mike-sceaThis is the personal website of Mike Fulton. I’m going to talk about myself in the 3rd person for a little bit while I give you a short biography.

Mike is a native Californian. He was born to Alfred and Bernice Fulton at 10:57pm on March 27, 1963 in Bellflower’s Woodruff Gables Hospital, just a few miles south of downtown Los Angeles. His sister Susan is 15 months younger. His father Alfred Fulton died in 1978 and his mother Bernice died in 2006.

Mike and his family lived in Bellflower until just after Mike’s 5th birthday when they moved to Cypress, just over the border into Orange County. Mike started school that same year and attended Landell Elementary, A.E. Arnold Elementary, Lexington Jr. High, and Cypress High School, graduating in 1981.

Until Mike’s father died in 1978, the Fultons spent summer vacations and frequent weekends at Lake Mead, east of Las Vegas, Nevada. They had a trailer on the southwest shore of the lake until the summer of 1971, when the family purchased a house on the west shore of the Overton Arm of the lake. While considerably further from Las Vegas or any other town, the new house was much bigger than the old trailer and had plenty of land for the kids to ride their motor bikes.

After high school, Mike attended classes at Cypress College while also trying to launch a career as a photographer. However, Mike’s proficiency with computers soon asserted itself and before long computer programming had become his primary source of income.

In 1986, Mike began development on a font editor for the new Atari ST computer platform. When it was finished, he fielded offers from several software publishing companies who wanted to publish the program, hire him, or both. Mike soon thereafter joined a small start-up called Neotron Engineering (later Neocept, Inc.) and his font editor “Fontz” became the first and foremost font editor for the Atari system. While at Neocept, Mike was also co-author of the “WordUp” word processor and “TurboJet” printer driver accelerator.

In late 1990, Mike left Southern California and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when he accepted a job offer from Atari Corporation to become the primary developer support engineer for the Atari ST platform. A few years later when Atari tried to get back into the video game console market with the Jaguar, Mike became the Development Tools manager for that platform. Mike left Atari in Sept. 1995 when the company was doing lay-offs nearly every week.

After Atari, Mike worked briefly at a coin-op machine company called Lazertron, but left in February 1996 to accept a position at Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), where he was a Senior Developer Support Engineer for the brand new PlayStation system. SCEA offered Mike many interesting opportunities, including travel. During his tenure at SCEA, Mike made multiple trips to Japan and the U.K. as well as cities across the U.S.

In mid-1998, Mike left Sony to join a new startup venture called VM LABS, headed by former Atari R&D VP Richard Miller. VM LABS was creating a new microprocessor intended for MPEG-2 decoding in DVD players. Unlike the other processors targetting that market at the time, the “NUON” processor from VM Labs was also capable of general purpose processing and was ahead of its time in offering 4 independently programmable processor cores. VM LABS planned to exploit the enhanced capabilities of the NUON processor by offering console-style games and DVD player user interfaces that could be customized for individual movies.

Unfortunately, a variety of factors conspired to keep NUON from succeeding. Perhaps the main problem was the higher price of the NUON processor compared with the competition, compounded by the need to include extra RAM and game controller ports. This was supposed to be offset by the additional income derived from royalties on after-market software, much like the business model of a typical video game console, but that idea was largely killed by the fact that those companies using the NUON processor did so tentatively with only a model at a time, and with little to no marketing support.

VM LABS went into bankruptcy in 2001 and the assets were taken over by GENESIS MICROCHIP, which also hired most of the remaining employees. However, a downturn in their primary business (LCD monitor controller chips) caused them to re-think their plans for NUON and all but a handful of the former VM LABS employees were let go.

Since leaving Genesis Microchip, Mike has been doing contract programming and independent consulting, along with web design & programming. Clients include NVIDIA, EIDOS, HOPLITE RESEARCH and others.

Mike’s latest project is development of a new website management system that combines social networking and the ability to create industry-specific resource directories. Coming soon!