December 1, 2002
Dear Dr. Zabinski,
So all of a sudden today I ran across my old Apple IIe and got to thinking about National Computer Camps, which I attended in ... 1980? 81? 82? I can't remember exactly, but for two years running.
After a (brief) search I found your website and ... you're still around! I saw the picture of your "1979 camp" and I know the kid sitting at the computer. That's Eric Bratton, he and I used that same digitizing equipment to take pictures of ourselves and other campers (had to hold perfectly still) under the instruction of... Steve Inness I think his name was.
I'm sure there is very little possibility that anyone there might remember me, it was over 20 years ago :) but this is Curt Hartung and I was in the advanced assembly class the second year ... made some cool Fantavision videos that I still have :)
These days I'm head programmer for an international company (Highwinds Software, www.highwinds-software.com ) real down-and-dirty gutsy C++ programming, not web page scripting.
I just wanted to thank you for putting me on this path. I learned assembly and basic computing principals young enough to make it a part of my base understanding of computers. There are programming principals that I learned at your camp that are still with me today. Itís where I learned to let loops fall through, its where I learned about basic memory organization, about how languages really work, and the basics of real optimization/compilation. I have vivid memories of learning the fundamentals of programming from your staff (again, Steve Inness stands out in my memory) as well as the games we would play, from Snake Byte to the Indian Relay.
I also began my career in game programming there, today I am partners (and one of two programmers) working on the in dependant title Ace of Angels (www.aceofangels.com) and I can proudly say that the first game I ever wrote was at your computer camp, it was called 'commit kill' and it sill works. Ace of Angels is now seeking a publisher; check out how far I've come from the Apple IIe I brought to camp both years.
I also note that you have a facility in my current home area of Atlanta. I am way too busy (usually) to apply as staff, but if there is anything I could do, maybe spend some time as a guest speaker or spend a day or something, I'd be willing. If you want credentials I can provide them through normal channels, I started learning to program at NCC, but it didn't end there. I've earned a few college degrees too. I've lectured at Georgia Tech a few times on game programming.
I can't stress enough how much I truly feel I owe you for my successful career, and would love to be able to give something back, but even if nothing can be worked out, you have my thanks.