I remember meandering through the aisles of the UCI bookstore between classes and coming across "Modeling a Character in 3DS Max" by Paul Steed. Flipping through the pages, I realized that the book would take me through every step of creating a professional-quality 3D video game character. The step-by-step nature of the book made it seem simple, causing a light to go off in my brain when I realized... I could do this! My jaw dropped, and I bought the book instantly. Ever since, I knew if I ever wrote a book then it had to be in the same spirit as Steed's: to enable the reader to build something really cool.
My favorite memories from high school classrooms were building things in Physics class like a 6-foot tower made from a single sheet of paper, an electric car with pie-tin wheels, and a kayak built entirely out of milk cartons (winning 2nd prize). Outside of those projects, I also remember that instead of paying attention in class I would make games on my TI-82 calculator programming in BASIC.
While those projects seem trivial, they are the kinds of learning experiences that change lives. Paul Steed brought such an experience to life in his book, inspiring me that some day I might also try my hand, and for that I will always be grateful.
Paul died on August 11, 2012, may he rest in peace.