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Future gamemaker is his own programmer

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Morrow High School senior Khoa Dang Nguyen has a penchant for obscure knowledge and enjoys thinking outside of the box. While maintaining 4.2 grade-point average and excelling in math, science and Latin, Nguyen also finds time for art, literature and video games.

He is Morrow High School's STAR Student.

A member of the school's Anime Club, Nguyen also helped resurrect The Cavalier, a student literary magazine not published for several years.

"This is the first time it has been here in a while," he said. "Right now, we are collecting submissions, editing them, and typing them up. We ask for poetry and short stories. In these writings, you show what you feel inside, whereas with these [academic] papers, you write it in a structure that was already set up for you."

The Cavalier "shows me different forms of writing because everyone has their own voice. I can learn from some of the styles and incorporate it into my writing," he said.

Nguyen's favorite subject is art, a talent he has put to good use drawing comics, and helping paint some of the murals at his high school. He has also combined his art skills and math knowledge to create his own video games.

"I am trying to learn how to program simple games," he said. "So far, I can only work with games that already have set-up instructions and you put in your own story line. I don't know C++ programming, so I am still working on that."

Nguyen, 17, said he has sent applications to Georgia Tech, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and the Art Institute of Atlanta and is waiting for responses. He said he wants to combine his talents by becoming a game programmer, creating role-playing games.

"At this point, I want to be a game designer," he said. "It encompasses everything I like ... writing, art, character design, and even basic math and anatomy. Right now, I think that not too many great games are being made. Instead of complaining about how bad games are, I thought, why not go out and make some?"