Matthew Ellen .co .uk

About me

A photo of my wonderful face

With such a wonderful face, many of you might well be asking "why isn't Matt a world renowned fashion model?" Well, quite simply, I love programming.

Born in 1981, I first tasted the wonder that is programming at the tender age of ten, when my family bought an Amstrad CPC 464. Mostly we would use it to play games, but I would occasionally pick up the instruction manual and bend the Amstrad to my whims (which generally involved making the screen and screen border flash in alternating colours, or (my favourite) printing all the ascii characters to the screen) using its implementation of BASIC.

My first true foray into programming came a few years later, by which time the family computer had graduated to an IBM compatible PC. At this point I found two new flavours of BASIC: QBASIC and Visual BASIC 3. In these Halcyon days the bedrock for Pointless Products inc. (PPi) was formed, and my addiction to programming took full hold.

At first Pointless Products was a solo effort, producing such masterpieces as Revenge! and Invaders! in QBASIC. But then came the meeting of minds that formed the solid foundation upon which many a pointless product would be built. When Denzil Lyne joined PPi, and took control of the creative direction, we became a prolific team, producing hit after hit in VB3 and VB6; including a remake of Revenge, Billy and Bob's big hashhunt and the magnificent Super Ching-Wa Kung Fu Challenge.

As my talents grew as a programmer, it became apparent to me that, while user input was great, so much more fun could be had with the addition of computer controlled events. As I delved ever deeper into the realm of Artificial Intelligence, I realised that I would need a deeper understanding of mind if I were to achieve my goals. This conclusion lead me to take the slightly unconventional choice of a degree in Psychology at the University of Plymouth (with a minor in computing) rather than the traditional Computer Science route to a career in programming.

During my degree I made many friends and had a lot of fun. I learned a great many things, some of them related to psychology. After graduating, however, no matter what I tried I was unable to launch my career into the IT industry, or the computer games industry (not so surprisingly). It seemed that the world of IT was stuck in a vicious cycle of requiring programmers have 2 years experience and not wanting to let them get it.

After a year of call centre work, selling wine, I decided to go back to university. I read for a masters in interactive intelligent systems, but even after graduating as a master I struggled to land a job in IT. I had given up and was planing a trip to Japan to teach English when I got an offer from a fund platform that was based in St. Albans. I took the job. Since then life has become more interesting, and I've spent more time developing my own ideas in my spare time.