It’s come time again to acknowledge the newest Microsoft Tech Student of the Month! For the month of March we have selected Kenneth Harding, a 20 year old Information Systems student at the Fisher College of Business of Ohio State University. Kenneth is a web development master and loves making video games. He has already released an Xbox Live Indie Game and is in the process of starting a game studio with his friends.
After a couple years of experience with web development technologies, at the young age of 16, Kenneth was offered a job in the Information Technology department at the Ohio State University Airport. On the job, Kenneth was required to use Microsoft technologies such as ASP.NET, Visual Basic .NET, Microsoft SQL Server, and Visual Studio. He spent a lot of time learning online with tutorials and other resources from the ASP.NET website. In no time, Kenneth had mastered the tools and was becoming a star at the OSU Airport. Over the next four years, he completely revamped the website for the Department of Aviation using Silverlight 2.0 as well as rebuilt the entire internal portal site. Along with these noteworthy feats, Kenneth built his own content management system and membership system using ASP.NET and VB.NET. Today, Kenneth is still working at the OSU Airport and is currently migrating the site onto ASP.NET MVC 3.
While still in high school, Kenneth began experimenting with XNA Game Studio 1.0 after gaining inspiration from one of his friends who was a game artist. He taught himself how to use XNA and C# programming from publicly available resources such as online blogs and the XNA website. After falling in love with game development and XNA, Kenneth and a team of friends formed a game studio called Soulfire Software. Kenneth was the lead programmer for the game SketchBox 360 which was released on the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace in July of 2010. He built a real-time animation program called FluidMotion which allowed the team’s artists to create scenes and animations that can be played back during the game in real time. The game has some epic graphics and only costs a dollar. So far, the game has already gotten 2,700 trail downloads. Soulfire Software offers a look into the making of SketchBox 360 in a two part blog series: Part 1 & Part 2.
Kenneth expresses his gratefulness for the support he has received through Microsoft’s Dreamspark program and the Express tools. He says the tools were great and got him hooked on using Microsoft’s developer software for future projects. He became a member of TechNet and is also a MSDN subscriber after having convinced his superiors at the Ohio State Airport to order Visual Studio 2010 Premium. He used these resources to learn how to use a variety of Microsoft tools such as: Windows Server 2008R2, Active Directory, Exchange Server 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2, SharePoint 2010, and Team Foundation Server 2010.
In 2008, Kenneth attended the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference where Windows Azure and Windows 7 were officially announced. He says, “I didn’t really know what to expect when I went to the conference but that was the most fun I think I’d ever had!” He used his MSDN subscription to test out and become familiar with the Windows Azure platform as well as SQL Azure. He also proudly owns a Samsung Focus which employs the Windows Phone 7 Operating System and is working on a number of WP7 applications in his free time. He plans to attend MIX 2011, a gathering of developers, designers, UX experts and business professionals, in hopes to learn more about HTML5, CSS3 and Internet Explorer 9.
Kenneth is planning to pursue a career in game development after graduating from college. He is the lead programmer for his game studio, Soulfire Software, and expects to dedicate his time to this role after school. His team of seven has been preparing to work on their startup full time and have already begun using Agile software development and SCRUM processes. They are hoping to release their newest game concept, A Castaway Soul, on Xbox Live Arcade. Kenneth also plans to continue his passion for aviation on the side. He already has his private pilot’s license and flies a 1954 Piper Tri-pacer which was previously owned by his father for 43 years.
From everyone on the Microsoft Tech Student team, we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and hope he continues in his path of excellence!