Tim Sweeney, born in 1970, is an American computer game programmer and the founder of Epic Games, being best known for his work on ZZT and the Unreal Engine. Sweeney established Epic as a shareware company while he was a student majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland. Sweeney said that he had been interested in game development and computer programming since he was 10 years old. Sweeney finally started making games out of his parents’ basement where he lived. Epic got its start when Sweeney created ZZT, the company’s first game. As Sweeney said in interviews, ZZT’s success fueled the early growth of his company. The game was released as a shareware in 1991. Sweeney worked on Epic’s Unreal Engine, the game engine used for the Unreal series of first-person shooters and multiple other video games. In 2005, Sweeney attended Wake Tech Community College Digital Game Xpo as a guest speaker. He showed a demo demonstrating the Unreal Engine and talked about 3D Buzz’s book “Mastering Unreal Technology: The Art of Level Design”. On February 9, 2012, Sweeney was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) Hall of Fame for his technological innovations in the gaming industry. “Tim’s vision has changed the face of gaming with the advent of the Unreal Engine and the commitment of Epic, as a studio, to bring both consumer and industry-facing technology to new heights,” said AIAS president Martin Rae. On July 10, 2013, Tim and the co-founder of Epic Games, Mark Rein, were named Development Legends at the Develop Industry Excellence Awards.