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August is almost to an end and that means it’s come time again to announce the Tech Student of the Month! This month, we are highlighting Phillip Huff who is the creator of an independent game development studio called Stony Studios. Phillip is about to begin his sophomore year at Stony Brook University, located on Long Island, with plans to double major in Computer Science and Philosophy. He is the brain behind the fun and explosive new Windows Phone game called Ion Reaction and although he is new to Windows Phone development, Phillip has learned the ropes quickly and fully intends to explore the mobile platform in the future.
Phillip always had a seeming flair for technology. During middle school he played “Escape Velocity,” a single-player RPG computer game series, which offered players the ability to create personalized plug-ins that would modify the game in terms of graphics, resources, and overall game-play. Phillip quickly found a knack experimenting with his own modifications and was able to build an understanding of high level software development concepts. Soon after, he was known at school for being able to program his graphing calculator to do anything! He taught himself to run frame-by-frame movies on his calculator by uploading picture files and buffering the frames in sets of ten to form a running sequence.
Philip’s reputation became known even among the faculty, who sought him out to work on volunteer web design projects involving hand-written HTML. He learned everything about web design from a helpful site called W3 Schools and by means of trial and error. Phillip also had the opportunity to work with robotics programming through a local business that sought to teach students about graphic programming. He and his friend were given a Roomba-esque robot and were told to explore the API in order to understand how it responded to various movements. This gave him the opportunity to work with C++ and become familiar with object-oriented programming. Although Phillip had no formal training prior to college, his innate curiosity about programming and willingness to learn provided a great foundation in preparation for Stony Brook University’s computer science program.
Philip is only a sophomore at Stony Brook but he has already found great success on campus. One of his computer science class assignments was deemed the best out of a class of 150 students! These project-based courses have allowed Phillip to explore different areas of programming and discover new points of interest. He got into Windows Phone development during the spring of freshman year with the help of Microsoft’s DreamSpark program, a program that provides free professional-level developer and design tools to students and educators.
As a Windows Phone owner (LG Quantum), he found the platform interesting and decided to learn more by finding helpful resources around the web. One of the primary resources he used for reference was the Microsoft Windows Phone Development Library, an extensive online library of resources available for Windows Phone developers at any level. He learned how to use C# and XNA Game Studio in order to program his first Windows Phone 7 app Ion Reaction, a multi-mode game consisting of explosive chain reactions. Ion Reaction was released less than a month ago and has already seen a good amount of downloads and exposure.
In regards to future plans, Phillip intends to continue developing for the Windows Phone platform. He is already working on a new app inspired by Escape Velocity and is in the process of flushing out details for updates on Ion Reaction. An idea in the works is integrating Ion Reaction with Cloud technologies to enable a Global Leaderboard for high-ranking scores. As for now, his biggest priority is to finish out his education and develop his current skill-sets.
Phillip expects to graduate from Stony Brook University in 2014 and hopes to teach programming in the future. We’re excited to see what else he has to offer the Windows Phone Marketplace and the rest of the tech world. We wish him the best of luck in future projects and endeavors!
Stay connected with Phillip on Twitter: @StonyStudios
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Read the June Tech Student Profile on Andrew Zurek