler. We'll be showing it at Engineering Open House 2014 in March.

Resume

You can download my resume in PDF form here.